Professor Graeme Martin
Agriculture and Environment, School of
- Contact details
- School of Agriculture and Environment
The University of Western Australia (M085)
35 Stirling Highway
CRAWLEY WA 6009
- +61 8 6488 6781
- +61 8 6488 1029
- Personal homepage
- BSc(Agric) PhD W.Aust.
- I was born in 1951 and grew up on sheep/cereal farm in Western Australia (WA). I graduated in Agricultural Science (Hons I) at the University of WA in 1975 and gained my doctorate in reproductive endocrinology in 1981. I then worked for two years at the INRA Station de Physiologie de la Reproduction at Nouzilly (France) and for three years at the Medical Research Council’s Reproductive Biology Unit in Edinburgh (UK). In 1986, I returned to Perth (WA) to take up a joint position as Lecturer in Animal Science (The University of WA) and Research Scientist (CSIRO Division of Animal Production). I became full-time at the University in 1996 and, by 2001, I was promoted to Professor (Chair).
- Key research
- 1) Processes through which environmental factors affect reproduction – Our aim is to understand how interactions between an animal and its environment (nutrition, pheromones, photoperiod, stressors) determine its reproductive strategy, then make use of that knowledge to develop 'clean, green and ethical' systems of animal management'
- 2) Reproductive biology and technology in ratites (emu, ostrich) – Animal production depends on genetic selection, but the basic biology of ratites (pair-bonding, male egg incubation, seasonal breeding) is a major limitation. We are studying reproductive physiology and behaviour and developing artificial insemination.
- I have published more than 290 refereed articles, including 59 in the past 5 years. This is a selection from the past few years:
Eisler, M.C., Lee, M.R.F., Tarlton, J.F., Martin, G.B. et al. (2014). Steps to sustainable livestock. Nature (London) 507, 32-34.
Martin, G.B. (2014). An Australasian perspective on the role of reproductive technologies in world food production. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 752, 181-197.
Martin, G.B. & Ferasyi, T.R. (2016). Clean, green, ethical (CGE) management: what research do we really need? Journal of Tropical Veterinary and Biomedical Research 1, 1-9.
Rosales Nieto, C.A., Ferguson, M.B., Macleay, C.A., Briegel, J.R., Hedger, M.P., Thompson, A.N. & Martin, G.B. (2014). Relationships among body composition, circulating concentrations of leptin and follistatin, and the onset of puberty and fertility in young female sheep. Animal Reproduction Science 151, 148-156.
Blache, D., Vercoe, P.E., Martin, G.B. & Revell, D.K. (2017). Chapter 28: Integrated and innovative livestock production in dryland. In: Innovations in Dryland Agriculture (Eds.: M. Farooq and K.H.M. Siddique) pp. 211-235 [Springer Science+Media].
Flacke, G.L, Chambers, B.K., Martin, G.B. & Paris, M.C. (2015). The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis, Morton 1849): bringing to light research priorities for the largely forgotten, smaller hippo species. Der Zoologische Garten N.F. 84, 234-265.
Samadi, F., Blache, D., Martin, G.B. & D’Occhio, M.J. (2014). Nutrition, metabolic profiles and puberty in Brahman (Bos indicus) beef heifers. Animal Reproduction Science 146, 134-142.
Pedrana, G., Viotti, H., Lombide, P., Sanguinetti, G., Pino, C., Cavestany, D., Sloboda, D. & Martin, G.B. (2016). In utero betamethasone affects 3ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and inhibin-α immunoexpression during testis development. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, online (doi: 10.1017/S2040174416000118).
Guan, Y., Liang, G., Hawken, P.A.R., Malecki, I.A., Vercoe, P.E., Guan, L. & Martin, G.B. (2015). Small RNAs regulate apoptosis and spermatogenesis in sheep testis. Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) 5, 10372.
Delgadillo, J.A. & Martin G.B. (2015). Invited review: Alternative methods for control of reproduction in small ruminants – a focus on the needs of grazing animal industries. Animal Frontiers 5, 57-65.
Obese F.Y., Martin G.B., Blackberry, M.A., Ayim-Akonnor, M. & Gomda, Y. (2014). Upgrading local cattle in tropical West Africa: metabolic hormone concentrations during the post-partum period in Sanga and Friesian x Sanga crossbred cows. Livestock Science 171, 84-92.
