Robert T. Robbins

Rev. 01/01/2020



Robert T. Robbins retired February 11th, 2019 after almost 40 years with the University of Arkansas Plant Pathology Department. He will continue to work with research on nematode taxonomy and host-plant resistance.

Robbins started studying and working with nematodes during 1966 as an MS graduate student at Kansas State University under the supervision of Dr. Ottie J. Dickerson. He obtained his PhD in Nematology working on the biology of Belonolamus longicaudatus with Dr. Ken Barker at North Carolina State University from the summer of 1969 to the winter of 1972. In January 1973, as a new Ph.D, he was employed as a Plant Nematologist in the California Department of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento, California.

In June of 1979, Robbins transferred to the University of Arkansas, Department of Plant Pathology as an Assistant Professor Plant Nematologist. Among other nematode groups, he became a leading expert on the taxonomy of the Longidoridae and worked extensively on the resistance of soybean cultivars to races of Heterodera glycines.

Robert Robbins retired from the University of Arkansas as a University Professor after over 53 years researching, describing, and writing about "these small creatures".

Howard Ferris: A Personal Note.

Robert Robbins and I were graduate students in the Department of Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University at the same time.  Robert is not a small man; he had been a football player at Kansas State University; he was at least 1.5 times my weight.  He and his wife Carolyn rented a small house adjacent to the university.  The house had a television antenna mounted on a 15-foot pole attached on the peak of the roof and held in place by four thin wires attached to the corners of the roof.  One evening, using the bait of a home-cooked meal, he invited me to his home to help adjust the antenna.  Before I had time to consider the risk to all involved, he installed me on the roof to hold a ladder balanced on the peak of the roof and leaning against the antenna pole.  Then Bob, all 250 lbs. of him, climbed the ladder and adjusted the direction of the antenna.  Burned into my memory is the sight of Bob describing arcs against the backdrop of the sky while I struggled to keep the system stable.

There are some risks that a person is exposed to during a lifetime that, when considered in retrospect, contribute to learned survival and self-preservation behavior - the "I won't do that again" reflex!  It was a great dinner though!


Robert T. Robbins

from Retirement Announcement

University of Arkansas, 2019



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