Martha Groom

Martha Groom, professor of conservation and environmental studies, 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, Conservation & Restoration Science, and Global Studies. My goals as an environmental educator are to help students learn how to evaluate information from multiple sources and perspectives on environmental issues, and develop strategies to work to improve environmental well-being in support of communities and other species.   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 485 Conservation Biology
BIS 300 Interdisciplinary inquiry
BIS 459 Conservation and Sustainable Development


My scholarship emphasizes conservation of biodiversity - both wild species and ecosystems, across agricultural and urban/urbanizing landscapes, as well as in more remote places.  I have studied pollination of wildflowers and crop plants, seeking to improve pollination success as landscapes change.  In collaboration with Jaime Collazo and a great group of graduate students, we 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.  These projects inform the development of sustainable conservation practices.

Most recently, I am working with many talented people in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, an intensive summer program in conservation and environmental justice based at the UW. I am also collaborating with leaders in the Center for Biodiversity Conservation to develop improvements in conservation education.

Selected Publications

Savilaakso, S., C. Garcia, J. Garcia-Ulloa, J. Ghazoul, M. Groom, M.R Guariguata, Y. Laumonier, R. Nasi, G. Petrokofsky, J. Snaddon and M. Zrust.  2014. Systematic review of effects on biodiversity from oil palm production.  Environmental Evidence 3:4. doi:10.1186/2047-2382-3-4.

Tewksbury, J.J., J.G.T. Anderson, J.D. Bakker, T.J. Billo, P.W. Dunwiddie,  M.J. Groom, S.E. Hampton, .G. Herman, D.J. Levey, N.J. Machniki, C. Martinez del Rio, M.E. Power, K. Rowell, A.K. Salomon, SL. Stacey, S.C. Trombulak, and T.A. Wheeler. 2014. Natural History’s Place in Science and Society. BioScience 64(4):300-310.  doi:10.1093/biosci/biu032.

Borkhataria, R., J.A. Collazo, and M.J. Groom.  2012.  Species abundance and potential biological control services in shade vs. sun coffee in Puerto Rico. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 151:1-5.

Borkhataria, R., J.A. Collazo, M.J. Groom, and A. Jordan-Garcia. 2012.  Shade-grown coffee in Puerto Rico: opportunities to preserve biodiversity while reinvigorating a struggling agricultural commodity. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 149:164–170.

Vynne, C., J. Keim, R.B. Machado, J. Marinho-Filho, L. Silveira, M.J. Groom, S.K.Wasser. 2011. Habitat Preferences of Wide-Ranging Mammals of the Brazilian Cerrado. PLoS One 6(17) e28939.

Combs, J.K., S.H. Reichard, M.J. Groom, D.L. Wilderman, and P.A. Camp. 2011. Invasive competitors and seed predators contribute to rarity of the narrow endemic Astragalus sinuatus Piper.  Ecological Applications 21(7):2498-2509.

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.