Dr. Tobin received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1994. After completing a Post-Doctoral Research Assistantship at Princeton University he joined TAMIU in 2001 and is a Professor of Geology and the Director for the Center for Earth and Environmental Studies. Since joining TAMIU he has authored or co-authored a total of fourteen referred papers. Dr. Tobin has been instrumental in securing over $2.1 M dollars of external funding from numerous agencies at TAMIU including: NSF, NASA, NOAA, FEMA, State of Texas, and the US Department of Defense. He has won three awards at TAMIU based on has productivity as a grant writer. He has reviewed numerous grants for agencies such as NSF and NASA and has served as a panel member for a NASA. Past research efforts include an eclectic range of disciplines that includes: geomicrobiology, stable isotope geochemistry, carbonate and chert petrology; cyanobacterial micropaleontology and paleoclimatology and paleoceanography.
Over the last decade he has focused his efforts in the areas of hydrology and remote sensing. Specific current interests include the application of remotely sensed data such as evapotranspiration and soil moisture to improve hydrologic model calibration and development of new remotely sensed datasets. For over seven years he was a member of the NASA Precipitation Science team and since 2016 he is the lead investigator of the NASA funded SMERGE project. The team includes nine top tier earth scientists including two international team members. SMERGE is a root zone soil moisture product for the continental United States that is currently under development. Root zone soil moisture is a critical climate variable and is a fundamental limiting factor on agricultural productivity.