Kathy Martin (scientist)

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Kathy Martin
Kathy Martin in 2013.jpg
Nationality Canadian
Academic background
Education B.Sc. Biology (1970), University of Prince Edward Island,
M.Sc. Zoology (1973) University of Alberta,
Ph.D. Biology (1985) Queen's University
Thesis The utility of bi-parental care in Willow Ptarmigan: ecological and evolutionary considerations (1985)
Doctoral advisor Dr. Fred Cooke[1]
Academic work
Discipline Conservation Biology/Ornithology
Institutions Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia
Environment and Climate Change Canada

Kathy Martin is a global authority on arctic and alpine grouse and ptarmigan, and on tree cavity-nesting vertebrates. She is a Professor in the Faculty of Forestry[2] at the University of British Columbia and a senior research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.[3]

Over three decades, Martin has been a leader in Canada's Conservation Biology research and higher education community.[citation needed] Since 1996, Martin, who trained in ornithology, has represented Canada on the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN Species Survival Commission for grouse (galliformes). In this capacity she organizes conferences, and both leads and contributes to the writing of syntheses and policy documents.

At the national level, Martin participated in early discussions around forming the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution in 2006, and was a Founding Member of the organization, later served on its Governing Council (2008-11[4]). In 1996, Martin and her colleagues received The Wildlife Society's Wildlife Publication award, for their paper "Impact of food and predation on the snowshoe hare cycle."[5][6] In 1992, when she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Scarborough College, Martin developed and taught one of the first courses in Conservation Biology in Canada: C65S.

As of 2017, Martin continues to direct two ongoing, long-term research programs that she founded in Canada. The first, on the life history variation and ecology of alpine birds, began in 1980 and has expanded to sites in Australia, while the second, examining the structure and function of cavity-nesting vertebrate communities,[7][8] commenced in 1995 and expanded to other sites across North and South America.[9]

Martin is President[10] (April 2018-August 2020) of the American Ornithological Society.

Martin has published over 200 papers and book chapters[11], and has supervised international graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, who have gone on to drive wildlife conservation policy and management in their countries.[citation needed] Her doctoral students include José Tomás Ibarra (PhD 2015), currently an assistant professor at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.[12][non-primary source needed]

Early academic and natural history career[edit]

Kathy Martin is a native of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Her undergraduate degree in Biology was from the University of Prince Edward Island (1970). This was followed by an MSc at the University of Alberta, Edmonton (1973), and a PhD at Queen’s University, Kingston (1985), with geneticist Dr. Fred Cooke. Cooke founded one of the longest-running field ecology studies in the world, examining the genetics and population biology of lesser snow geese. Martin’s doctoral research was on Willow Ptarmigan population biology, and not on Lesser Snow Geese, although she has done research on snow geese. Following the completion of her doctorate, Martin received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta (1985–1988).[3]

Kathy Martin holding a willow ptarmigan in 1983

Early on in her career, prior to undertaking her doctoral research, Martin committed to doing what is now popularly known as public science and science communication. Martin was active in the Prince Edward Island Natural History society, founding and editing the first 40 copies of its newsletter.[13] In 1977, she wrote the guide Island Woodland Plants.[14]

Kathy Martin with her book, Watershed Red

In 1981, Martin published the monograph Watershed Red,[15] about the natural history of the Dunk River Watershed.

Kathy Martin with a painting of the Dunk River at Lucy Maud Montgomery's Birthplace

Research career[edit]

Martin's first faculty position was as an Assistant Professor at the Université de Sherbrooke (1988–89) followed by an NSERC University Research Fellow and Assistant Professor position in Life Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus (1989-1992). In 1993, she moved to Vancouver to assume her current joint appointment with the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Academic leadership positions[edit]



  • International Ornithological Union, Scientific Program Committee, January 2015
  • North American Ornithological Conference, Vancouver, chair, 2012
  • Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution, founding Board Member, 2008–2011
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Grant Selection Committee - Evolution and Ecology chair 2003–04
  • Society of Canadian Ornithologists, president, 2000–02



  1. ^ https://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/handle/10315/10048
  2. ^ "Kathy Martin | UBC Forestry Profiles". profiles.forestry.ubc.ca.
  3. ^ a b c Branch, Government of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Science and Technology. "Environment and Climate Change Canada - Science and Technology - Environment Canada S & T Expert Profile". www.ec.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2017-07-27. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  4. ^ http://csee-scee.ca/past-governing-councils/
  5. ^ Krebs, Charles J.; Boutin, Stan; Boonstra, Rudy; Sinclair, A. R. E.; Smith, J. N. M.; Dale, Mark R. T.; Martin, K.; Turkington, R. (1995). "Impact of Food and Predation on the Snowshoe Hare Cycle". Science. 269 (5227): 1112–1115. doi:10.2307/2888056. JSTOR 2888056.
  6. ^ "Wildlife Publication Awards | THE WILDLIFE SOCIETY". wildlife.org. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  7. ^ "UBC researcher roughing it in the bush to save endangered woodpeckers". The Globe and Mail. 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  8. ^ "UBC researchers work to save endangered woodpeckers". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  9. ^ "Kathy Martin - Canadian Mountain Network". Canadian Mountain Network. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  10. ^ "Faces of AOS: Kathy Martin Bio". AOS News. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  11. ^ "Kathy Martin - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  12. ^ "José Tomás Ibarra | Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile - Academia.edu". uc-cl.academia.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  13. ^ "History". Nature PEI. 2011-01-26. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  14. ^ https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/pei_woodland_plants.pdf
  15. ^ 1949-, Martin, Kathy,. Watershed red : the life of the Dunk River, Prince Edward Island.
  16. ^ "AOS Governance | American Ornithology". www.americanornithology.org. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  17. ^ "Bird Studies Canada". www.birdscanada.org. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  18. ^ "BOU/@IBIS_journal is thrilled to award Prof Kathy Martin our Godman Salvin Prize for her outstanding contribution to #ornithology and to the international ornithological community. #IOCongress2018".
  19. ^ "Congratulations to Kathy Martin on being awarded the Ian McTaggart-Cowan Lifetime Achievement Award | UBC Faculty of Forestry". www.forestry.ubc.ca.
  20. ^ "The Doris Huestis Speirs Award for Outstanding Contributions to Canadian Ornithology" (PDF).

Major Publications[edit]

  • Martin, K. 1977. Island Woodland Plants. Environment, Energy and Forestry: Prince Edward Island. Reprinted 1983, 2008.
  • Martin, K. 1981. Watershed Red: The Life of the Dunk River, Prince Edward Island. Ragweed Press: PEI.