Emilia Martins

School of Life Sciences
372 Life Sciences Building A
Arizona State University
Professor; Associate Director, Graduate Programs
TEMPE Campus


Professor Martins studies behavioral evolution by mapping the ancient history of lizard communication in the southwestern U.S. and by studying how sensory systems impact social behavior in the biomedically-important zebrafish. More generally, her research program asks about the evolution of complex behavioral phenotypes, and how evolutionary forces have interacted over long periods of time to shape phenotypic change.

Her lab pioneered the use of phylogenetic comparative methods to infer the evolutionary mechanisms underlying phenotypic evolution, and has also contributed substantively to our understanding of how different sensory systems intertwine to produce and to perceive animal communicative signals. Most recently, the Martins lab has focused on two projects: (1) multimodal communication in North American Sceloporus lizards, and (2) phenotypic plasticity and social behavior of wild zebrafish from India. In addition to lab experiments and international fieldwork, both projects involve developing new statistics, software, and data-archiving tools.  

Martins joined ASU in 2017 after serving as a rotating Program Director at the National Science Foundation, Professor of Biology at Indiana University, and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Oregon. Over the years, she has also held administrative positions including Associate Dean (twice), Director of an interdepartmental Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, and Director of several graduate and undergraduate student training programs.  Martins is a Fellow and Past-President of the Animal Behavior Society and has served as editor of Evolution, Systematic Biology, American Naturalist, and other journals. She is especially passionate about diversity, intersectionality and inclusion.   


