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Jake Martin

Jake Martin
I am a FORMAS ECR Mobility Fellow (Swedish Research Council) based at the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).


Collectively, I have seven years of experience teaching workshops, lecturing, and demonstrating in practical classes both in person and online. During this time, at four different institutions, I have taught 300+ undergraduates across seven different units, which span from 1st-year undergraduate to Master's programs. This includes experience teaching in institutions within Sweden and abroad. Specifically, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala University (UU), Stockholm University (SU), and Monash University (MU). The courses I have taught, and developed materials for, include topics such as animal physiology (MU: BIO2242), evolutionary biology (MU: SCI1200), behavioural ecology (MU: BIO3052), global environmental challenges (MU: BIO3082), statistics and analytics (MU: BIO3011), ecotoxicology (UU: 39304), systematic evidence synthesis in ecology (SLU: BI1299), as well as ecological and evolutionary responses to environmental pollution (SU: BL7053).


The overarching goal of my research program is to identify, and understand, how human-induced rapid environmental change impacts wildlife. My research takes an integrative approach to understanding the impacts of environmental pollution on wildlife. This includes research on pollution-induced effects on metabolism growth and development, reproduction, feeding/foraging, collective behaviour, predator-prey interactions, and most recently, gut microbial community structure. Primarily, my research focuses on the ecological effects of emerging chemical pollutants in aquatic ecosystems (but also includes noise pollution, thermal pollution, and invasive species). 

Environmental pollution with synthetic chemicals is recognised as one of the fastest-growing agents of global change, exceeding that of many well-recognised environmental megatrends (e.g. rising CO2 emissions, land loss to agriculture, and biodiversity loss). It is essential that we understand if, and how, emerging pollutants impact wildlife and ecosystems.

My key research themes are, as follows:

Behavioural ecotoxicology

Animal behaviour has emerged as a critical tool in measuring chemical-induced impacts. The growing use of behaviour in ecotoxicology is primarily a result of its sensitivity to chemical disruption and its direct link to population-level outcomes. Concerningly, many emerging pollutants—particularly pharmaceuticals (e.g. antidepressants, anxiolytics, and endocrine disruptors)—have the potential to alter the behaviour of exposed wildlife. Indeed, there is now a building body of evidence, including my own work, reporting that environmentally realistic levels of emerging pollutants can disrupt a range of important behaviours in wildlife. Within the research theme of behavioural ecotoxicology, there are three principal sub-themes around which I am building my research: behavioural variation, collective behaviour, and lab-to-field.

The gut microbiome

The relationship between an animal host and its gut microbiome is a rapidly expanding area of research in the Life Sciences. Recent evidence has established strong links between the gut microbiome, host homeostasis, and behaviour. An animal’s microbiome resides at the interface between the host and its environment; in essence, the microbiome represents a buffer and first line of defence against contaminants and environmental stressors. A number of chemical pollutants (e.g. metals and antibiotics) have the potential to disrupt the microbiome of animals.

My most recent research theme is to understand the impacts of chemical pollution on the gut microbiome of exposed wildlife, and the consequences for their metabolism, growth, and behaviour. My preliminary results suggest that pharmaceutical exposure can cause perturbation of the gut microbial community at environmentally realistic levels, which appears to be linked to changes in neurotransmitter expression in the gut and brain.

Evidence synthesis

In combination with my experimental research, I also employ evidence synthesis to understand the effects of emerging pollution on wildlife. Evidence synthesis is the process of collating and combining data from multiple sources to establish an evidence base, identify gaps in knowledge, and analyse overall or absolute effects. Typically this takes the form of systematic literature reviews and meta-analysis.

Evidence synthesis is particularly important for research measuring the impacts of pollution, as to accurately inform policymakers, we must first build a database and calculate the risk of pollutants in a repeatable and unbiased manner. One of the current evidence synthesis projects I am leading is a large-scale systematic map, addressing the effects of human and veterinary pharmaceuticals on aquatic animal behaviour. Once my team and I have completed metadata extractions for the primary research articles on this topic, it will be presented as a publicly available database for use in policymaking and for meta-analysis.


Supervising students is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Below are the amazing PhD that I have had the pleasure to supervise. If you want to hear more about their research, please see the contact information below.

