Martin Breed


2016 Early Career Recipient, College of Science and Engineering

Associate Professor Martin Breed is a scholar of restoration ecology, ecosystem health, and genomics at Flinders University. Some career highlights include working with the UN and WHO on the links between biodiversity and human health via the microbiome, serving as a patron for the IUCN Species Survival Commission, and teaching amazingly resilient and optimistic students during COVID-19. He runs a close-knit research group that develops solutions to pressing global issues. Examples of their work include working on optimising biodiverse urban green spaces to maximise human health and biodiversity; pioneering the use of genomics to improve ecosystem restoration; and harnessing the power of plant-microbe interactions to improve ecosystem outcomes under global change. He is a passionate university educator who aims to enable the next generation to turn around the global environmental tide from decline and degradation to repair and restoration.

He completed his PhD in Plant Molecular and Restoration Ecology at the University of Adelaide in 2013. He was awarded the Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence and also received the South Australian Science Excellence Award for PhD Research Excellence in Life and Environmental Sciences. He was awarded an Australian Research Council DECRA in 2014 to restoration genomics, which helped him receive a South Australian Young Tall Poppy Award in June 2015 in recognition of his outstanding research and communication skills.

As well as being a JCU graduate, Dr Breed has a very personal connection to the university. He met his fiancée (now wife) Maria while studying at JCU in 2005. Maria was at JCU on exchange from Uppsala University, Sweden. He went to Uppsala University in 2006 on exchange while studying his Bachelor of Applied Science. After receiving his Bachelor of Applied Science from JCU, he stayed in Uppsala to complete his MSc in Evolutionary Biology in 2008. They moved to Adelaide in 2009, where he completed his PhD and Maria worked for the South Australian Government. They returned to Uppsala in 2013 where Dr Breed undertook a postdoc and Maria a PhD. After returning to Adelaide in 2014, Dr Breed was awarded his ARC DECRA Fellowship. In 2019, he was appointed Lecturer in Biology at Flinders University where he has been since.

Dr Breed graduated from James Cook University with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Zoology/ Environmental Science) in 2006.

Updated April 2023