Robert Puschendorf

Academic profile

Dr Robert Puschendorf

Associate Professor in Conservation Biology
School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Robert's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 13: SDG 13 - Climate ActionGoal 15: SDG 15 - Life on Land

About Robert

I am a Associate Professor in Conservation Biology, originally from Costa Rica, but having spent 10 years in Australia before moving to the UK. 
My research addresses the ecological and evolutionary consequences of emerging infectious diseases and climate change on biodiversity loss. A lot of my work has focused on the importance of environmental conditions in the frequency and likelihood of frog disease outbreaks, and the impacts on populations across different environmental gradients. Interestingly and significantly, this work has uncovered a pattern of dry forests as environmental refugia from disease driven amphibian extinctions, which is consistent across continents; in Costa Rica and tropical Australia. These refugia allow for powerful comparison to be made with non-refugial areas (rainforest), in which recovery is starting to build up, but the mechanisms by which this occurs can be elucidated.
BUT, I'm generally interested in all aspects of conservation biology, ecology and evolution, especially in tropical ecosystems. 

Supervised Research Degrees

PhD (co-supervisor):Katrin Schmidt (2011-2016 ), ‘The ecological role of tadpoles in rainforest streams’, James Cook University
PhD (co-supervisor):Sofia Rodriguez (2012-2018), ‘Effects of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on the behavior and development of Túngara frogs’, The University of Texas at Austin.
PhD (principal supervisor):Felicity Wynne (2013-2019), ‘Disease ecology of emerging pathogens of amphibians and reptiles in Costa Rica’, University of Plymouth
PhD (principal supervisor):Luke Sutton (2017-2020), ‘Distribution Ecology of the Harpy Eagle: Spatial patterns and processes to direct conservation planning’, University of Plymouth


I lead the following modules:
  • BIOL219 Ecology field course
  • BIOL308 Applied Conservation Biology
I also teach in: 
  • ANIM5008 - Conservation Ecology and Society
  • BIOL123Z - Field Biology
  • BIOL129Z - Professional Development in Biological Sciences 1
  • BIOL130Z - Biological Sciences Field Biology
  • BIOL132Z - Ecology and the Diversity of Life
  • BIOL134Z - Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare
  • BIOL135Z - Introduction to Conservation Biology
  • BIOL136Z - Behaviour and Ecology Field Biology
  • BIOL137Z - Introduction to Zoology
  • BIOL219Z - Ecology Field Course
  • BIOL225Z- Professional Development in Biological Sciences 2
  • BIOL232Z - Comparative Zoology
  • BIOL234Z - Methods in Biology
  • BIOL307 - Advanced Skills and Concepts, GIS podule
  • BIOL307Z - Advanced Skills and Concepts
  • BIOL308 - Applied Conservation Biology
  • BIOL308Z - Applied Conservation Biology
  • BIOL310 - Global Change Biology
  • BIOL310Z - Global Change Biology

Contact Robert

Davy 611, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
+44 1752 584658