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Dr. Michael Tobin

Dr. Michael Tobin

Dr. Michael Tobin

Assistant ProfessorNatural Sciences


I am a plant physiological ecologist focusing on plant hydraulics and drought resistance of plant species and communities. I joined the Natural Sciences Department at UHD in Fall 2012. I teach courses covering plant biology, general ecology, plant identification, and environmental field science. I mentor a group of students establishing a pocket prairie in Johnny Goyen Park in collaboration with Houston Parks and Recreation Department. I am also a faculty mentor for the Environmental Club and Scholars Academy.


Degrees Earned

BA - Biology, Reed College,1990

PhD- Forest Ecology, University of Minnesota, 2001

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 1301 General Biology I
  • BIOL 1101 General Biology I Lab
  • BIOL 3330 Plant Biology
  • BIOL 3130 Plant Biology Lab
  • BIOL 3310 Plant Identification
  • BIOL 3110 Plant Identification Lab
  • BIOL 3302 General Ecology
  • BIOL-CHEM-GEOL 4260 Environmental Lab and Field Studies
  • BIOL 4210 Biology Seminar

More Information


Jacobsen AL, Tobin MF, Toschi H, Percolla M, and BR Pratt. 2016. Structural determinants of increased susceptibility to dehydration-induced cavitation in post-fire resprouting chaparral shrubs. Plant, Cell & Environment 39: 2473-2485.

Wright A, Tobin M, Mangan S, and SA Schnitzer. 2015. Unique competitive effects of lianas and trees in a tropical forest understory. Oecologia 177: 561-569.

Jacobsen AL, Pratt RB, Davis SD, and MF Tobin. 2014. Geographic and seasonal variation in chaparral vulnerability to cavitation. Madroño 61: 317-327.

Pratt RB, Jacobsen AL, Ramirez, AR, Helms A, Traugh CA, Tobin MF, Heffner MS, and SD Davis. 2013. Mortality of resprouting chaparral shrubs after fire and during a record drought: physiological mechanisms and demographic consequences. Global Change Biology 30: 893-907.

Paddock WAS, Davis SD, Pratt RB, Jacobsen AL, Tobin MF, Lόpez-Portillo J, and FW Ewers. 2013. Factors determining mortality of adult chaparral shrubs in an extreme drought year in California. Aliso 31: 49-57.

Tobin MF, Pratt RB, Jacobsen AL, and ME De Guzman. 2013. Xylem vulnerability to cavitation can be accurately characterized in species with long vessels using a centrifuge method. Plant Biology 15: 496-504.

Schnitzer SA, Mangan SA, Dalling JW, Baldeck CA, Hubbell SP, Ledo A, Muller-Landau H, Tobin MF, Aguilar S, Brassfield D, Hernandez A, Lao S, Perez R, Valdez O, and S Rutishauser Yorke. 2012. Liana abundance, diversity, and distribution on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. PLoS ONE 7: e52114.

Jacobsen AL, Pratt RB, Tobin MF, Hacke UG, and FW Ewers. 2012. A global analysis of xylem vessel length in woody plants. American Journal of Botany 99: 1583-1591.

Tobin MF, Wright AJ, Mangan SA, and SA Schnitzer. 2012. Lianas have a greater competitive effect than trees of similar biomass on tropical canopy trees. Ecosphere 3: 20.

Volin JC, Kruger EL, Volin VC, Tobin MF, and K Kitajima. 2009. Does release from natural belowground enemies help explain the invasiveness of Lygodium microphyllum? A cross-continental comparison. Plant Ecology 208: 223-234.

Tobin MF and PB Reich. 2009. Comparing indices of light availability in hemlock and hardwood forest patches. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39: 1949-1957.

Tobin MF, Lopez OR and TA Kursar. 1999. Responses of tropical understory plants to a severe drought: tolerance and avoidance of water stress. Biotropica 31: 570-578.