Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies

Image: Ripples on water

SF State's bayside marine and estuarine research facility.

Dale Robinson - Senior Research Scientist

Phytoplankton Physiology and Ecology, Bio-optics, Ocean Observing

Romberg Tiburon Center and Department of Biology
Phone: (415) 338-3714

Dale Robinson

Research Interests

My professional interests include the phytoplankton ecology of coastal systems, phytoplankton photophysiology, the bio-optical properties of marine and estuarine waters, and long-term monitoring of coastal and estuarine waters.  My current research examines the strategies that phytoplankton employ to adapt and acclimate to variable light fields. This work has been conducted at regional scales using satellite remote sensing, with field studies in the marine and the sea ice ecosystems of Antarctica, and with detailed laboratory studies.  At present we are using fluorescence and optical techniques under controlled laboratory conditions to examine photoacclimation to static and dynamic light regimes at the level of the photosystems.


In addition, I am the local coordinator of the CSU Coastal Observatory System for the central and northern region of San Francisco Bay.  My interests here include developing an integrated data management system for the Bay Area ( that incorporates data harvest from multiple providers, automated quality control procedures, well formatted metadata, and data delivery using the standards implemented by the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), and the Open-source Project for a Network Data Access Protocol (OPeNDAP). 

Selected Papers

Arrigo, K.R., M.M. Mills, G.L. van Dijken, A.C. Alderkamp and D.H. Robinson. 2010. Photophysiology in two major Southern Ocean phytoplankton taxa: Productivity and growth of Phaeocystis antarctica and Fragilariopsis cylindrus under constant irradiance. Integrative & Comparative Biology: DOI:  10.1093/icb/icq021.

Kropuenske, L. R., M. M. Mills, G. L. van Dijken, A.-C. Alderkamp, G. M. Berg, D. H. Robinson, N. A. Welschmeyer, and K. R. Arrigo. In Press. Strategies and rates of photoacclimation in two major Southern Ocean phytoplankton taxa: Phaeocystis antarctica (Haptophyta) and Fragilariopsis cylindrus (Bacillariophyceae). Journal of Phycology.


Mills, M. M., L. R. Kropuenske, G. L. van Dijken, D. H. Robinson, A. C. Alderkamp, G. M. Berg, N. Welschmeyer, K. R. Arrigo. 2010. Photophysiology in two major Southern Ocean phytoplankton taxa: Photosynthesis and growth of Phaeocystis antarctica and Fragilariopsis cylindrus under simulated mixed layer irradiance. Journal of Phycology: DOI: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2010.00923..


Kropuenske, L.R., Van Dijken, G.L., M.M. Mills, D. H. Robinson, Arrigo, K.R. 2009. Photophysiology in two major Southern Ocean phytoplankton taxa: Photoprotection in Phaeocystis antarctica and Fragilariopsis cylindrus Limnol Oceanogr. 54, 1176-1196


Robinson, D.H., K.R. Arrigo, M.P. Lizotte, and G. DiTullio.  2003. Extracellular carbon production by Phaeocystis antarctica during a bloom in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.  In Biogeochemical Cycles in the Ross Sea, G. R. DiTullio and R. B. Dunbar (Eds.). Antarctic Res. Ser., 78:77-109. 


Arrigo, K. R., D. H. Robinson, R. B. Dunbar, A. R. Leventer, and M. P. Lizotte. 2003. Physical control of chlorophyll a, POC, and PON distributions in the pack ice of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res.108 (C10): Art. No. 3316


Arrigo, K. R., D. L. Worthen, and D. H. Robinson. 2003. A coupled ocean-ecosystem model of the Ross Sea: 2. Iron regulation of phytoplankton taxonomic variability and primary production. J. Geophys. Res. 108 (C7): Art. No. 3231, 10.1029/2001JC000856. U.S. JGOFS Contribution Number 959.


DiTullio, G.R., J. Grebmeier, K. R. Arrigo, M. P. Lizotte, D. H. Robinson, A. Leventer, J. Barry, M. VanWoert, and R. B. Dunbar. 2000. Rapid and early export of Phaeocystis antarctica blooms in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Nature 404:595-598.   


Arrigo, K.A., D. H. Robinson, D. L. Worthen, R. B. Dunbar, G. R. DiTullio, M. VanMoert, and M. P. Lizotte. 1999. Influence of Phytoplankton Community Structure on the Drawdown of Nutrients and CO2 in the Southern Ocean. Science 285:366-367.


Robinson, D.H., K.R. Arrigo, M. Gosselin, Z. Kolber and C.W. Sullivan.  1998. Evidence for nutrient limitation in the platelet ice algal community in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. J. Phycol. 34:788-797.


Riegger, L. and D.H. Robinson.  1998.  Photoinduction of UV-absorbing compounds in Antarctic diatoms and Phaeocystis antarctica. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 160:13-25. 

Robinson, D.H., Z. Kolber and C.W. Sullivan. 1997. Photophysiology and photoacclimation in surface ice algae from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 147:243-256.


Zeebe, R.E., H. Eicken, D.H. Robinson, D. Wolf-Gladrow and G.S. Dieckmann.  1996.  Modeling the heating and melting of sea ice through light absorption by microalgae.  J. Geophys. Res.  101:1163-1181. 


       previous                                                                                                                         next


Back to Faculty page



SF State Home