Robinson, Sharon A. Senior Professor

Senior Professor

  • Senior Professor - Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
  • Challenge Leader - Sustaining Coastal and Marine Zones - UOW Global Challenges Program 2018 -
  • Associate Dean Graduate Research - RAID 2016 - 2018

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Sharon Robinson researches how Antarctic plants respond to climate change. She uses radiocarbon signatures, left behind in the atmosphere by nuclear testing, to date mosses and track environmental change around the coast of Antarctica.  Her group identifies the sunscreens plants make to protect themselves from elevated UV-B radiation due to ozone depletion. She is also applying new technologies, including the use of drones in Antarctica, to monitor plant health and productivity, and developing novel sensors that will help to track crop and forest health in future. 

    Sharon was educated in the UK. After completing her PhD at University College London in 1990, she held postdoc positions in the USA and Australia. She is currently a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Environmental Effects Assessment Panel,onboard Science Faculty for the Homeward Bound 2019 Women’s leadership Program and a former member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts. She first visited East Antarctica in 1996 and has been on 12 expeditions to continental Antarctic and sub- and maritime Antarctic islands with the Australian and Chilean Antarctic programs. She is a custodian for the only Antarctic State of the Environment Indicator concerned with Antarctic vegetation and is passionate about conserving Antarctic biodiversity. She was formerly UOWs Associate Dean Graduate Research and is currently Challenge Leader for the Sustaining Coastal and Marine Zones within the Global Challenges Program.

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Impact Story


  • Under The Antarctic Treaty, Australia and other nations which operate in Antarctica have a responsibility to conserve and protect Antarctica’s unique environment. Through the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, adopted in 1991, the Contracting Parties “commit themselves to the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems”. Research undertaken by the University of Wollongong over more than 20 years has had a significant and wide-reaching impact on Australia's environmental, economic, legal and political responsibilities and leadership role in Antarctica.   Monitoring and management: UOW research outcomes have informed Antarctic Environmental Managers on the health of Antarctic terrestrial and near shore ecosystems, highlighting which species may be at risk from climate change or disturbance from Antarctic station activities. I have provided expert advice to AAD Environmental Managers on proposed activities around Antarctic stations and contributed to development of Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) management plans. While our research has had most application to the Australian Antarctic Territories, methodologies developed have increasingly been of interest to environmental managers from other nations, as we are considered to be developing best practice in this area. As a result, in 2016 I was invited to join the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) Antarctic Near-shore and Terrestrial Observing System (ANTOS) Expert Group and to develop an East Antarctic ANTOS node.   UOW researchers Robinson and then HDR student Jane Wasley were invited by Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) Environmental Managers to develop a State of the Environment (SOE) Indicator for Antarctic terrestrial vegetation dynamics. Robinson's group had earlier established the first long-term monitoring sites near the Australian Antarctic Casey Station in 2003, from an initial pilot [1-2]. Robinson, Wasley and Dr Catherine King (AAD) went on to develop, and are the current custodians of, SOE Indicator 72 [3] with UOW the responsible organisation. This is currently the only long-term monitoring system in place for Antarctic terrestrial vegetation on the continent, and informs both the Management Plans for Antarctic Specially Protected Area 135 as well as the Antarctic Assessment in Australia’s SOE Reports 2011 and 2016 [4-5]. The project was presented as a case study in the 2011 SOE report and is acknowledged in the 2016 report for contributing valuable data to help fulfill Australia’s national reporting requirements under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act. Furthermore, this project contributes to Australia’s international obligations under the Antarctic Treaty System as it delivers robust data on environmental change on one of Australia’s Antarctic Specially Protected Areas”. As such this work is vital for the continued conservation of terrestrial values.   <br /><b><br /></b>
  • In 2016 I gave a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4PsZlTGedU" title="YouTube: Antarctic Plants In A Time Of Change" target="_blank" rel="noopener">TEDX Antarctic plants in a time of change</a>.<br /><br />In 2017, this was featured in a story on <a href="https://ideas.ted.com/the-extraordinary-antarctic-plants-with-superhero-powers/" title="Featured Story: Extraordinary Antarctic Plants with Superhero Powers" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ideas.ted.com.</a>

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Linking spectral signals with novel photosynthetic parameters from the leaf to the canopy Wyber, Rhys
    Doctor of Philosophy Microhabitat, microclimate and multi-stress response as drivers of urban biodiversity using moss as a model taxa Haynes, Alison
    Doctor of Philosophy Remote techniques for determining carbon sequestration and storage by mangrove. Braga Salum De Abreu, Maria Rafaela
    Doctor of Philosophy A novel high-resolution model of moss-bed microclimate in maritime Antarctica: importance of understanding microclimate for understanding species distributions Randall, Krystal
    Master of Research -SMAH The potential use of ultraviolet-absorbing compounds for reconstructing past climate in antarctic mosses Egawa, Ayako
    Doctor of Philosophy A helping hand: understanding the role of facilitation as a contributor to survivability of urban plants Aguiar, Axton

Professional Service Activities


Awards And Honors


Full Name


  • Professor Sharon A. Robinson

Mailing Address


  • School of Biological Sciences

    University of Wollongong

    NSW

    2522

    Australia

Fax


  • +61 2 4221 4135

Web Of Science Researcher Id


  • B-2683-2008

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Sharon Robinson researches how Antarctic plants respond to climate change. She uses radiocarbon signatures, left behind in the atmosphere by nuclear testing, to date mosses and track environmental change around the coast of Antarctica.  Her group identifies the sunscreens plants make to protect themselves from elevated UV-B radiation due to ozone depletion. She is also applying new technologies, including the use of drones in Antarctica, to monitor plant health and productivity, and developing novel sensors that will help to track crop and forest health in future. 

