As a kid: always looking for explanations for patterns in the natural world.
Revelation: shocked to discover at university that ecology was not taken seriously as a quantitative discipline. I was determined to be an ecology forecaster
First attempts: determination to hone my quantitative skills led to research projects involving individual based models of crops. A stint at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew was my “Beagle Voyage” inspired me to do my first major research project as an undergraduate – combining my knowledge of modelling plants with theories of evolutionary specialisation to predict how plants evolve around the world by evolving virtual plants in virtual worlds.
Back to school: Troubled by the lack of depth in my ability to connect that research with the real world I went back to RBG Kew as implementer of a number of conservation projects. After two years I undertook a PhD in mathematical ecology at Heriot-Watt University to hone my mathematical skills.
On with business: three years later I joined Microsoft Research with a new skills set and buzzing with ideas about how to make ecological predictive models better shadow reality – it was time to get serious about ecological prediction!
Other Peer-Reviewed publications
M.Smith, A.White, J.A.Sherratt, S.Telfer, M.Begon, X.Lambin, (2008) Disease effects on reproduction can cause population cycles in seasonal environments. Journal of Animal Ecology, 77(2), 378-389 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01328.x.
M.J. Smith, J.A.Sherratt (2007) The effects of unequal diffusion coefficients on periodic travelling wave properties in oscillatory reaction diffusion systems. Physica D, 236(2), 90-103, doi:10.1016/j.physd.2007.07.013
Sherratt, J.A. & Smith M.J. (2008) REVIEW, Periodic Travelling Waves in Cyclic Populations: Field studies and reaction-diffusion models. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2007.1327 Proc. R. Soc. Interface, 5, 483-505.
M.J. Smith, R.Sibly (2008) Identification of tradeoffs underlying the primary strategies of plants. Available online, Evolutionary Ecology Research , 10(1), 45-60.
M.J. Smith, J.A.Sherratt, N.J.Armstrong, (2008) The effects of obstacle size on periodic travelling waves in oscillatory reaction-diffusion equations. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London – Series A, 464, 365-390. doi: 10.1098/rspa.2007.0198.
M.J. Smith, A.White, J.A.Sherratt, X.Lambin, M.Begon, (2006) Delayed Density Dependent Season Length Alone can Lead to Rodent Population Cycles. American Naturalist 167(5), 695-704. doi: 10.1086/503119.
C.Buckee, K.Koelle, M.J. Mustard (Smith), S.Gupta, (2004). The Effects of Host Contact Network Structure on Pathogen Diversity and Strain Structure. PNAS 101(29), 10839-44. doi:10.1073/pnas.0402000101
M.J.Aitkenhead, M.J.Mustard (Smith), A.J.S.McDonald, (2004). Using neural networks to predict spatial structure in ecological systems. Ecol. Mod. 179(3), 393-403. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2004.05.008.
M.J. Mustard (Smith), D.B.Standing, M.J.Aitkenhead, D.Robinson, A.J.S.McDonald (2003). The emergence of primary strategies in evolving virtual-plant populations. Evol. Ecol. Res. 5, 1067-81. Available online.
Smith, M.J., Brodie, C., Kowalczyk, J., Michnowicz, S. & McGough, H.N. (2006). CITES Orchid Checklist Volume 4.
United Nations (2005). “Endangered Species” stamp series. Contributed text.
Mustard (Smith), M.J. & Yuzbasioglu, S. (2005). Turkish Delights. Kew Magazine, Spring 2005
McGough, H.N. Groves, M.G. Sajeva, M. Mustard (Smith), M.J. & Brodie, C (2004). CITES and Succulents, A User’s Guide. Lego Press
McGough, H.N. Groves, M.G., Mustard (Smith), M.J.‡ & Brodie, C.(2004). CITES and Plants, A User’s Guide. Lego Press
Williams, C. Davis, K. & Cheyne, P. (with the assistance of Mustard (Smith), M.J. & Brodie, C) (2003). The CBD, for Botanists.
Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Modelling Tutorial
- Tools for analysing and interpreting data on disease dynamics.
- Exploring the significance of the different mathematical concepts of stability for ecological systems.
- Tools to aid in Scientific Teaching and Communication.