Patrick Tobin

  • Associate Professor
    • 206-685-7588
  • Visit Patrick's website
  • Patrick C. Tobin

    • Associate Professor

    Research areas

    B.S., Environmental Health Sciences, University of Georgia
    M.S., Entomology, Pennsylvania State University
    Ph.D., Entomology, Minors in Statistics and Operations Research, Pennsylvania State University

    Patrick Tobin’s research focuses on the biology and ecology of biological invasions, the spatial and temporal dynamics of insect populations, and the role of climate change on insect population dynamics.

    Patrick Tobin is not currently accepting graduate students. 



    • ESRM 415 | Terrestrial Invasion Ecology (5) - Autumn
    • ESRM 435 | Insect Ecology (3) - Spring
    • Q SCI 481 | Introduction to Probability and Statistics (5) - Winter

    Current Sponsored Projects

    • Assessing the biodiversity and epidemiology of common, understudied, Pacific Northwest fungi
      In this research, we seek to better understand the diversity of powdery mildew in the Pacific Northwest. We will accomplish this by (1) collecting powdery mildew specimens on various hosts throughout the Puget Sound region, (2) sequencing the newly collected specimens as well as the ~150 collected in previous years, (3) developing a powdery mildew herbarium database at the University of Washington Burke Museum that can be used by scientists throughout the world, and (4) using this data to revise and enhance the Erysiphales (powdery mildew) phylogeny, which is currently incomplete due to a lack of sequence data from isolates in the United States.
    • Optimizing management guidelines for the non-native Azalea Lace Bug on Rhododendron species in Western Washington
      The invasive azalea lace bug is one of the most serious insect pests of Rhododendron species, and especially azalea. Although introduced into the United States in 1915, its presence in Washington was not confirmed until 2008. This research seeks to study azalea lace bug seasonality in Western Washington, and measure the susceptibility of Rhododendron species, when growing in Western Washington, to azalea lace bug attack.
    • Elucidating traits and factors determining the risk of introduced herbivorous insects on North American native plants
      High-impact insect invasions cause widespread ecological and economic damage. In this study, we will conduct a continental scale study of high-impact insect invasions caused by genus specialists, and assess the contribution of traits and factors toward these impacts. We will then synthesize the data and parameterize a predictive model of the potential impact of introduced insects. We will then apply the model to insects with a high likelihood of introduction to the U.S. to rank their probability of becoming significant threats if introduced.
    • Collaborative research: A landscape resistance mapping approach to understanding species invasion patterns
      Understanding the factors that affect species range edges is fundamental to ecology, and is critical to both predicting invasive species spread and informing species conservation efforts. This project will combine cutting-edge landscape genetics with detailed analyses of local population dynamics to inform models simulating how local population processes, landscape connectivity, and anthropogenic movement of propagules integratively drive invasive spread patterns.
    • Collaborative research: Spatiotemporal interactions among biotic disturbance agents, biological legacies, and compensatory responses: consequences for temperate forest resilience
      Ecosystems worldwide are changing rapidly from the individual and combined effects of climate warming and associated disturbances. Key mechanisms of resilience, such as biological legacies (i.e., live and dead organic material remaining after a disturbance) and compensatory responses (e.g., postdisturbance regeneration or growth) may be altered substantially by disturbance interactions and shifting environmental conditions. This study will integrate existing forest demography data with newly acquired remote sensing products to examine the spatiotemporal interactions among biotic disturbance agents, and examine the effects of post-disturbance biological legacies and compensatory responses on ecosystem resilience.

    Selected publications

    Streifel MA, Tobin PC, Kees AM, Aukema BH (2019) Range expansion of Lymantria dispar dispar (L.) (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) along its north‐western margin in North America despite low predicted climatic suitability. Journal of Biogeography 46: 58-69.  Link

    Mech AM, Tobin PC, Teskey RO, Rhea JR, Gandhi KJK (2018) Increases in summer temperatures decrease the survivorship of an invasive forest insect. Biological Invasions 20: 365-374.  Link

    Hajek AE, Tobin PC, Kroll SA, Long SJ (2018) Symbionts mediate oviposition behaviour in invasive and native woodwasps. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 20: 442-450.  Link

    Tobin PC, Turcotte RM, Blackburn LM, Juracko JA, Simpson BT (2017) The big chill: quantifying the effect of the 2014 North American cold wave on hemlock woolly adelgid populations in the central Appalachian Mountains. Population Ecology 59: 251-258.  Link

    Bjørnstad ON, Nelson WA, and Tobin PC (2016) Developmental synchrony in multivoltine insects: generation separation versus smearing. Population Ecology 58: 479-491  Link

    Walter JA, Firebaugh AL, Tobin PC, and Haynes KJ (2016) Invasion in patchy landscapes is affected by dispersal mortality and mate-finding failure. Ecology 97: 3389-3401.  Link