Qiu, X.Y., Ledger, J., Zheng, C., Martin, G.B. & Blache, D. (2016). Associations between temperament and gene polymorphisms in the brain dopaminergic system and the adrenal gland of sheep. Physiology & Behavior 153, 19-27.
Van der Weyde, L.K., Martin, G.B. & Paris, M.C.J. (2016). Monitoring stress in captive and free-ranging African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) using faecal glucocorticoid metabolites. General and Comparative Endocrinology 226, 50-55.
Banchero, G., Milton, J.T.B., Lindsay, D.R., Martin, G.B. & Quintans, G. (2015). Colostrum production in ewes: a review of the regualation mechanisms and of energy supply. Animal 9, 831-837.
Rietema, S.E., Blackberry, M.A., Maloney, S.K., Martin, G.B., Hawken, P.A.R. & Blache, D. (2015). Twenty four-hour profiles of metabolic and stress hormones in sheep selected for a calm or nervous temperament. Domestic Animal Endocrinology 53, 78-87.
Banchero, G., Milton, J.T.B., Lindsay, D.R., Martin, G.B. & Quintans, G. (2015). Colostrum production in ewes: a review of the regulation mechanisms and of energy supply. Animal 9, 831-837.
Guan, Y., Liang, G., Martin, G.B. & Guan, L. (2017). Functional changes in mRNA expression and alternative pre-mRNA splicing associated with the effects of nutrition on apoptosis and spermatogenesis in the adult testis. BMC Genomics 18:64.
- Roles, responsibilities and expertise
- Professor (Chair) of Livestock Science
UWA Institute of Agriculture – Deputy Program Leader, Animal Production Systems
Chair, UWA Future Farm 2050
- Future research
- UWA Future Farm 2050
Imagine the ideal farming system for 2050, but do it now!
And show that it can be profitable to mix crop production, animal production and ecosystem restoration.
Why 2050? We will need to feed 50% more people without destroying the planet.
- Funding received
- All of my work has been funded by competitive research grants (mostly Australian Research Council, National Health & Medical Research Council, Rural Research & Development Corporation) and Meat & Livestock Australia. I have trained 28 PhD students to completion. Excluding student scholarships, external grants total over Au$4 million.
- Industrial relevance
- Our team studies the brain control of reproduction, with a particular focus on how environmental factors influence the reproductive system. We work mostly with sheep, but we also study reproduction in goats, emus, marsupials and African animals. Over the past 10 years, we have used our knowledge to pioneer the concept of “clean, green and ethical" management of farm animals. The ultimate embodiment of this vision is "UWA Future Farm 2050":
- English (Mother tongue), French (fluent), some Spanish
- Society for Reproductive Biology (Australia)
Endocrine Society of Australia
Endocrine Society (UK)
Society for Reproduction and Fertility (UK)
Australian Society for Animal Production
Austral Comparative Endocrinologists
- Honours and awards
- 1982: Overseas Study Award, Australian Meat Research Committee
1991: RJ Moir Medal, Australian Society for Animal Production
1992: 75th Anniversary Award, The University of WA
2009: Landcorp Lecture, New Zealand Society of Animal Production
2010: Listed in The Inaugural Australian Sheep and Lamb Industry Roll of Honour
2016: Sex in 3 Cities – Invited public lectures (Edinburgh, Nottingham, London). Society for Reproduction & Fertility)
- Previous positions
Tutor, Department of Animal Science & Production, Faculty of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia.
Technician (Australian Meat Research Committee)
Department of Animal Science & Production, Faculty of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia.
Research Fellow (Australian Meat Research Committee)
Station de Physiologie de la Reproduction, Institut Nationale de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
Reproductive Biology Unit, Medical Research Council, Edinburgh, UK.
Lecturer, School of Agriculture (Animal Science), The University of Western Australia;
Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Animal Production, Floreat Park, Western Australia.
