Dr. Neo Martinez is an Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and The University of Arizona and Director and Founder of the Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab in Berkeley. He is also an Affiliated Researcher of the Energy and Resources group at the University of California Berkeley. Neo received a Masters degree in Oceanography and Limnology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his Masters and PhD degrees in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. Afterward, he accepted a National Science Foundation and Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship working as Principal Investigator at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab. He was also a faculty member at San Francisco State University before joining the faculty at The University of Arizona. Neo is here with us today to tell us about his journey through life and science.
Neo’s lab investigates the structure and function of complex networks, especially ecological networks involving feeding relationships, population dynamics, evolution and interactions with humans. He is a broadly trained interdisciplinary ecologist who employs empirically and theoretically oriented computational tools including simulations, visualizations, informatics, and games to elucidate the complex interdependencies of all life on earth. The lab pursues questions such as 1) What is the balance of life and how do ecological stability and human interaction affect that balance? 2) How do mutualism, competition, feeding interactions, population dynamics and speciation interact within complex ecological networks? and 3) How can we improve human understanding and interactions with nature in order to become more ecologically and socially sustainable? Neo’s research emphasizes aquatic systems including lakes, rivers, oceans and coral reefs and focuses on the most empirically well-described systems in the world from Lake Constance in Europe to the Moorean Coral Reefs in Tahiti. He also studies terrestrial systems from the Montane meadows of the Rocky Mountains to the grasslands of the Serengeti.