PhD Zoology. University of Wisconsin, Madison. 1992

MS Biometry. University of Wisconsin, Madison. 1991

BA Zoology & Psychology. University of California, Berkeley. 1987


  • Zúñiga-Vega JJ, Fuentes-G. JA, Zamora-Abrego G, Garcia-Vazquez UO, Nieto-Montes de Oca A, Martins EP. 2017. Evolutionary patterns in life-history traits of lizards of the genus Xenosaurus. Herpetological Journal 27: 346-360. 
  • Campos SM, Straus C, Martins EP. 2017. In space and time: Territorial animals are attracted to conspecific chemical cues. Ethology 123: 136-144. (doi:10.1111/eth.12582)
  • Shelton DS, Martins EP. 2017. Behavioral variation, adaptation and evolution. In APA Handbook of Comparative Psychology. Eds: Call J, Burghardt G, Pepperberg I, Snowdon C, Zentall T.
  • Fuentes-G. JA, Housworth EA, Weber A, Martins EP. 2016. Phylogenetic ANCOVA: Estimating phenotypic diversification and evolutionary relationships in comparative studies. Am Nat 188:615-627. (doi:10.1086/688917)
  • Ossip-Drahos AG, Oyola Morales JR, Vital Garcia C, Zúñiga-Vega JJ, Hews DK, Martins EP. 2016. Shaping communicative color signals over evolutionary time. Royal Society Open Science 3:160728. (doi:10.1098/rsos.160728)
  • Pruett JA, Zúñiga-Vega JJ, Campos SM, Soini HA, Novotny MV, Vital Garcia C, Martins EP, Hews DK. 2016. Evolutionary interactions between visual and chemical signals: Chemosignals compensate for the loss of a visual signal in male Sceloporus lizards. J Chem Ecol 42:1164-1174. (doi: 10.1007/s10886-016-0778-8)
  • Zúñiga-Vega JJ, Fuentes-G JA, Ossip-Drahos AG, Martins EP. 2016. Repeated evolution of viviparity in phrynosomatid lizards constrained interspecific diversification in some life-history traits. Biology Letters 12:20160653. (doi:10.1098/rsbl.2016.0653)
  • Suriyampola PS, Sykes DJ, Shelton DS, Khemka A, Martins EP. 2016. Water flow impacts group behavior in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Behavioral Ecology 28: 94-100. (doi:10.1093/beheco/arw138).
  • Lawing AM, Polly PD, Hews DK, Martins EP. 2016. Including fossils in phylogenetic climate reconstructions: A deep time perspective on the climatic niche evolution and diversification of Spiny Lizards (Sceloporus). Am Nat, 188:133-148. (doi:10.1086/687202)
  • Suriyampola PS, Shelton DS, Shukla R, Roy T, Bhat A, Martins EP. 2016. Zebrafish social behavior in the wild. Zebrafish 13:1-8. (doi:10.1089/zeb.2015.1159)
  • Santhanam R, Luu VT, Weinhold A, Goldberg J, Oh Y, Baldwin IT. 2015. Native root-associated bacteria rescue a plant from a sudden-wilt disease that emerged during continuous cropping. PNAS 112:. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1505765112)
  • Olivera-Tlahuel C, Ossip-Klein AG, Espinosa-Perez H, Zuniga-Vega JJ. 2015. Have superfetation and matrotrophy facilitated the evolution of larger offspring in poeciliid fishes? Biol J Linn Soc 116 4:787-804 (doi:10.1111/bij.12662)
  • Bhat AM, Greulich MM, Martins, EP. 2015. Behavioral plasticity in response to environmental manipulation among zebrafish (Danio rerio) populations. PLOS One 10(4):e0125097. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125097)
  • Taborsky M, Hofmann HA, Beery AK, Blumstein DT, Hayes LD, Lacey EA, Martins EP, Phelps SM, Solomon NG, Rubenstein DR. 2015. Taxon matters: promoting integrative studies of social behavior. TINS 38:189-191. (doi:10.1016/j.tins.2015.01.004)
  • Martins EP, Ossip-Klein AG, Zúñiga-Vega JJ, Vital Garcia C, Campos SM, Hews DK. 2015. Evolving from static to dynamic signals: evolutionary compensation between two communicative signals. Animal Behaviour 102:223-229. (doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.01.028)
  • Gibson, AK, Fuentes JA. 2015. A phylogenetic test of the Red Queen Hypothesis: outcrossing and parasitism in the Nematode phyloum. Evolution 69:530-540. (doi:10.1111/evo.12565)
  • Shelton DS, Price BC, Ocasio KM, Martins EP. 2015. Density and group size influence shoal cohesion, but not coordination in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Journal Comparative Psychology, 129:72-77. (manuscript) (doi:10.1037/a0038382)
  • Martins EP, Bhat A. 2014. Population-level personalities in zebrafish: aggression-boldness across but not within populations. Behavioral Ecology 25:368-373 (doi:10.1093/beheco/aru007).
