Bob Zink

Bob Zink

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught

Contact Information

TitleConservation Biologist | Animal Ecologist | SNR Graduate Student Ombudsperson
Faculty RankProfessor
AddressW504 Nebraska Hall
900 North 16th Street
Lincoln NE
  • office: 612-590-4215
  • fax: 402-472-2946
VitaeDownload file


My Story

I am an avian evolutionary biologist. My interests include species concepts and speciation, phylogeography, molecular evolution, biogeography, the evolution of Darwin's finches, the evolution of migration, and conservation genetics.

Selected Publications

Zink RM, Holck K and Morgan GL (2022) Phylogenetic Tests of Models of Viral Transmission. Front. Virol. 2:832466. doi: 10.3389/fviro.2022.832466Online
Zink, R.M. 2021. Considering the use of the Terms Strain and Adaptation in Prion Research. Heliyon. 7, e06801.Online
Russ, G. M., and R. M. Zink. (2020) Age and sex Ratios for selected passerines killed in window collisions. Wils. J. Ornithology.
Vázquez-Miranda, H. and Zink, R.M.(2020) Geographic Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease Resistant Alleles in Nebraska, with Comments on the Evolution of Resistance. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management, 11(1), pp.46-55.Online
Zink RM, Botero-Cañola S, Martinez H,Herzberg KM (2020) Niche modeling reveals life history shifts in birds at La Brea over the last twenty millennia. PLoS ONE 15(1): e0227361.
Zink, R. M. (2020) Genetic and evolutionary considerations of the chronic wasting disease – human species barrier. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. Vol. 84. 104484Online
Zink, R. M., M. J. Olson, H. Vazquez-Miranda. (2020) Evolutionary origin and genetic diversity of ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) in the Upper Midwest. Wildlife Society Bulletin 44:246-251.Online
Zink, R.M., Najar, N., Vazquez-Miranda, H., Buchanan, B., Loy, J., Brodersen, B.W. 2020. Geographic Variation in the PRNP Gene and its Promoter, and their Relationship to Chronic Wasting Disease in North American Deer. PRION Vol. 14, No. 1:185-192. Online
Hill, G. E. and R. M. Zink. (2018) Hybrid speciation in birds, with special reference to Darwin's finches. J. Avian Biology, e01879 doi: 10.1111/jav.01879.Online
Hung, C.-H., R. M. Zink S.‐H. Li. (2018) Can genomic variation explain the extinction of the passenger pigeon? J. Avian Biology e01858, doi: 10.1111/jav.01858.Online
Zink, R. M. (2018)The Three Minute Outdoorsman Returns. Univ. Neb. Press.
Zink, R. M. and G. V. Voelker. (2018) Distribution of the world’s birds, an evolutionary and ecological perspective. Pp. 61-94 in Morrison et al. (eds.) Ornithology, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.
Zink, R. M. and H. Vázquez-Miranda. (2018) Species limits and phylogenomic relationships of Darwin’s finches remain unresolved: potential consequences of a volatile ecological setting. Systematic Biology. 68(2):347-357. DOI:10.1093/sysbio/syy073
Zink, R. M. and J. Klicka. (2018) Species concepts and speciation analysis. Pp. 39-60 in Morrison et al. (eds.) Ornithology, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press
Hung, C.-M., S. Drovetski, and R. M. Zink. (2017)The roles of ecology, behavior and effective population size in the evolution of a community. Molecular Ecology. 26(14):3775-3784.Online
Vázquez-Miranda, H., J. A. Griffin, J. M. Sheppard, J. M. Herman, R. M. Zink. (2017) Rates of morphological and molecular evolution and their consequences for taxonomy in the LeConte’s Thrasher (Toxostoma lecontei). J. Avian Biology.
Zink, R.M. and Gardner, A.S. (2017) Glaciation as a migratory switch. Science advances 3(9), p.e1603133.Online
Barrowclough GF, Cracraft J, Klicka J, Zink RM (2016) How Many Kinds of Birds Are There and Why Does It Matter? PLoS ONE 11(11): e0166307.Online
Hung, C. M., Drovetski, S. V., and Zink, R. M. (2016) Matching loci surveyed to questions asked in phylogeography. In Proc. R. Soc. B (Vol. 283, No. 1826, p. 20152340). The Royal Society.
Zink, R. M. (2106) Current Topics in Avian Conservation Genetics with Special Reference to the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. The Open Ornithology Journal 9: 60-69.Online
Zink, R. M., & E. F. Stuber. 2016. No relationship between brain size and risk of being shot in hunted birds: a response to Moller and Erritzoe. Biology Letters, 13(5).Online
Zink, R.M., Groth, J. G., Vázquez-Miranda, H., and Barrowclough, G.F.(2016) Geographic variation, null hypotheses and subspecies limits in the California gnatcatcher: a response to McCormack and Maley. The Auk 133:59-68. Online
McKay, B. D. and R. M. Zink. 2015. Sisyphean evolution in Darwin's finches. Biological Reviews 90:689-698.Online
Hung, C.-M., Shaner, P. J. L., Zink, R. M., Liu, W. C., Chu, T. C., Huang, W. S., & Li, S. H. 2014. Drastic population fluctuations explain the rapid extinction of the passenger pigeon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111:10636-10641.Online
Zink, R. M. 2014. Homage to Hutchinson, and the role of ecology in lineage divergence and speciation. J. Biogeography 41:999-1006.Online
Zink, R.M., Groth, J. G., Vázquez-Miranda, H., & Barrowclough, G.F. 2014. Phylogeography of the California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica) using multilocus DNA sequences and ecological niche modeling: implications for conservation. Auk 130:449-458Online
Hung, C.-M., S. V. Drovetski, & R. M. Zink. 2013. Multilocus coalescence analyses support a mtdna-based phylogeographic history for a widespread Palearctic passerine bird, Sitta europaea. Evolution 66-9: 2850-2864.Online
Arnold, T. W. & R. M. Zink. 2011. Structural collision mortality does not affect long-term avian population trends. PlosOne PLoS ONE 6(9): e24708. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024708Online
Zink, R. M. 2011. The evolution of avian migration. Biol. J. Linnaean Society. 104:237-250.Online
McKay, B. D. and R. M. Zink. 2010. The causes of mitochondrial DNA gene tree paraphyly in birds. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54: 647-650.Online
Zink, R. M. & G. F. Barrowclough. 2008. Mitochondrial DNA under siege in avian phylogeography. Molecular Ecology 17:2107-2121.Online
Zink, R. M. 2004. The role of subspecies in obscuring biological diversity and misleading conservation policy. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B. 271:561-564.Online