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Agriculture (Animal Science), The University of Western Australia;
Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Animal Production, Floreat Park, Western Australia.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Agriculture (Animal Science), The University of Western Australia
Professor (now Winthrop Professor), Faculty of Sciences (School of Animal Biology), The University of Western Australia
Dean of the Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences
Deputy Chair, Academic Board and Academic Council of the University
Dean, Postgraduate Research School, of the University
Chair, Academic Board and Academic Council of the University
Head, School of Animal Biology
- 1) AGRI4403/5503 Animal Science and Technology
This unit gives students an understanding of the systems that control physiological processes in animals, and the ways these processes can be modified with modern science and technology to implement 'clean, green and ethical' management. The following subjects are covered: the physiology and endocrinology of reproduction and lactation; environmental limitations to animal productivity; neural and endocrine integration; regulation of physiological systems; and the impact of reproduction on milk and wool production. Two optional modules are chosen from a list that includes Animal Health and Disease; Breeding Objectives; Dairy Science and Technology; Management of Animals in the Rangelands; New Animal Industries; Computer-simulated Pig Production; Nutrient Requirements and Ration Formulation; Impact of Animal Industries on the Environment; Aquaculture; Animal Fibre Production.
2) ANIM3306 – Clean, Green and Ethical Animal Production
Today’s consumer is increasingly concerned about the processes involved in producing the meat they eat, milk they drink and wool they wear. This heightened sensitivity has led to greater scrutiny of animal production systems and, whether right or wrong, the scrutiny is only likely to increase. In this unit, students learn about a new approach to agriculture through the development of animal production systems that are ‘clean, green and ethical’ (CGE). Specifically, we aim to minimise the use of chemicals and artificial hormones (clean), negative impact on the environment (green) and optimise animal welfare (ethical). We discuss the current landscape of animal production systems in Western Australia in this context and highlight the prospects and pitfalls facing the meat, milk and wool industries.
3) SCOM2208 Science Writing
In this unit, students improve their ability to communicate effectively through their writing via a variety of media. They look at science writing in print media, online, in fact sheets and books. They develop skills at sharing scientific information with non-specialists. Students interview a UWA researcher and write a news article about their work, a feature article about a scientific topic, maintain a blog, and reflect on their learning. Strong writing skills are a great asset for future academic or commercial success.
- Current external positions
International Congress on Animal Reproduction (ICAR)
Member, International Standing Committee,
Member, Sub-Committee for Technology Transfer to Developing Economies
International Symposium on Ruminant Physiology (ISRP)
Member, International Scientific Committee,
Member, Local Scientific Committee for 2014 Meeting (Canberra)
International Organizing Committee, Ruminant Reproduction Symposium
- Useful links
- New and noteworthy
- Perhaps my most important discoveries include:
• Rapid (minutes) increase in LH pulse frequency in ewes induced by introduction of rams;
• Synergistic interactions between oestrogen and progesterone in the reduction of LH pulse frequency in females;
• Synergistic interactions between oestrogen and inhibin in reduction of FSH secretion in females;
• Rapid (within hours) increase in the secretion of GnRH pulses in mature rams following an increase in food supply;
• Existence of mechanisms that control testicular function that are independent of the GnRH-gonadotrophin axis;
• Discovery that intracerebral insulin plays an key role in the control of reproductive activity;
• Demonstration that aromatisation of androgen to oestrogen in brain tissue plays an important role in gonadal feedback on cerebral GnRH output in males;
• Demonstration that brain orexin-A plays an important role in the control of GnRH activity;
• Demonstration of photoperiodic mechanisms that underpin seasonal changes in reproductive physiology and behaviour, appetite, feeding behaviour, and fat deposition in emus
• Demonstration of spontaneous cell proliferation in the brain of adult female sheep, and that the rate of cell proliferation is doubled within a few hours of male introduction.
- Current projects
- • Molecular genetics of temperament in sheep
• Nutrition-induced changes in molecular and cellular function of the ram testis
• ‘Maternal efficiency’ as a factor in the environmental footprint of the sheep industry.
• Whole-farm bio-economic modeling of intensive sheep breeding
• Contribution of seminal plasma to sperm survival in avian semen conservation protocols
• Characterisation of socio-sexual interactions that affect reproduction in sheep: male novelty, sexual segregation and neural pathways
• Nutritional management of reproduction in female goats
- Research profile
Research profile and publications