  • Hews DK, Martins EP. 2013. Visual and chemical signals of social communication: Providing the link to habitat and environment. In: Reptiles in Research: Investigations of Ecology, Physiology and Behavior from Desert to Sea. WL Lutterschmidt, ed. Nova Publishers, Hauppauge NY. (pdf and book)
  • Ossip-Klein AG, Fuentes JA, Hews DK, Martins EP. 2013. Information content is more important than sensory system in guiding the long-term evolutionary relationships between signaling modalities in Sceloporus lizards. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67:1513-1522. doi:10.1007/s00265-013-1535-4
  • Vital C, Martins EP. 2013. Socially-central zebrafish influence group behavior more than those on the social periphery. PLOS One 8:355503. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055503
  • Nava S, Morena L, Wang D. 2012. Receiver sex differences in visual response to dynamic motion signals in lizards. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66:1357-1362. doi:10.1007/s00265-012-1392-6
  • Whiteley AR, Bhat A, Martins EP, Mayden RL, Arunachalam M, Uusi-Heikkila S, Ahmed ATA, Shrestha J, Clark M, Stemple D, Bernatchez L. 2011. Population genomics of wild and laboratory zebrafish (Danio rerio). Molecular Ecology 20:4269-4276. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X/2011.05272.x
  • Ruiz, M, Wang D, Reinke EA, Demas GE, Martins EP. 2011. Trade-offs between reproductive coloration and innate immunity in a natural population of female Sagebrush lizards. Herpetological Journal 21:131-134. 
  • Vital C, Martins EP. 2011. Strain differences in zebrafish social roles and their impact on group task performance. Journal Comparative Psychology 125:278-285. doi:10.1037/a0023906
  • Ruiz M, French SS, Demas GE, Martins EP. 2010. Food supplementation and testosterone interact to influence reproductive behavior and immune function in Sceloporus graciosus. Hormones and Behavior 57:134-139. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.09.019
  • Ruiz M, Beals ZM, Martins EP. 2010. Male sagebrush lizards (Sceloporus graciosus) increase exploratory behavior towards females with more courtship experience. Herpetologica 66:142-147. doi:10.1655/09-022R2.1
  • Nava S, Conway M, Martins EP. 2009. Sex-specific visual performance: female lizards outperform males motion detection. Biology Letters 5: 732-734. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0348
  • Ord, T.J. and E.P. Martins. 2009. Evolution of behavior: phylogeny and the origin of present-day diversity. In: Evolutionary Behavioral Ecology, ed by D.F. Westneat and C.W. Fox.
  • Nava, S.S., M. Conway and E.P. Martins. 2009. Divergence of visual motion detection in diurnal geckos that inhabit bright and dark habitats. Functional Ecology 23: 794-799. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01565.x
  • Vital, C. and E.P. Martins. 2009. Using graph theory metrics to infer information flow through animal social groups: a computer simulation analysis. Ethology 115:347-355. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.2009.01613.x
  • Ruiz, M., E. Davis and E.P. Martins. 2008. Courtship attention in Sagebrush lizards varies with male identity and female reproductive state. Behavioral Ecology 19: 1326-1332. doi:10.1093/beheco/arn072
  • Thompson, J.T., Bissell, A.N. and E.P. Martins. 2008. Inhibitory interactions between multimodal behavioral responses may influence the evolution of complex signals. Animal Behaviour, 76: 113-121.doi.10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.12.015).
  • Kelso, E.C. and E.P. Martins. 2008. The effects of two courtship display components on female reproductive behaviour and physiology in the sagebrush lizard. Animal Behaviour 75: 639-646. (doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.07.017)
  • Moretz, J.A., E.P. Martins, and B. D. Robison. 2007. The effects of early and adult social environment on zebrafish (Danio rerio) behavior. Environmental Biology of Fishes 80:91-101 (doi:10.1007/s10641-006-9122-4)
  • Moretz, J.A., E.P. Martins, and B. D. Robison. 2007. Behavioral syndromes and the evolution of correlated behavior in zebrafish. Behavioral Ecology 18:556-562 (doi:10.1093/beheco/arm011).
