Adam C. Martiny

3208 Croul Hall University of California Irvine Irvine, CA 92697 (949) 824-9713 (949) 824-1458
Professor of Earth System Science
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Ph.D., M.Sc., Technical University of Denmark

B.Sc., Technical University of Denmark

Biography and Research: 

Professor Martiny studies how microorganisms respond and genetically adapt to changes in their environment. This work is not only central to identifying present day global cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus but also for identifying and predicting the future impact of climate change on Earth as a system. Mainly, his research focuses on marine bacteria but he is also interested in establishing general ecological and evolutionary theories that apply broadly to microorganisms. One of Dr. Martiny’s main research findings is challenging a long-held assumption on the chemical composition of ocean biota and how ocean chemistry is controlled. His work calls into question the textbook ratio of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous contained in all plankton - the so-called “Redfield ratio,” named for oceanographer Alfred Redfield. The findings will prompt a revision of how oceans are affected by future changes in climate, as his work shows that the astonishing diversity of marine plankton may be able to take up more carbon dioxide than previously thought. 

Recently, Dr. Martiny was appointed director of UCI OCEANS, a new initiative for ocean research and community partnerships in Orange County. UCI OCEANS will offer a fresh take on ocean research and education by embracing a vision and approach that spans natural sciences, engineering, social science, arts, education, law, and governance and is thus distinct from other marine research institutions. With the unique collection of interdisciplinary research approaches and strong community support, UCI OCEANS is poised to become the flagship organization for urban ocean studies, while simultaneously contributing to high impact global-scale ocean research. 

Professor Martiny was born and raised in Denmark. He received his Ph.D. from the Technical University of Denmark where he studied bacteria in drinking water supply systems. As a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, he gained an interest in one of the most abundant photosynthetic bacteria on Earth – Prochlorococcus. He came to UCI in 2006. When he is not on research cruises to the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, he enjoys coaching soccer or spending time with family and friends.Group Website

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