Robert Hill

Professor Robert Hill

Director - Environment Institute

Environment Institute

Division of Research and Innovation

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Professor Robert Hill is the Director of the Environment Institute.

He is a graduate of the University of Adelaide. He completed his Ph.D. on Tertiary plant macrofossils in 1981, and his D.Sc. on the interaction between climate change and the evolution of the living Australian vegetation in 1997. In 1979 he accepted a position as Tutor in Botany at James Cook University, and in 1980 he was offered a lecturing position in the Department of Botany at the University of Tasmania. He remained at the University of Tasmania until 1999, after being promoted to Professor in 1993. He was Head of the School of Plant Science for 6 years prior to his departure, and was awarded Professor Emeritus status by the University of Tasmania Council in 2000. In 1999 he returned to the University of Adelaide as an Australian Research Council (ARC) Senior Research Fellow, in 2001 he was appointed Head of Science at the South Australian Museum and in 2003 became Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He was appointed to his current position of Executive Dean in September 2006.

During his career he has won many awards including the Clarke and Burbidge Medals for his research into the impact of long-term climate change on the evolution of Australian vegetation. He is currently Editor in Chief of the Australian Journal of Botany.

Professor Hill has had a profound impact on the study of Botany in Australia. He has been instrumental in raising the profile of modern botanical studies through his own research which is of the highest international standard, through the training of numerous honours and postgraduate students, many of whom now hold botanical research positions in their own right, and through his distinguished service to botanical societies, organisations and government agencies.
His botanical research has made significant contributions to the areas of palaeobotany, plant systematics, plant ecophysiology and the application of research from these areas to interpreting changes that have occurred to the Australian flora through evolutionary time.

He has had a lifetime interest in the evolution of the vegetation of Australia and Antarctica. He has published more than 125 refereed journal papers, 35 book chapters, several symposium papers and has edited or co-edited four books, including The History of the Australian Vegetation (Cambridge University Press), Ecology of the Southern Conifers (Melbourne University Press), The Ecology and Biogeography of Nothofagus Forests (Yale University Press), and Vegetation of Tasmania (Australian Biological Resources Study).

He is best known for his research on the fossil history of the southern beech, Nothofagus, and the southern conifers. His research on the fossil history of Nothofagus has been critical in refining our understanding of its evolution and has led to a major revision of our understanding of the biogeography of this critical southern genus.

Research Interests

Professor Hill has had a profound impact on the study of Botany in Australia. He has been instrumental in raising the profile of modern botanical studies through his own research which is of the highest international standard, through the training of numerous honours and postgraduate students, many of whom now hold botanical research positions in their own right, and through his distinguished service to botanical societies, organisations and government agencies.

His botanical research has made significant contributions to the areas of palaeobotany, plant systematics, plant ecophysiology and the application of research from these areas to interpreting changes that have occurred to the Australian flora through evolutionary time.

He has had a lifetime interest in the evolution of the vegetation of Australia and Antarctica. He has published more than 125 refereed journal papers, 35 book chapters, several symposium papers and has edited or co-edited four books, including The History of the Australian Vegetation (Cambridge University Press), Ecology of the Southern Conifers (Melbourne University Press), The Ecology and Biogeography of Nothofagus Forests (Yale University Press), and Vegetation of Tasmania (Australian Biological Resources Study).

He is best known for his research on the fossil history of the southern beech, Nothofagus, and the southern conifers. His research on the fossil history of Nothofagus has been critical in refining our understanding of its evolution and has led to a major revision of our understanding of the biogeography of this critical southern genus.

  • Position: Director - Environment Institute
  • Phone: 83136807
  • Email: bob.hill@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Benham Laboratories, floor G
  • Room: G 05
  • Org Unit: Environment Institute

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