Kelly Robinson

Education       Background       Research       Publications       Curriculum Vitae


ROBINSON_photoAssistant Professor
Office Location: 2B Natural Resources Building
Phone: 517-884-8872
Area of Expertise/Interest: Decision analysis; fish ecology and management; sea lamprey management



  • Ph.D. - Fisheries Science, University of Georgia, 2011
  • M.S. - Marine Biology, College of Charleston, 2006
  • B.A. - Biology and Spanish, University of Virginia, 2001



I’m a fisheries ecologist and decision analyst with a background in marine fisheries. I grew up in coastal Virginia and attended the University of Virginia, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish (2001). I attended the College of Charleston for my M.S. work (2006), where I was a research assistant at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and studied the age, growth, and reproduction of the barrelfish (Hyperoglyphe perciformis). In addition to studying barrelfish, I spent my summers sampling the snapper-grouper complex of fishes off the southeastern coast of the US, and I had the opportunity to be a researcher on a NOAA Ocean Exploration Cruise and explore the ocean floor in a submersible. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, where, I studied the fish assemblages of estuarine waterfowl impoundments in coastal South Carolina. During my time at Georgia, I learned about structured decision making (SDM) and how it can be useful for making decisions about natural resources management. My postdoctoral position at Cornell University provided me the opportunity to continue learning about SDM, though it also led to a slightly landward turn in my research. At Cornell, I worked with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to make decisions for harvest management of white-tailed deer and turkeys. During my postdoc, I also was able to work with various other groups to aid in decision making processes, such as whether or not to exclude predators from endangered piping plover nests, and how best to make decisions for the various ecosystems that make up the San Francisco Bay estuary in the face of extreme uncertainty about climate change. My dual interests in SDM and fisheries ecology have found a home at the QFC here at Michigan State, where I plan to work with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, as well as other entities around the Great Lakes region, to perform research and apply the tools of decision analysis to make informed fishery management decisions.

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My research interests broadly fall into two categories: fish ecology and conservation and the use of structured decision-making (SDM) as a means to integrate science with management.

Some of my current and recent research projects include:

  • Using structured decision making and adaptive management to aid decision makers in grass carp control in Lake Erie, salmonine stocking in Lake Michigan, and fish passage on the Boardman River
  • Understanding the effects of climate change on management of walleye in Lake Erie and effectiveness of barriers for sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes
  • Using otolith microchemistry to understand movements of naturalized Chinook salmon between lakes Huron and Michigan
  • Determining how ecosystem changes in the Great Lakes have affected populations of slimy and deepwater sculpin

