Katharine Blunt Professor, Department of Biology
Joined Connecticut College: 1981
B.S., University of Michigan; M.S., Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Impact of forest fragmentation on natural communities
Ecology of early successional birds
"I have been working with undergraduates on research on the ecology of migratory songbirds. Our goal is to identify the minimum requirements for sustaining their populations. In this effort, I see no boundaries between teaching and research, or between research and conservation planning." Robert Askins
Professor Askins teaches courses on ornithology, animal behavior, ecology and environmental studies. He is nationally recognized for his research of the ecology of migratory birds and the impact of forest fragmentation on their populations.
In both his teaching and research, Askins is engaged in synthesizing ideas from ecology, animal behavior, and evolution to understand how natural ecosystems work. He also draws on historical accounts and archaeological results to interpret the recent history of ecosystems. He applies this perspective to understanding the ecology of migratory songbirds.
With help from undergraduate students, Askins has completed field studies of migratory birds in both their nesting areas in Connecticut and Japan, and their winter habitats in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Recently he has worked on the ecology of early successional birds in Connecticut.
His findings have been published in Wilson Bulletin, Science, Condor, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Biotropica, Wetlands, Conservation Biology, and other journals. He also wrote a book titled Restoring North America's Birds; Lessons from Landscape Ecology (Yale University Press) that is in its second edition.
Askins is the recipient of the Connecticut College 2010 Helen Brooks Regan Faculty Leadership Award, presented annually to a tenured faculty member whose outstanding service in a leadership role exemplifies the College's commitment to shared governance, democratic process and campus community development.
Askins is the recipient of grants from the U.S. National Park Service, National Geographic Society, the U.S. Forest Service and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He has presented his papers at scientific meetings in the United States and abroad.
Askins is a member of the Endangered Species Advisory Committee on Birds for the Connecticut Department of Natural Resources and a Fellow at the American Ornithologists' Union.
He has served as director of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, an interdisciplinary academic center that coordinates environmental programs at Connecticut College.
View the biology department website.