Shiho Ozeki (2022–Current)

Shiho’s PhD focuses on the effects of the endocrine-disrupting chemical (EE2)—found in the birth control pill—on the behaviour of marine species with varying models of reproduction and parental investment.

Co-supervisors: Prof Bob Wong and Prof Anne Peters
Twitter: @OzekiShiho

Kate Fergusson (2021–Current)

Kate’s research interest comprise of ecotoxicology, cognition, and animal personality. Her research will focus on determining whether, and how, the antidepressant fluoxetine impacts learning and cognition in fish.

Co-supervisors: Prof Bob Wong and Dr Michael Bertram
Twitter: @KNFergusson

Gabriela Melo (2020–Current)

Gabriela’s PhD focuses on the potential long-term impacts of fluoxetine, a common antidepressant pollutant, on the reproductive systems of freshwater fish. Specifically, pre- and post-copulatory reproductive processes, as well as mechanisms of sexual selection and sexual conflict.

Co-supervisors: Prof Bob Wong and Dr Matthew Hall
Twitter: @gabriela_melogc

Hung Tan (2020–2023)

Hung’s research investigated the impacts of psychoactive pollutants—such as caffeine and antidepressants—on the behaviour, physiology and circadian rhythm of aquatic wildlife. His work involves both fish and amphibian models.

Co-supervisors: Prof Bob Wong and Dr Lesley Alton
Twitter: @HungTan_

Jack Orford (2019–2023)

Jack’s PhD research investigated how common agricultural endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) affect development, survival and reproduction in frogs. His project provided insights into how aquatic contamination by EDCs can affect vulnerable early life stages, and how this can influence adult performance.

Co-supervisors: Prof Bob Wong and Dr Lesley Alton
Twitter: @JackTOrford

Selected publications

Tan H, Brand JA, Clarke BO, Manera JL, Martin JM*, Wong BBM*, Alton LA* (2023) No evidence that the widespread environmental contaminant caffeine alters energy balance or stress responses in fish. Ethology. DOI: 10.1111/eth.13403 *Joint senior author

Orford JT, Hung T,  Tingley R, Alton LA, Wong BBM*, Martin JM* (2023) Bigger and bolder: Widespread agricultural pollutant 17β-trenbolone increases growth and alters behaviour in tadpoles (Litoria ewingii). Aquatic Toxicology. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2023.106577 *Joint senior author

Martin JM, Orford JT, Melo GC, Tan H, Mason RT, Ozeki S, Bertram MG, Wong BBM, Alton LA. (2022) Exposure to an androgenic agricultural pollutant does not alter metabolic rate, behaviour, or morphology of tadpoles. Environmental Pollution. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.118870

Michelangeli M, Martin JM, Pinter-Wollman N, Ioannou- CC, McCallum ES, Bertram MG, Brodin T. Predicting the impacts of chemical pollutants on animal groups. (2022) Predicting the impacts of chemical pollutants on animal groups. Trends in Ecology & Evolution.  DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2022.05.009.

Martin JM, McCallum, ES. (2021) Incorporating animal social context in ecotoxicology: can a single individual tell the collective story? Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c04528

Martin JM, Bertram MG , Blanchfield PJ, Brand JA, Brodin T, Brooks BW, Cerveny D, Lagisz M, Ligocki IY, Michelangeli M, Nakagawa S, Orford JT Sundin J, Tan H, Wong BBM, McCallum ES (2021). Evidence of the impacts of pharmaceuticals on aquatic animal behaviour: a systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence. DOI: 10.1186/s13750-021-00241-z

Martin JM*, Mason RT*, Tan H, Brand JA, Bertram MG, Tingley R, Todd-Weckmann A, Wong BBM. (2021) Context is key: social environment mediates the impacts of an antidepressant pollutant on shoaling behaviour in fish. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c04084 *Joint first author 

Polverino G, Martin JM, Bertram MG, Soman VR, Tan H, Brand JA, Mason RT, Wong BBM. (2021). Psychoactive pollution suppresses individual differences in fish behaviour. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2020.2294

Martin JM, Bertram MB, Saaristo M, Fursdon JB, Hannington SL, Brooks BW, Burket SR, Mole RA, Deal NDS, Wong BBM. (2019) Antidepressants in the water: impacts of field-realistic fluoxetine exposure on sociability and anxiety-related behaviour of fish. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b00944