Martyn has been peering through microscopes since his early teens. After an environmental science degree at Westfield College (subsequently absorbed into Queen Mary University of London) he moved north to Durham, working with Brian Whitton on aquatic bryophytes for his PhD whilst also being introduced to the fascinating world of freshwater algae. After a short period working on Mediterranean palaeoecology he moved to the University of Jos in Nigeria where various protists showed as much interest in him as he did in them.
A two-year NRA Research Fellowship at the University of Durham resulted in the development of the Trophic Diatom Index (TDI), a metric for assessing the impact of nutrients on freshwater ecosystems. This led into a career as a freelance consultant, advising on the use of algae for assessing freshwaters, with a particular focus on European legislation. Over time, the TDI evolved into DARLEQ, a tool for assessing ecosystem health in relation to Water Framework Directive objectives. This led to Martyn’s work expanding into Europe, co-ordinating the drafting of CEN standards on the use of diatoms in ecological assessment and the European Commission’s intercalibration exercise for phytobenthos (ensuring that all Member States shared a common level of ambition for ecological status). More recently (and despite Brexit), he has worked with the European Commission (and fellow FBA Fellow Geoff Phillips) on guidance on developing nutrient criteria to protect good status across Europe.
Martyn balances consultancy with teaching and research, contributing to courses at the FBA and elsewhere, publishing regularly in peer-reviewed journals and co-editing Freshwater Benthic Diatoms of Central Europe (Koeltz Books). His writing also extends to a popular blog on the microscopic world, www.microscopesandmonsters.wordpress.com. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, a Chartered Ecologist and Honorary Professor at the School of Geography, University of Nottingham. He also has a degree in fine art and his paintings of the microscopic world have been shown in international exhibitions.