Charles W. Martin, PhD
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Research

I am a broadly trained community ecologist with interests in the wide-ranging effects of anthropogenic stressors on the structure and function of coastal and freshwater ecosystems.  My research program focuses on question-driven research and, as such, I seek organisms/systems providing novel ecological insight rather than focusing on organism-specific hypotheses.  The ultimate objective of my research is to gain a fundamental understanding of the ecological processes structuring natural ecosystems, particularly how anthropogenic perturbations have modified these processes, with a specific emphasis on the successful conservation of ecosystems. Below is a brief outline of a few of my interests.  





Introduced species are considered to be among the greatest of all threats to the structure and function of native ecosystems.  My research focuses on a number of introduced species, and encompasses quantification of their biogeographic spread and factors limiting their proliferation as well as the effects these invaders have on native organisms.



Recent evidence has indicated that the mere presence of predators can have strong, cascading impacts throughout the food web.  I am particularly interested in how prey recognize and respond to the threat of predators, factors influencing this reaction, and how antipredator responses can affect non-adjacent trophic levels.




From the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf to landscape level changes in hydrology, studying the effects of and recovery from disturbances creates an opportunity to uncover fundamental processes that structure natural communities.


Given the continued loss of habitat in many areas, coupled with the overharvest of many organisms, environmental managers have turned to restoration practices in an effort to re-establish ecosystem functioning and supplement local fisheries. I am interested in developing cost-effective and novel approaches to restoring functional ecosystems.
 



Diverse ecosystems are thought to be more resilient to disturbances and exhibit healthy ecosystem functioning. I am interested in determining how biodiverse ecosystems are created, maintained, and altered, as well as how these principles can be applied to conservation efforts.





For centuries, humans have harvested organisms from the wild. I am interested in how the selective, targeted removals of certain species triggers changes throughout the food web and how fishing activities affect animal behavior, dietary habits, reproduction, and growth.
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