Martin Westgate

Research Fellow
Fenner School of Environment & Society
Australian National University

  About Me




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About me

I am a Research Fellow in ecology at the Australian National University, with a strong focus on software development and open science. I study how scientific information can be used to understand and mitigate human impacts on the environment, research for which I was awarded the ESA/Wiley Next Generation Ecologist Award in 2017.

You can navigate my published research using the figure below, by visiting the ‘publications’ page, or by scrolling down for a description of my key research foci.

Each point shows one peer-reviewed article that I have co-authored, grouped by themes using topic models. Points on that are close together contain similar text. Drawn in R using plotly, htmlwidgets & revtools.

Evidence synthesis

I have a particular interest in ways to conserve biodiversity, and to make science more accessible outside of academia. Evidence synthesis (ES) is the process of summarizing scientific information so that it can be used to solve real problems, but so much science is now being published - an estimated 2 million new articles a year - that summarizing it is a serious challenge. To help deal with this problem, I co-founded Evidence Synthesis Hackathon to develop new software tools for this important field.

I also build new software to locate, interpret and synthesize scientific information, using methods from natural language processing and machine learning. The resulting R package revtools is listed on CRAN, and is under active development.

Biodiversity Science

I use data from field studies of plants, birds and frogs to study how biodiversity is affected by disturbances such as fire, or by changes in habitat quality or availability. My PhD investigated the effects of fire on frogs in Booderee National Park (NSW, Australia).

Environmental Decision-making

I have collaborated on a number of paper that have sought ways to improve biodiversity monitoring and assessment, with the aim of making better recommendations for conservation and land management.