  • Smith, C.B. and E.P. Martins. 2006. Display plasticity in response to a robotic lizard: Signal matching or song-sharing in lizards? Ethology 112: 955-962 (doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.2006.01253.x)
  • Bissell, A.N. and E.P. Martins. 2006. Male choice and female avoidance as mechanisms of population discrimination in Sagebrush lizards. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 60: 655-662 (doi:10.1007/s00265-006-0209-x.)
  • Ord, T.J. and E.P. Martins. 2006. Tracing the origins of signal diversity in anole lizards: phylogenetic approaches to inferring the evolution of complex behaviour. Animal Behaviour, 71:1411-1429 (doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.12.003.)
  • Martins, E.P., T.J. Ord, J. Slaven, J.L. Wright, and E.A. Housworth. 2006. Individual, sex, seasonal and temporal variation in the amount of Sagebrush lizard scent-marks. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 32: 881-893. (doi:10.1007/s10886-006-9029-8.)
  • Martins, E.P., T. J. Ord, and S.W. Davenport. 2005. Combining motions into complex displays: playbacks with a robotic lizard. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 58: 351-360. (doi:10.1007/s00265-005-0954-2.)
  • Ord, T. J., E. P. Martins, S. Thakur, K. K. Mane, K. Borner. 2005. Trends in animal behaviour research (1968-2002): ethoinformatics and mining library databases. Animal Behaviour 69: 1399-1413. (doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2004.08.020.)
  • Ord, T. J. and E. P. Martins. 2004. Behavioral Phylogeny. IN: Encyclopedia of animal behavior. M. Bekoff, ed. Greenwood Publishing Group. (pdf)
  • Martins, E. P. 2004. EthoSource: storing, sharing and combining behavioral data. BioScience 54:886-887. (BioOne.)
  • Martins, E.P., A. Labra, M.P. Halloy and J.T. Thompson. 2004. Large-scale patterns of signal evolution: An interspecific study of Liolaemus lizard headbob displays. Animal Behaviour, 68: 453-463. (doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.08.026.)
  • Thakur, S. K. Mane, K. Borner, E.P. Martins and T. J. Ord. 2004. Content coverage of animal behavior data. In Visualization and Data Analysis, San Jose, CA SPIE-IS&T 5295: 305-311. (pdf)
  • Bissell, A. N. and E.P. Martins. 2004. Complex behavior and ecology of rock iguanas. II. Population differences, behavior and conservation. In "Iguanas: Biology and conservation" edited by Allison Alberts, Ron Carter, William Hayes, & Emilia Martins. University of California Press. PP.109-118. (pdf)
  • Martins, E.P. and K.E. Lacy. 2004. Complex behavior and ecology of rock iguanas. I. Evidence for an appeasement display. IN: "Iguanas: Biology and conservation" edited by Allison Alberts, Ron Carter, William Hayes, & Emilia Martins. University of California Press. PP. 101-108. (pdf)
  • Martins, E.P. 2004. Behavior and Ecology. Introduction. IN: "Iguanas: Biology and conservation" edited by Allison Alberts, Ron Carter, William Hayes, & Emilia Martins. University of California Press. PP. 97-100. (pdf)
  • Alberts, A., R. Carter, W. Hayes and E. Martins, eds. 2004. Iguanas: Biology and conservation. University of California Press.
  • Housworth, E. A., E. P. Martins, and M. Lynch. 2004. The phylogenetic mixed model. American Naturalist 163:84-96. (here or pdf.)
  • Lacy, K.E. and E. P. Martins. 2003. The effects of anthropogenic habitat usage on the social behaviour of a vulnerable species, Cyclura nubilaAnimal Conservation, 6: 3-9. (pdf)
  • Martins, E. P. and E. A. Housworth. 2002. Phylogeny shape and the phylogenetic comparative method.Systematic Biology, 51: 873-880. (Read on-line through JSTOR or pdf.)
  • Martins, E. P., J.A. Diniz-Filho, and E. A. Housworth. 2002. Adaptation and the comparative method: A computer simulation study. Evolution 56: 1-13. (BioOne or pdf.)
  • Zani, P.A. 2001. Clinging performance of the Western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis.Herpetologica 57:423-432.
  • Housworth, E. A. and E. P. Martins. 2001. Random sampling of constrained phylogenies:Conducting phylogenetic analyses when the phylogeny is partially known.Syst. Biol. 50:628-639. (doi:10.1080/106351501753328776 or pdf.)
  • Sheldahl, L.A. and E.P. Martins. 2000. Territorial behavior in the western fence lizard. Herpetologica, 56: 469-479. (pdf)