DegreeMajorInstitutionYear Awarded
Doctorate of PhilosophyUniversity of California-Berkeley1983
Bachelor of ScienceUniversity of Minnesota1977





TitleAwarded byYear Awarded
Katma AwardCooper Ornithological Society2015
Brewster MedalAmerican Ornithologists' Union2005


SNR Program Areas

  • Applied Ecology

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • Web Design
  • species concepts and speciation
  • phylogeography
  • molecular evolution
  • biogeography
  • the evolution of Darwin's finches
  • the evolution of migration
  • conservation genetics


Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/ 2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/ 2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant TitleGeographic Distribution of CWD Genetic Reistance
Starting Date01/03/2020


Ending Date06/30/2020
Funding Level$2,500.00
Funding AgencyPope-Young Club


Grant TitleNebraska Wildlife (Additional Funding)
Starting Date09/23/2019


Ending Date05/31/2020
Funding Level$8,080.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Games and Parks Commission


Grant TitleNebraska Wildlife (Additional Funding)
Starting Date04/25/2018


Ending Date05/31/2019
Funding Level$14,495.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Games and Parks Commission


Grant TitleNebraska Wildlife
Starting Date09/01/2016


Ending Date08/31/2018
Funding Level$234,846.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Game and Parks Commission



Graduate Programs

Master of Applied Science

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences
including specializations in

  • Applied Ecology

Doctorate of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences
including specializations in

  • Applied Ecology

Courses Taught

Course NumberCourse TitleFall Even YearsFall Odd YearsSpring Even YearsSpring Odd YearsSummer SessionCross Listing
NRES 210Applied Ornithology XX