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  • DuFour, M., K.F. Robinson, M. Jones, S. Herbst. In review. A matrix population model to aid grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) management in the Great Lakes Basin – Lake Erie. Journal of Great Lakes Research
  • Robinson, K.F., A.K. Fuller, M.L. Jones. In review. Using structured decision making to incorporate ecological and social values into harvest decisions: case studies of walleye, deer, and turkey. In: Harvest of Fish and Wildlife: New Paradigms for Sustainable Management. K. Pope and L. Powell, editors.
  • Robinson, K.F., M. DuFour, M. Jones, S. Herbst, T. Newcomb, J. Boase, T. Brenden, D. Chapman, J. Dettmers, J. Francis, T. Hartman, P. Kocovksy, B. Locke, C. Mayer, J. Tyson. In press. A collaborative response to invasive grass carp in Lake Erie through a structured decision making process. Journal of Great Lakes Research.
  • Lin, H., K.F. Robinson, L. Walter. 2020. Prioritizing road-stream crossing upgrades based on erosion risk and the impact on migratory species. River Research and Applications 36:371-382.
  • Lennox, R., G.A. Bravener, Lin, H., C.P. Madenjian, A.M. Muir, C.K. Remical, K.F. Robinson, A.M. Rous, M.J. Siefkes, M.P. Wilkie, S.J. Cooke. 2020. Potential changes and challenges to the biology and management of invasive sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus in the Laurentian Great Lakes due to climate change. Global Change Biology 26:1118-1137.
  • Lin, H., K.F. Robinson, M. Jones, L. Walter. 2019. Using structured decision making to overcome scale mismatch challenges in barrier removal for watershed restoration. Fisheries 44:545–550.
  • Robinson, K.F., A.K. Fuller, R.C. Stedman, W.F. Siemer, D.J. Decker. 2019. Integration of social and ecological science in natural resource decision making: challenges and opportunities. Environmental Management 63(5):565¬–573.
  • Lin, H., K.F. Robinson, A. Milt, L. Walter. 2019. The application of web-based decision support tools and the value of local information in prioritizing barrier removal, a case study in northwest lower Michigan, USA. Journal of Great Lakes Research 45:360–370.
  • Lin, H., K.F. Robinson. 2019. How do migratory fish populations respond to barrier removal in spawning and nursery grounds? Theoretical Ecology.
  • Robinson, K.F., A.K. Fuller, M.V. Schiavone, B.L. Swift, D.R. Diefenbach, W.F. Siemer, D.J. Decker. 2017. Addressing wild turkey (Meleagris gallapavo) population declines using structured decision making. Journal of Wildlife Management 81(3): 393–405.
  • Robinson, K.F., A.K. Fuller, J.E. Hurst, B.L. Swift, A. Kirsch, J. Farquhar, D.J. Decker, W.F. Siemer. 2016. Structured decision making as a framework for large-scale wildlife harvest management decisions. Ecosphere 7(12): e01613.
  • Cohen, J., Hecht, A., K.F. Robinson, E.E. Osnas, A.J. Tyre, C. Davis, A. Kocek, B. Maslow, S. Melvin. 2016. To exclose nests or not: structured decision making for the conservation of a threatened species. Ecosphere 7(10):e01499.
  • Block, G., J. Wood, S. Veloz, K.F. Robinson. 2016. San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge Climate Adaptation Plan. San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, San Francisco, CA.
  • Robinson K.F., C. Brown-Lima, C. Marschner, P. Barrett, R. Williams, A. Locke, H. Mosher, S. Young, B. Quirion, L. Gailor, M. Marquand, L. Rohleder, B. Blossey, S. Bachman, J. Dean, D. Adams, L. Suprenant, M. Taylor, B. O’Brien. 2015. Developing criteria for invasive species priority setting in New York State. Report from the structured-decision making workshop, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
  • Robinson, K.F., A.K. Fuller. 2015. A structured decision making approach to white-tailed deer buck harvest management in New York State. Report to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany NY.
  • Robinson, K.F., A.K. Fuller. 2015. A structured decision making approach to mitigating wild turkey population decline in New York State. Report to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.
  • Huning, B., B.J. Mattsson, C. Sloop, G. Block, J. Cummings, W. Murray, K.F. Robinson. 2015. Developing a spatially-explicit climate adaptation framework for estuarine ecosystems of the San Francisco Bay: Climate Adaptation for Decision Support (CADS Phase 1). Final Report to the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Interim Report to the US Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System Inventory and Monitoring Initiative. San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, San Francisco, CA.
  • Robinson, K.F., D.R. Diefenbach, A.K. Fuller, J.E. Hurst, C.S. Rosenberry. 2014. Can managers compensate for coyote predation of white-tailed deer? Journal of Wildlife Management 78:571-579.
  • Robinson, K.F. and C.A. Jennings. 2014. Productivity of functional guilds of fishes in managed wetlands in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 5:70-86.
  • Robinson, K.F. and C.A. Jennings. 2014. A comparison of resident fish assemblages in managed and unmanaged coastal wetlands in North Carolina and South Carolina, USA. Southeastern Naturalist 13:237-260.
  • Hecht, A., K.F. Robinson, E.E. Osnas, J. Cohen, A.J. Tyre, D. Brinker, C. Davis, M. Hake, L. Johnson, E. King, A. Kocek, B. Maslow, S. Melvin, T. Pover, L.M. Zitske, D.C. Brewer, F. Johnson. 2014. Balancing demographic benefits and risks of using predator exclosures on U.S. Atlantic Coast piping plover nests. National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, WV.
  • Robinson, K.F. and C.A. Jennings. 2012. Maximizing recruitment of age-0 spot (Leiostomus xanthurus) from a South Carolina estuary: an evaluation of coastal impoundment management alternatives via structured decision-making. Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 4:156-172.
  • Filer, K.R. and G.R. Sedberry. 2008. Age, growth and reproduction of the barrelfish Hyperoglyphe perciformis (Mitchill) in the western North Atlantic. Journal of Fish Biology 72:861-882.

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 Curriculum Vitae