    Sharon was educated in the UK. After completing her PhD at University College London in 1990, she held postdoc positions in the USA and Australia. She is currently a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Environmental Effects Assessment Panel,onboard Science Faculty for the Homeward Bound 2019 Women’s leadership Program and a former member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts. She first visited East Antarctica in 1996 and has been on 12 expeditions to continental Antarctic and sub- and maritime Antarctic islands with the Australian and Chilean Antarctic programs. She is a custodian for the only Antarctic State of the Environment Indicator concerned with Antarctic vegetation and is passionate about conserving Antarctic biodiversity. She was formerly UOWs Associate Dean Graduate Research and is currently Challenge Leader for the Sustaining Coastal and Marine Zones within the Global Challenges Program.

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Impact Story


  • Under The Antarctic Treaty, Australia and other nations which operate in Antarctica have a responsibility to conserve and protect Antarctica’s unique environment. Through the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, adopted in 1991, the Contracting Parties “commit themselves to the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems”. Research undertaken by the University of Wollongong over more than 20 years has had a significant and wide-reaching impact on Australia's environmental, economic, legal and political responsibilities and leadership role in Antarctica.   Monitoring and management: UOW research outcomes have informed Antarctic Environmental Managers on the health of Antarctic terrestrial and near shore ecosystems, highlighting which species may be at risk from climate change or disturbance from Antarctic station activities. I have provided expert advice to AAD Environmental Managers on proposed activities around Antarctic stations and contributed to development of Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) management plans. While our research has had most application to the Australian Antarctic Territories, methodologies developed have increasingly been of interest to environmental managers from other nations, as we are considered to be developing best practice in this area. As a result, in 2016 I was invited to join the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) Antarctic Near-shore and Terrestrial Observing System (ANTOS) Expert Group and to develop an East Antarctic ANTOS node.   UOW researchers Robinson and then HDR student Jane Wasley were invited by Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) Environmental Managers to develop a State of the Environment (SOE) Indicator for Antarctic terrestrial vegetation dynamics. Robinson's group had earlier established the first long-term monitoring sites near the Australian Antarctic Casey Station in 2003, from an initial pilot [1-2]. Robinson, Wasley and Dr Catherine King (AAD) went on to develop, and are the current custodians of, SOE Indicator 72 [3] with UOW the responsible organisation. This is currently the only long-term monitoring system in place for Antarctic terrestrial vegetation on the continent, and informs both the Management Plans for Antarctic Specially Protected Area 135 as well as the Antarctic Assessment in Australia’s SOE Reports 2011 and 2016 [4-5]. The project was presented as a case study in the 2011 SOE report and is acknowledged in the 2016 report for contributing valuable data to help fulfill Australia’s national reporting requirements under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act. Furthermore, this project contributes to Australia’s international obligations under the Antarctic Treaty System as it delivers robust data on environmental change on one of Australia’s Antarctic Specially Protected Areas”. As such this work is vital for the continued conservation of terrestrial values.   <br /><b><br /></b>
  • In 2016 I gave a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4PsZlTGedU" title="YouTube: Antarctic Plants In A Time Of Change" target="_blank" rel="noopener">TEDX Antarctic plants in a time of change</a>.<br /><br />In 2017, this was featured in a story on <a href="https://ideas.ted.com/the-extraordinary-antarctic-plants-with-superhero-powers/" title="Featured Story: Extraordinary Antarctic Plants with Superhero Powers" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ideas.ted.com.</a>

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Linking spectral signals with novel photosynthetic parameters from the leaf to the canopy Wyber, Rhys
    Doctor of Philosophy Microhabitat, microclimate and multi-stress response as drivers of urban biodiversity using moss as a model taxa Haynes, Alison
    Doctor of Philosophy Remote techniques for determining carbon sequestration and storage by mangrove. Braga Salum De Abreu, Maria Rafaela
    Doctor of Philosophy A novel high-resolution model of moss-bed microclimate in maritime Antarctica: importance of understanding microclimate for understanding species distributions Randall, Krystal
    Master of Research -SMAH The potential use of ultraviolet-absorbing compounds for reconstructing past climate in antarctic mosses Egawa, Ayako
    Doctor of Philosophy A helping hand: understanding the role of facilitation as a contributor to survivability of urban plants Aguiar, Axton

Professional Service Activities


Awards And Honors


Full Name


  • Professor Sharon A. Robinson

Mailing Address


  • School of Biological Sciences

    University of Wollongong

    NSW

    2522

    Australia

Fax


  • +61 2 4221 4135

Web Of Science Researcher Id


  • B-2683-2008