Robyn Burnham

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Robyn Burnham

Associate Professor

Office Location(s): 1023/1047 Ruthven Museums Building
Phone: (734) 647-2585
Fax: (734) 936-1380
Burnham webpage
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
    • Museum of Paleontology
    • University Herbarium
  • Fields of Study
    • Tropical ecosystems and paleoecology of northern South America
  • About

    Lab location: 1047 Ruthven Museums Building

    Professor Burnham received her Ph.D. in botany at the University of Washington in 1987. Her dissertation was on "Inferring vegetation from plant-fossil assemblages: effects of depositional environment and heterogeneity in the source vegetation on assemblages from modern and ancient fluvial-deltaic environments." Research was carried out in southern Mexico (Tabasco) and in the state of Washington in coal mines of the Puget Group. Her master's degree was also received from the University of Washington in 1983 on foliar morphological analysis of the Ulmoideae (Ulmaceae) from the early Tertiary of western North America. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1980.

    Research interests

    Professor Burnham is currently involved in research on climbing plants of the Amazon Basin, especially in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia on the lower flanks of the Andes Mountains. Her interests are in the community structure and species composition of Amazonian forests, as viewed via the lianas and vines that inhabit these forests. Particular interest has recently been focused on the impacts of human intervention in Amazonian forests from oil exploration, agriculture and gold mining. Continuing work on the paleontological history of the forests of Northern South America is carried out in her lab as well, with ongoing research in the intermontane basins of Ecuador and the eastern basins of Bolivia.


    EEB 463 Neotropical Plant Families: The course introduces students to generic-level organization of 25 Neotropical plant families. Families covered are (1) ecologically widespread and abundant in the Neotropics or (2) of taxonomic or economic significance.

    Museum of Paleontology website

  • Education
    • Ph.D. Botany, University of Washington, 1987
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Tropical plant ecology and systematics
  • Graduate students
    • David Marvin, Aaron Iverson