Robert Jacobson, Ph.D.


Dr. Robert B. Jacobson received his Ph.D. from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, and he holds an undergraduate degree in Geology from Carleton College. He has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey since 1983 in geologic hazards, neotectonics, paleoseismology, geomorphology, surficial processes and riverine habitat dynamics. He is the Chief of the River Studies Branch, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Columbia, Missouri, U.S.A., where he supervises a staff of ecologists, fish biologists, geomorphologists and hydrologists engaged in interdisciplinary research in fundamental river processes, applied to pressing river management decisions.


Ph.D. – May 1986 -- The Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering.  Dr. M.G. Wolman, major advisor. Dissertation title: “Spatial and temporal distributions of slope processes in the upper Buffalo Creek drainage basin, Marion County, West Virginia”.

B.A. – June 1979 -- Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota. Magna cum laude with Department honors, in Geology.

Recent Professional Experience                                                                    

2009 - Present - Supervisory Research Hydrologist, Branch Chief, Project Chief.  Supervises a team of approximately 30 ecologists, fish biologists, geomorphologists, and hydrologists engaged in interdisciplinary research in river ecosystems. Branch research focuses on large-river ecology, endangered pallid sturgeon, invasive Asian carps, indicators of aquatic ecosystem integrity, and ecosystem services of large-river floodplains.  My research efforts are directed toward decision-relevant information needs for management and restoration of large rivers, with an emphasis on the Missouri River.   

1997 – 2009 - Research Hydrologist and Principal Investigator, River Corridor Habitat Dynamics.  Supervised a team of hydrologists and geomorphologists and collaborated with fish biologists, ecologists, hydrologists, and geographers engaged in interdisciplinary river research.  Focus was on gravel-bed streams of the Ozark Plateaus and the highly engineered Lower Missouri River.  

Work Experience  

1989 – 1997 - Research Hydrologist, Project Chief, USGS, Rolla, Missouri.  Research in surficial processes, emphasis on sediment routing through watersheds, formation and maintenance of aquatic habitat

1983 – 1989 - Research Geologist, USGS, Reston, Virginia.  Research in surficial processes, emphasis on neotectonics, paleoseismology, Quaternary climate change, landslide and flood hazards, Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Appalachian mountains.