In concert with the inventory work, Mark's research interests have focused on biological inventory and the conservation of that diversity, alpha systematics, phylogeny, and documentation of the spread of avian borne diseases. Along with several colleagues, he is currently involved in elucidating relationships within the Sedge Wrens (Cistothorus platensis), pygmy-owls (Glaucidium), woodpeckers (especially Picumnus and Celeus), and gnatcatchers (Polioptila). His involvement in conservation has resulted in documenting the decline of the tallgrass prairie avifauna as a result of adverse agricultural practices.
Mark is an evolutionary biologist with special interest in birds. He has been a collection manager of two major ornithological collections over the past 33 years. The initial eleven years were at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and since 1993, he has been at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute.
Robbins, M.B. and D.A. Easterla. 1992. Birds of Missouri, their distribution and abundance. Univ. of Missouri Press, Columbia. 399 pp.
Journal Articles (peer reviewed)
Robbins, M.B. and C. Otte. 2013. An irruptive movement of Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) into Kansas and Missouri during the winter of 2011-2012. Kansas Ornithological Society 64:41-44.
Robbins, M.B., T.S. Schulenberg, D.F. Lane, A.M. Cuervo, L.C. Binford, A.S. Nyári, M. Combe, E. Arbeláez-Cortés, W. Wehtje, and A. Lira-Noriega. 2013. Abra Maruncunca, dpt. Puno, Peru, revisited: vegetation cover and avifauna changes over a 30 year period. Bull. Brit. Ornith. Club 133:13-51.
Thompson, F.R., III, M.B. Robbins, and J.A. Fitzgerald. 2012. Landscape-level forest cover is a predictor of Cerulean Warbler abundance. Wilson Jour. Ornith. 124:721-727.
Le Manh Hung, M.B. Robbins, N.H. Rice, D. Roldán Piña. 2012. Survey of the avifauna at Muong Nhe Nature Reserve, Dien Bien province,Vietnam. Forktail 28:101-106.
Robbins, M.B., D. Geale, B. Walker, T.J. Davis, M. Combe, M.D. Eaton, K. P. Kennedy. 2011. Foothill avifauna of the upper Urubamba Valley, dpto. Cusco, Peru. Cotinga 33:34-45.
Benz, B.W. and M.B. Robbins. 2011. Molecular phylogenetics, vocalizations and species limits in Celeus woodpeckers (Aves: Picidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56:29-44.
Le Manh Hung, M.B. Robbins, N.H. Rice, E. A. Garcia-Trejo, S.M. Roels, and S.A. Bodbyl-Roels. 2011. Preliminary survey of the avifauna at Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserves, Dong Nai province,Vietnam. Forktail 27:114-117.
Robbins, M.B., P. McKenzie, B. Jacobs. 2010. A review of Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula) reports in the North American interior, with comments on historical records of dark Anas ducks. North American Birds 64:518-522.
Robbins, M.B. 2010. First nesting of the Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) away from the lower Mississippi River in Missouri. Bluebird 77:143-144.
Robbins, M.B., B.W. Benz, Á. Nyári, and M. Papeş. 2010. Survey of riparian bird species along the Buffalo National River, Arkansas May/June 2006. Bluebird 77:136-142.
Han, K-L., M.B. Robbins, and M.J. Braun. 2010. A multi-gene estimate of phylogeny in the Nightjars and nighthawks (Caprimulgidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55:443-453.
Robbins, M.B., A.S. Nyári, M. Papes, B.W. Benz, and B.R. Barber. 2010. River-based surveys for assessing riparian birds populations: Cerulean Warbler as a test case. Southeastern Naturalist 9:95-104.
Robbins, M.B., A.S. Nyári, M. Papes, and B.W. Benz. 2009. Song rates, mating status, and territory size of Cerulean Warblers in Missouri Ozark riparian forest. Wilson Journ. Ornith. 121:283-289.
Hobson, K.A. and M.B. Robbins. 2009. Origins of late-breeding nomadic Sedge Wrens in North America: limitations and potential of hydrogen-isotope analyses of soft tissue. Condor 111:188-192.
