Robert "Rob" K. Swihart

Purdue University
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
715 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061
Office Phone: (765) 494-3590
Office Fax: (765) 494-9461
Office Location: Pfendler Hall, Room 125
E-mail Address: rswihart@purdue.edu
Courses and Learning Reprints  Curriculum Vitae

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Education and Professional Experience

Studying for my undergraduate degree at Butler University and Purdue University, I obtained a B.S. in Wildlife Science from Purdue in 1979. I attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota as a Bush Fellow. My advisor was Rich Yahner. I graduated from Minnesota with a M.S. in Wildlife in 1981, completing a thesis titled "Use of farmland habitat patches by the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)". I moved to the University of Kansas to work on a Ph.D. as an Honors Fellow under the supervision of Norm Slade and received a Ph.D. in Ecology in 1985, completing a dissertation titled "Statistical analysis of mammalian movements, with emphasis on the treatment of autocorrelated observations". Fieldwork involved small mammals (prairie voles, cotton rats) in early successional grasslands of eastern Kansas. After graduating, I worked for a year as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow in the lab of the late Bill Bell, studying searching behavior of houseflies and other insects.

In 1986 I accepted a position as a research ecologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, where I investigated nonlethal methods for managing crop damage by wildlife in commercial nurseries and orchards. Most of that work involved woodchucks, meadow voles, and white-tailed deer, with some work on starlings and snowshoe hares. Since joining the faculty at Purdue in 1991, my students and I have conducted numerous studies examining the impact of agriculture and habitat loss/fragmentation on vertebrates. Most of this work has focused on six species of forest rodents (white-footed mice, southern flying squirrels, eastern chipmunks, red squirrels, gray squirrels, and fox squirrels), although work also has been conducted on mammalian mesocarnivores, salamanders, and frogs and toads. I've also had a student examine fragmentation effects on acorn weevils.  I was the sole faculty member of the College of Agriculture to be included in the 2003 class of Purdue University Faculty Scholars, and the first faculty member in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources to receive this award.

I was appointed Interim Department Head in 2004 and Head in 2005. As Head, I am responsible for leadership and oversight of an incredibly talented group of 28 faculty, and 37 administrative and professional staff, 11 clerical staff, 305 undergraduate students, and 90 graduate students. It is truly a privilege and pleasure to work with such a dedicated and high-performing team of professionals.

Although my administrative duties have increased, I remain committed to academic pursuits including teaching, mentoring, and research. Please visit my Students and Staff section to meet the past and present members of my research group, and learn more about my Research Interests.

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