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Climate Change Institute

Jeff M. Martin

Ph.D. Student

Jeff M. Martin

Contact Information


Hello, my name is Jeff M. Martin, if you have (or haven't) noticed, I like to study dead things (both long-ago-dead and recently dead). I really only deal with animals, and mammals at that, but I do occasionally work with reptiles, amphibians, and select invertebrates. By training, I'm a vertebrate paleontologist, paleoecologist, and a bison rancher from Wisconsin. My favorite things that I do include macerating (de-fleshing) animals for osteological comparison, woodworking, working on cars, and driving around the country. Some say that I'm bit obsessed with bison, I retort that I'm enthusiastic; you be the judge. 

Research interests

I did my first 3 years of my B.S. in geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City,South Dakota where I was secretary and president of the SDSM&T Paleontology Club. While in South Dakota, I was offered many opportunities ranging from geology to bison ranching. I did all of them. I continued to work with bison for a few years with the 777 bison ranch in Fairburn, SD as a ranch hand and buffalero. However, I continued working other summer internships from the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota and volunteered at Ashfall Fossil Beds in Royal, Nebraska. I've attended multiple field camps in geology and paleontology in Oregon, Wyoming, and South Dakota. I then transferred to East Tennessee State University to work with Dr. Jim I. Mead, with his expertise in North American bovids of the Pleistocene and the Holocene. I finished my B.S. in geology at ETSU and continued to pursue my M.S. in geosciences. 

Between my B.S. and M.S., I interned for the Panama Canal Project PIRE project with the University of Florida as a field paleontologist and geologist. We collected fossil from the Miocene aged deposits along the canal and created geologic maps and stratigraphic charts. 

I finished working on my M.S. in geosciences in May,2014 from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City,Tennessee. My  thesis is concerned with using paleontological, archaeological, and historical records of bison around the Grand Canyon on the Colorado Plateau, analyzing if bison are native or non-native to the area.  The past was a naturally completed experiment that now facilitates understanding how species react and will react to abrupt climate changes. All of these data can then be combined into ArcGIS to model spatiotemporally (where and when) they occurred.

My goal is to understand how bison may adapt to future climate change variability and extremes. My academic training, with my ranching experience, has provided me with knowledge of bison biology and ecology and has prepared me to be an expert in bison research. Understanding bison’s pre-history is critical for sustainable management and conservation of the taxon. Consequently, my long-term goal is to make my results accessible to researchers, bison ranchers, conservationists, managers, and the broader public through outreach efforts, open access scientific articles, and presentations at scientific and industry meetings to ensure the preservation of these animals.


In Press

  • Martin, J. M. 2014. Late Pleistocene and Holocene Bison of Grand Canyon and Colorado Plateau: Implications from the use of Paleobiology for Natural Resource Management Policy. Master's Thesis, East Tennessee State University. Johnson City, Tennessee, USA.

    For more information: Read abstract


M.S. East Tennessee State University 2014

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