Thomas E Martin

Photo of Martin, Thomas E

Thomas E Martin

DBS Associated Faculty

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Research Interests

Geographic variation in avian life history traits and parental care behaviors

Life history traits, such as clutch size, renesting rates, developmental rates, age of first reproduction, and adult survival, along with parental care behaviors (incubation, brooding, feeding young), vary extensively in geographic space. This project focuses on measuring these traits and behaviors for coexisting species across a series of geographic sites that differ in adult and nest mortalities (Arizona (current), Malaysia (current), Venezuela (done), South Africa (done), New Zealand (done), Tasmania (done)).

Climate effects on a high elevation riparian ecosystem and bird community

A long-term (since 1985) study of a high elevation riparian ecosystem and bird community demonstrates climate effects on trophic interactions among plants, birds, and nest predation. Key deciduous plants and several bird species have declined strongly in abundance, with one previously common bird species (MacGillivray's Warbler) even going locally extinct. Large herbivores may interact with climate change to cause plant losses (see next project).

Large herbivore exclusion experiment on a riparian ecosystem

Long-term declines in plants, and many bird species that rely on these plants, may reflects of over-browsing by large herbivores, together with climate change (see above project). Herbivory and climate may interact in that drier years may yield lower plant propogation that make them more susceptible to browsing pressures. Large-scale (9 ha) exclosures were erected on three sites in 2004 to examine the separate effects of herbivores versus climate.

Field of Study

Population and evolutionary ecology



Specialized Skills


Professional Experience


International Experience


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Selected Publications



Martin, T. E., P. Lloyd, C. Bosque, D. Barton, L. Biancucci, Y. Cheng, R. Ton, and A. Majewska.  In review.  Growth rate variation among Passerine species in temperate and tropical sites: An antagonistic interaction between parental food provisioning and nest predation risk. 

Biancucci, A. L., and T. E. Martin.  2010.  Can selection on nest size from nest predation explain the latitudinal gradient in clutch size?  Journal of Animal Ecology 79: 1086-1092.

Chalfoun, A., and T. E. Martin.  2010.  Within-season facultative shifts in nest-site selection in response to offspring predation risk: A win-stay, lose-switch strategy. Oecologia 163:885-892.

Martin, T. E. and J. V. Briskie.  2009.  Predation on dependent offspring: a review of the consequences for mean expression and phenotypic plasticity in avian life history traits.  The Year in Evolutionary Biology 2009: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1168: 201-217.

Martin, T. E.  2008.  Egg size variation among tropical and temperate songbirds: An embryonic temperature hypothesis.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105: 9268-9271.

Martin, T. E., and H. Schwabl.  2008.  Variation in maternal effects and embryonic development rates among passerine species.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 363: 1663-1674.

Martin, T. E., S. K. Auer, R. D. Bassar, A. Niklison, and P. Lloyd.  2007. Geographic variation in avian incubation periods and parental influences on embryonic temperature.  Evolution 61: 2558-2569.

Martin, T. E.  2007.  Climate correlates of 20 years of trophic changes in a high elevation riparian system.  Ecology 88: 367-380.