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Matt Marshall

Dr. Matt Marshall is the Program Manager of the Northeast Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative (NBC2), a National Science Foundation funded Advanced Technological Education Center located at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. Dr. Marshall received his Ph.D. in Environmental Health Science and his Master’s of Biology, both from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. During his Master’s research, Dr. Marshall studied the influence of managing a loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) forest for biofuels production via switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) intercropping and woody debris removal on rodents. The data from his research suggest that planting of switchgrass, but not biomass removal, had a species-specific effects on rodents at least 2 years post-planting in an intensively managed southern pine system. During his doctoral dissertation research, Dr. Marshall examined the genetic properties of a widespread perennial herb called Plantago lanceolata that displays a strong phenotypic response to different thermal environments. Among other things, individual plants modify the color of their flowers in response to temperature, growing dark flowers in cool conditions and light colored flowers in warm conditions. Producing darker flowers when it is cool allows the plant to warm up developing seeds inside the flower by increasing the absorbance of sunlight relative to lighter flowers. Dr. Marshall explored a long‐standing debate in evolutionary biology, which concerns the relative importance of different evolutionary forces in explaining phenotypic diversification at large geographic scales. He was able to confirm that this thermal response has a genetic basis, and found evidence that modifying flower color in response to temperature is adaptive where growing seasons are shorter and cooler, that is, at high latitude/altitude. 

Cianna Cooper

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