  • Martins, E.P. 2000. Adaptation and the comparative method. TREE, 15: 295-299. (pdf)
  • Morales, E. 2000. Estimating phylogenetic inertia in Tithonia (Asteraceae): A comparative approach. Evolution, 54: 475-484. (Read on-line through BioOne or pdf.)
  • Zani, P.A. 1999. The comparative evolution of lizard claw and toe morphology, clinging performance, and microhabitat use. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 13: 316-325. (pdf)
  • Martins, E. P. 1999. Estimation of ancestral states of continuous characters: A computer simulation study. Systematic Biology, 48:642-650. (doi:10.1080/106351599260210 or pdf.)
  • Martins, E. P., A. N. Bissell, and K.K. Morgan. 1998. Population differences in a lizard communicative display: evidence for rapid change in structure and function. Animal Behaviour 56: 1113-1119. (doi:10.1016/anbe.1998.0872.)
  • Martins, E. P. and J. Lamont. 1998. Estimating ancestral states of a communicative display: a comparative study of Cyclura rock iguanas. Animal Behaviour, 55:1685-1706. (doi:10.1016/anbe.1997.0722.)
  • Hansen, T. F. 1997. Stabilizing selection and the comparative analysis of adaptation. Evolution 51:1341-1351. (Read on-line through JSTOR.)
  • Martins, E. P. and T. F. Hansen. 1997. Phylogenies and the comparative method: A general approach to incorporating phylogenetic information into the anlaysis of interspecific data. American Naturalist 149: 646-667. ERRATUM Am. Nat. 153:448. (Read on-line through JSTOR here and here.)
  • Martins, E. P. 1996. Phylogenies, spatial autoregression, and the comparative method: a computer simulation test. Evolution 50:1750-1765. (Read on-line through JSTOR.)
  • Hansen, T. F. and E. P. Martins. 1996. Translating between microevolutionary process and macroevolutionary patterns: the correlation structure of interspecific data. Evolution 50:1404-1417. (Read on-line through JSTOR.)
  • Martins, E. P. and T. F. Hansen. 1996. The statistical analysis of interspecific data: a review and evaluation of phylogenetic comparative methods. IN: Phylogenies and the Comparative Method in Animal Behavior. Oxford University Press (E. Martins, ed). Oxford University Press. (pdf)
  • Martins, E. P. and T. F. Hansen. 1996. A microevolutionary link between phylogenies and comparative data. IN: New Uses for New Phylogenies (P. Harvey, J. Maynard-Smith, and A. Leigh-Brown, eds.). Oxford University Press.
  • Martins, E. P., editor. 1996. Phylogenies and the Comparative Method in Animal Behavior. Oxford University Press.
  • Martins, E. P. 1996. Conducting phylogenetic comparative analyses when the phylogeny is not known.Evolution 50: 12-22. (Read on-line through JSTOR.)
  • Martins, E. P. 1995. Phylogenies and comparative data, a microevolutionary perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B, 349: 85-91. (pdf)
  • Martins, E. P. 1994. Structural complexity in a lizard communication system: the Sceloporus graciosus"push-up" display. Copeia, 1994: 944-955. (pdf)
  • Martins, E. P. 1994. Phylogenetic perspectives on the evolution of lizard territoriality. IN: Lizard Ecology: Historical and Experimental Perspectives (L. Vitt and E. R. Pianka, eds.). pp. 117-144. Princeton University Press. (pdf)
  • Martins, E. P. 1994. Estimating the rate of phenotypic evolution from comparative data. American Naturalist, 144: 193-209. (Read on-line through JSTOR.)
  • Martins, E. P. 1993. A comparative study of the evolution of Sceloporus push-up displays. American Naturalist 142: 994-1018. (Read on-line through JSTOR.)
  • Martins, E. P. 1993. Contextual use of the push-up display by the Sagebrush Lizard, Sceloporus graciosusAnimal Behaviour, 45: 25-36. (doi:10.1016/anbe.1993.1003.)
  • Martins, E. P. and T. Garland, Jr. 1991. Phylogenetic analyses of the correlated evolution of continuous characters: a simulation study. Evolution, 45: 534-557. (Read on-line through JSTOR.)
  • Martins, E. P. 1991. A field study of individual and sex differences in the push-up display of the Sagebrush Lizard, Sceloporus graciosusAnimal Behaviour, 41: 403-416. (pdf)



Fall 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
MBB 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 496 Undergraduate Thesis
Summer 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research