Faculty Spotlight – Jennifer B.H. Martiny, Ph.D.
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor Jennifer B.H. Martiny, Ph.D., has spent her career at UCI uncovering the mysteries of the microbial world beneath us, and sometimes within us. Her lab studies microbial diversity (which includes viruses, bacteria, and fungi) in terrestrial and marine ecosystems and recently, the human gut. She is interested in the mechanisms that regulate microbial diversity and whether this diversity affects ecosystem functioning. For example, Professor Martiny has an active research program investigating the complexities of ocean virus diversity, which has direct implications for carbon cycling in the oceans.
Professor Martiny has been interested in ecology since her time as an undergraduate at UC San Diego. During that time, she was fortunate to attend a study abroad program in Costa Rica to study tropical ecology. The trip to Costa Rica had a significant impact on her, which drove her to pursue an advanced degree in the Biological Sciences. After graduating from UCSD with a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution, Professor Martiny went on to study the diversity patterns and conservation biology of birds, butterflies, and flies at Stanford University. It was during this time that she first discovered her interest in the microbial world. After completing her doctorate, Professor Martiny remained at Stanford and conducted her postdoctoral research on microorganisms. From there, she traveled to Brown University and established her own lab in 2000. She subsequently accepted a position at UCI in 2006.
In addition to her research, Professor Martiny is very active in university service. She has served as a graduate advisor for the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and is currently the graduate admissions chair. Professor Martiny is also active in community service and works with K-12 students at the Crystal Cove State Park.
Lastly, Professor Martiny is also a proud parent and enjoys spending her free time traveling with her family. She also enjoys going to the theater, reading a good book and working on her culinary skills.