Faculty and Staff

Martha Groom

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Martha Groom, professor of ecology and conservation biology, discusses her research into ways to develop sustainable livelihoods for both human and wildlife populations.


Dual B.A. Biology & Public Policy, Princeton University
M.S. Zoology/Tropical Conservation & Development, University of Florida
Ph.D. Zoology, University of Washington

Office: UW1-130
Phone: 425-352-5410
Email: groom@uw.edu
Website: http://faculty.washington.edu/groom/
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


I teach courses primarily in the Environmental Studies, Global Studies and Environmental Science majors. My goals as an environmental educator are to help students learn how to evaluate information from multiple sources and perspectives on environmental issues, and place their choices in a regional and global context. To achieve this end, I seek to enhance students' critical thinking and communication skills, while fostering their understanding of the process of science and its integral concepts and methodologies. I use interactive-learning approaches to help connect students to course material, including group work and discussion to prepare students for lifelong collaborations in seeking understanding. I place particular emphasis on problem-solving and an understanding of both the limits and promising tools of our fields. Wherever possible, I try to connect students to work on current, local problems, including restoration efforts, conservation practice, and conservation policy concerns, but also to connect with broad issues that impact those in other countries. Where possible, my courses include a field component in which students observe and conduct experiments in local field sites, including our own restoration site on campus.

Recent Courses Taught

BES 312 Ecology
BES 485 Conservation Biology
BIS 300 Interdisciplinary inquiry
BIS 459 Conservation and Sustainable Development


In my scholarship I emphasize the careful application of ecological and evolutionary theory and empirical knowledge to conservation concerns.

To better understand the population and community effects of life in fragmented habitats I have conducted mechanistic investigations of the dynamics of an annual plant (Clarkia concinna concinna (Onagraceae)). My study has been richly rewarding. For example, I documented a marked threshold effect whereby sufficiently small and isolated patches of the plant do not receive effective pollination services, and suffer higher extinction rates than plants in large, well-connected patches.

In collaboration with Jaime Collazo and our graduate students, I investigated the influence of land use history on bird communities in Puerto Rico. More than 98% of the forest cover of Puerto Rico was removed in the last century, yet few bird species went extinct, perhaps because the birds used traditional coffee plantations. We found that shaded coffee plantations contain more bird species that enjoy higher breeding success than do areas with other agricultural practices. However, only plantations with large "resting" areas of secondary forest and a wide diversity of tree species are widely used by birds.

I also work on large, collaborative efforts to evaluate and enhance the value of scientific information in conservation policies.

Selected Publications

Miller, J.R., M.Groom, G.R. Hess, D.L. Stokes, T.A. Steelman, J.A. Thompson, T. Bowman, L. Fricke, B. King, R. Marquadt. 2009. Where is biodiversity in local conservation planning? Conservation Biology 23(1):53-63.

Groom, M.J., E.A. Gray, and P.A. Townsend. 2008. Biofuels and Biodiversity: Principles for promoting better biofuels policies. Conservation Biology 22(3):602-609.

Inman, F.M., T.R. Wentworth, M.J. Groom, C. Brownie, and R. Lea. 2007. Using artificial canopy gaps to restore avian habitat in tropical timber plantations. Forest Ecology and Management 243:169-177.

Groom, M.J. 2001. Consequences of subpopulation isolation for pollination, herbivory, and population growth in Clarkia concinna concinna (Onagraceae). Biological Conservation 100 (1): 55-63.

Groom, M.J., G.K. Meffe, and R.C. Carroll, and contributing authors. 2006. Principles of Conservation Biology, 3rd Edition. Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA. 793 pages.

Gold, W., K. Ewing, J. Banks, M. Groom, T. Hinckley, D. Secord, and D. Shebitz. 2006. Collaborative Ecological Restoration. Science 312:1880-1881.

Gleffe, J.D., J.A. Collazo, M.J. Groom, and L. Miranda-Castro. 2006. Avian reproduction and the conservation value of shaded coffee plantations. Neotropical Ornithology 17:271-282.

Borkhataria, R., J.A. Collazo and M.J. Groom. 2006. Additive effects of vertebrate predators on insects in a Puerto Rican coffee plantation. Ecological Applications 16 (2): 696-703.

Aragon, M.R. and M.J. Groom. 2003. Invasion by Ligustrum lucidum (Oleaceae) in NW Argentina: early stage characteristics and habitat types. Revista de Biologia Tropical 51: 59-70.

Groom, M.J. 2001. Consequences of subpopulation isolation for pollination, herbivory, and population growth in Clarkia concinna concinna (Onagraceae). Biological Conservation 100 (1): 55-63.

Groom, M.J. 1998. Allee effects limit population viability of an annual plant. American Naturalist 151:487-496.

Ruesink, J.L., I.M. Parker, M.J. Groom, and P. Kareiva. 1995. Reducing the risks of non-indigenous species introductions: guilty until proven innocent. BioScience 45:465-477.

Groom, M.J. 1992. Sand-colored nighthawks parasitize the anti-predator behavior of three bird species. Ecology 73: 785-793.