Martin Breed

Dr Martin Breed

Beacon Fellow

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Genomics, conservation, and restoration of degraded and urban land

*see Teaching tab for postdoc, PhD and honours opportunities*

Martin is a Vice Chancellor's Beacon Fellow in the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

Dr Breed leads the Frontiers of Restoration Ecology group (, which aims to better understand restoration science by tackling emerging and pressing issues of how people repair, manage, use and interact with their environment, for the betterment of people and nature.

He also co-leads the Healthy Urban Microbiome Initiative - HUMI (, which seeks to understand and recreate the immune-boosting power of high quality, biodiverse green spaces in our cities to maximise population health benefits, bring significant savings to health budgets, while delivering gains for biodiversity. At the recent UN Biodiversity Conference (COP14; November 2018), Martin signed an MOU with the Secretariat of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) agreeing HUMI to work in partnership with the CBD on the linkages between biodiversity and health, via the microbiome pathway. Such high level and impactful research is characteristic of Martin’s leadership.

Dr Breed is a scholar of restoration ecology and genomics. He pioneers the integration of genomics into restoration ecology and has redefined the study of gene flow and mating systems of plants in fragmented landscapes. This has led to the global revision of seed sourcing strategies for restoration under global change. A research collaboration he leads has identified that biodiversity associates with positive human health outcomes and that a mechanism for these benefits can be restored even in urban areas. His research on mixing local seeds with those from a warmer or dryer environment shows improved restoration outcomes under a changing climate. This research has influenced the guidelines by which seeds for restoration projects are collected and the way restoration work is conducted at local, national and international levels.

His research achievements include the award of two research fellowships (one from the Australian Research Council 2014-2017; one from the University of Adelaide 2018-current), a Young Tall Poppy Award from the Australian Institute of Policy & Science (2015), and the South Australian Science Excellence Award for PhD Research Excellence (2013).

Active projects in the Frontiers of Restoration Ecology group and the Healthy Urban Microbiome Initiative (HUMI) include:

I am always open to discuss opportunities for research collaborations (incl. postdocs), plus PhD and Honours projects. Please contact me to discuss ideas and funding options, and check out the details above

Category 1 and Major Research Grants

Kendrick G, Breed MF, Krauss S, Stephen J (2018-2020). Seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events. ARC Discovery DP180100668 ($525k)

Breed MF (2015-2018). Understanding adaptation of plants along environmental clines. ARC DECRA DE150100542 ($355k)

Lowe AJ, Breed MF, Byrne M, Lascoux M, Stephen J, Vendramin GG (2015-2018). Understanding adaptation to improve conservation of Australian flora. ARC Discovery DP150103414 ($373k)


Other Research Grants

Breed MF (2017-2020). Optimizing today’s restoration for tomorrow’s challenges. University of Adelaide Beacon Fellowship (ca. $330k, includes 3 years full salary plus research support)

Breed MF (2016-2017). Adaptive potential in Dodonaea viscosa as a model for plant climate change adaptation. Thomas Davies Research Fund ($10k)

Breed MF, Lowe AJ (2015-2016). Metabarcoding to demonstrate re-gain of soil function after ecological restoration. BioPlatforms Australia (ca. $50k)


Contract research

2019 Rangewide Acacia Whibleyana conservation genomics. SA DEW. (~$15k)

2018-2019 Acacia Whibleyana management plan. SA DEW. ($40k)

2017-2018 Securing silver daisy bush. Trees For Life. ($20k)

2018-2019 Acacia Whibleyana Conservation Genetics Project. SA DEW. ($20k)

2017-2019 Maireana sedifolia rehabilitation efficiency and success. Iluka Resources Ltd. ($106k)

2016-2017 Rehabilitation of soil function. Iluka Resources Ltd. ($17k)

2016-2017 Maireana sedifolia seed collection and production. Iluka Resources Ltd. ($65k)


I am always open to discuss opportunities for research collaborations (incl. postdocs), plus PhD and Honours projects – contact me!

Postdocs: The Australian Research Council funds salary and project costs for basic and applied research for excellent applicants up to 5 years post-PhD ( There are also competitive domestic (e.g. UofA Beacon Fellowships, UofA Ramsay Fellowships) and several international postdoc schemes.

PhDs: A 3-year research program on exciting, novel and often interdisciplinary projects. I place strong emphasis on student training and mentoring, including how to design and undertake excellent research, how to publish in international journals, how to communicate your work to a broad audience, and how to submit competitive grant applications. International and domestic candidates can receive scholarships for living expenses and pay no tuition fees (more info: Intake is twice per year. Get in touch with me if you’re interested!

Honours degree: Similar to a PhD, but just a year ( Intake is twice per year. See here for some example honours projects with me


Teaching experience

Having only held research-only fellowships and research grant funded postdoc positions, I have had little opportunity to be involved with undergraduate teaching. Accordingly, my career focus has been on research. However, despite this research focus, I have still been the supervisor of 17 undergraduate research students at the University of Adelaide since 2014 (6-10 week projects). These students have largely been summer research scholarship students or BSc Advanced Practice and Principles of Research III interns.

Further to these undergraduate research students, I have had ad hoc undergraduate teaching responsibilities at the University of Adelaide. I led the conservation genetics tutorial for Conservation and Restoration Level III in 2014 (ENV BIOL 3008), tutored this same practical in 2016, have been an examiner of Honours Research Hypothesis and Experimental Proposal in 2016 and 2017 (SCIENCE 4100A/B), and a tutor of BSc Advanced Principles and Practice in Research II and III in 2014, 2015 and 2016 (SCIENCE 3100, SCIENCE 2300). At Uppsala University, Sweden, I was tutor of the Evolutionary Processes postgraduate course in 2013. 

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 Principal Supervisor Pollination and Ecosystem Services Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Dona Kireta
    2018 Principal Supervisor Rewilding urban greenspace microbiomes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jacob Geoffrey Mills
    2018 Co-Supervisor The influence of the gastrointestinal microbiome on the development and severity of ulcerative colitis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Karmen Diane Telfer
    2017 Co-Supervisor Looking for Microbiotic Treatment for Crohn's Disease in the Natural Environment Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Harrison Radclife Sydnor
    2017 Principal Supervisor Studies of Adaptation to Inform Seed Selection for Restoration Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Colette Blyth
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2014 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Best Practice Restoration: Building The Evidence-Base for Restoring Eucalypt Woodlands of Southern Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Nick Gellie
    2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Clumped planting arrangements can improve the ecological function of revegetated eucalypt woodlands Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Kimberly Peta McCallum
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - ongoing External Supervisor Seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events University of Western Australia Doctorate Full Time Mitchell William Booth
    2018 - ongoing External Supervisor Seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events University of Western Australia Doctorate Full Time Ioannis Savva
    2016 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Developing operational indicators of ecological restoration success University of Adelaide Postdoctorate Dongfeng Yan
    2016 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Next-generation urban green space restoration University of Adelaide Honours Jacob Mills
    2015 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Chemical signatures of adaptation in Dodonaea viscosa University of Adelaide Honours Ellyse Bunney
    2015 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Population genetic structure of 3 Goodenia species in South Australia University of Adelaide Honours Dona Kireta
  • Position: Beacon Fellow
  • Phone: 83131706
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: The Braggs, floor 2
  • Room: 2 43
  • Org Unit: School of Biological Sciences

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