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Academic Profile

Martin is a biogeomorphologist with broad interests in the two-way interactions between organisms and the physical environment. Much of his research is interdisciplinary and focusses on:

  • Rock breakdown processes, controls and laboratory simulation. This includes the interactive effects of temperature, moisture, salt and organisms in the weathering of rock coast landscapes and building stone, and increasingly in a context of climate change;
  • The bioprotective roles and biodiversity value of epilithic plants and animals. This includes research on barnacles, seaweed and mussels at the coast and the impact of plants (both good and bad) on historic buildings and ruins;
  • Ecological enhancement in engineering design. This interest stems from his PhD research on the role of biogeomorphological processes in shaping colonisation and biodiversity patterns on coastal rocks and sea defence structures;
  • Biogeomorphology. Martin has a particular interest in the theoretical development of biogeomorphology as a sub-discipline of geomorphology and the parallel concept of 'ecosystem engineering'.

Previously, Martin was a Departmental Lecturer in Physical Geography here in Oxford, and a Lecturer at Worcester College and St Hilda’s College.

Current Research

Martin is a member of the Oxford Resilient Buildings and Landscapes Lab (OxRBL) and the Landscape Dynamics research cluster. He is the SEAHA Tutor for students undertaking their DPhil research as part of the EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA). As part of this role, he is currently supervising Tim Baxter’s project on Biodiversity and bioprotection of historic maritime structures: a possible win-win?.

Martin is leading a project under the theme of ‘heritage horticulture’ that aims to identify and scope-out opportunities for understanding and adapting to climate change using archives from historic estates and gardens. This links to his wider research interests in plants, heritage, biodiversity, and historic walls and ruins.

He is also part of a collaborative project funded by National Geographic to examine bioprotection along the Argentinian coastline. This research is assessing the influences of mussel beds on rock-surface microclimates, salt ingress, and erosion rates using field experiments alongside laboratory weathering simulations.

Funding Awards

  • Knowledge Exchange Seed Fund (2019 – 2020): To scope and develop opportunities for ‘learning from the past’ in a context of horticultural practice, historic gardens and climate change.
  • National Geographic (2018 – 2020): To examine the bioprotective role of mussels on rapidly eroding coastal landscapes in Argentina. In collaboration with the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina.
  • SoGE Inspiration Fund (2018 – 2019): A project examining the ‘histories and mysteries’ of the iconic stone heads outside Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.
  • EPSRC Sponsorship Fund (2015 – 2016): To engage end-users with opportunities for greening of urban infrastructure (‘Integrated Green-Grey Infrastructure’). In collaboration with the University of Glasgow.
  • HEIF Heritage Knowledge Exchange Fund (2015): A public engagement and research dissemination project focussing on Godstow Abbey, Oxfordshire.
  • British Society for Geomorphology ECR grant (2013 – 2014): To examine biogeomorphological processes on rocky shores in South West England.
  • University of Oxford Knowledge Exchange Seed Fund (2013 – 2014): To develop the 'Conserving Oxford Stone Heritage' audio walking tour (Twitter: @OxfordStoneHeritage)
  • Esmée Fairbairn Research Grant (2011 – 2013): PDRA on a project examining the bioprotection of coastal rocks and structures.

Selected Publications

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Journal Articles

Book Chapters