Zimmer, K.J., M.B. Robbins, C. Kopuchian. 2008. Taxonomy, vocalizations, syringeal morphology and natural history of Automolus roraimae (Furnariidae). Bull. Brit. Ornith. Club 128:187-206.
Robbins, M.B. 2008. Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) early winter status at Prairie State Park, Barton County, Missouri. Bluebird 75:26-29.
Peterson, A.T., R.G. Moyle, A.S. Nyari, M.B. Robbins, R.T. Brumfield, and J.V. Remsen, Jr. 2008. The need for proper vouchering in phylogenetic studies of birds. Letter to the editor. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45:1042-1044.
Robbins, M.B., M.J. Braun, C.M. Milensky, B.K. Schmidt, W. Prince, N.H. Rice, D.W. Finch, and B.J. O’Shea. 2007. Avifauna of the upper Essequibo River and Acary Mountains, southern Guyana. Ornitologia Neotropical 18:339-368.
Robbins, M.B. 2007. Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Trygnites subruficollis) fall migration at sod farms in Kansas. Kansas Ornith. Soc. 58:25-28.
Benz, B.W., M.B. Robbins, and A.T. Peterson. 2006. Evolutionary history of woodpeckers and allies (Aves: Picidae): placing key taxa on the phylogenetic tree. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40:389-399.
Robbins, M.B., S. Patti, A. Nyari, C. Hobbs, and M. C. Thompson. 2006. Common Raven nesting attempt in Morton County, Kansas. Kansas Ornith. Soc. 57:27-28.
Robbins, M.B., A.T. Peterson, A. Nyari, G. Chen, T. J. Davis. 2006. Ornithological Surveys of two reserves in Guangxi Autonomus, China. 2004-2005. Forktail 22:140-146.
Robbins, M. B. and K. J. Zimmer. 2005. Taxonomy, Vocalizations, and Natural History of Philydor dimidiatum (Furnariidae). Bull. Brit. Ornith. Club 125:212:228.
Robbins, M. B., D.E. Seibel, and C. Cicero. 2005. Probable Yellow-bellied (Sphyrapicus varius) x Red-breasted Sapsucker (S. ruber) hybrid from eastern Kansas, with comments on the field identification of adult sapsuckers. North American Birds 59: 360-363.
Robbins, M.B., M.J. Braun, C.J. Huddleston, D.W. Finch, and C.M. Milensky. 2005. First Guyana records, natural history, and systematics of the White-winged Seedeater (Dolospingus fringilloides). Ibis 147:334-341.
Braun, M.J., M.L. Isler, P.R. Isler, J. Bates, and M.B. Robbins. 2005. Avian speciation in the Pantepui: the case of the Roraiman Antbird (Percnostola [Schistocichla] “leucostigma” saturata). Condor 107:327-341.
Peterson, A.T., N. Komar, O. Komar, A. Navarro-Sigüenza, M. B. Robbins, and E. Martinez-Meyer. 2004. Priority contribution West Nile Virus in the New World: potential impacts on bird species. Bird Conserv. International 14:215-232.
Robbins, M.B., M.J. Braun, M.J., D.W. Finch. 2004. Avifauna of the Guyana southern Rupununi, with comparisons to other savannas of northern South America. Ornitologia Neotropical 15:173-200.
Robbins, M.B. 2004. Status and distribution of Merlin (Falco columbarius) subspecies in Missouri, with comments on subspecific identification. Bluebird 71:6-11.
Mark has led or co-led more nearly 60 foreign expeditions for the explicit purpose of enhancing research collections for the ornithological community at large. These inventories have resulted in thousands of new, data-rich specimens, and the addition of more than 8000 of his sound recordings to the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds. In addition to documenting the status and distribution of the respective avifaunas, this work has resulted in the discovery of several new species.
South American Bird Check-list Committee, current.
American Birding Association Check-list Committee, 1998 through 2005 (chair from 2000 to 2005).
Missouri and Kansas Bird Records Committee, 1989 to present.
Technical Committee for establishing Important Bird Areas, Audubon Missouri, current
Editorial Board -- Cotinga, Journal of the Neotropical Bird Club, 1997 to present.