Robert Thomson

Robert Thomson

Associate Professor

Systematic Biology, Evolution and Conservation




EDM 313


(808) 956-6476


(808) 956-4745

Academic Degrees

PhD, University of California, Davis (Population Biology), 2010

Research Interests

I work on several interrelated questions that center on an interest in systematic biology. For example, how much do we know about the topology of the tree of life and how quickly are we learning? What, and how much data are necessary to reliably infer species level phylogenies, particularly in the face of gene tree incongruence and ongoing gene flow? What are our prospects for collecting these data for non-model organisms? How does our knowledge of variation in threatened or endangered organisms inform our conservation goals and priorities?

Selected Publications

1. Dong CM, Engstrom TN, Thomson RC. Origins of softshell turtles in Hawaii with implications for conservation. Conserv Genet. Springer Netherlands; 2016;17: 207–220. doi:10.1007/s10592-015-0772-7

2. Thomson RC, Wright AN, Shaffer HB. California amphibian and reptile species of special concern. Oakland: University of California Press; 2016.

3. Brown JM, Thomson RC. Bayes Factors Unmask Highly Variable Information Content, Bias, and Extreme Influence in Phylogenomic Analyses. Syst Biol. 2017;66: 517–530. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syw101

4. Barley AJ, Brown JM, Thomson RC. Impact of Model Violations on the Inference of Species Boundaries Under the Multispecies Coalescent. Syst Biol. 2017;0: syx073. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syx073