Ohio University | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Environmental and Plant Biology

Porter Hall 315 | Athens OH 45701 | Tel 740 593 1126 | Fax 740 593 1130

Morgan L. Vis


Department Chair

Ph.D., Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1995

Freshwater Algal Ecology and Evolution

Porter Hall 400

740 593 1134

Other Websites

Lab Homepage

Faculty Research Focus Areas

Phylogenetic Systematics
Eastern Deciduous Forest Ecology


PBIO 1030 (Plants and People)
PBIO 4200/5200 (Phycology)
PBIO 4170/5170 (Biological Research and Science Ethics)

Departmental Service

Graduate Chair
Genomics Facility, Faculty Mentor

Professional Service

Associate Editor, Journal of Phycology

Research Program Summary

The two primary research foci of this laboratory are systematics/biogeography of freshwater red algae and impacts of acid mine drainage on stream periphyton communities in southeastern Ohio. In our studies of freshwater red algae, we employ a combination of field research and molecular DNA techniques for systematic and phylogeographic research. At present we are concentrating our efforts on multigene phylogenetic analyses to contribute to the Red Tree of Life through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Our studies of the effects of acid mine drainage (AMD) in streams is an effort to understand how the various chemical and physical impacts effect the algal community. We collaborate with other researchers at Ohio University who study impacts of AMD on other aquatic life and hydrogeology of these streams in order to contribute to a more complete understanding of this pollution on the ecosystem. These collaborations got their start as part of an EPA STAR grant. Lastly, we work with colleagues in mechanical engineering on a photobioreactor for CO2 remediation and mechanisms to make algae more useful for fuel applications.

Selected References

Necchi, O. Jr., Silva Garcia Filho, A. Salomaki, E.D., West, J.A., Aboal, M. & Vis, M.L. 2013. Global sampling reveals low genetic diversity within the genus, Compsopogon (Compsopogonales, Rhodophyta). European Journal of Phycology (in press).

Gray, J.B. & Vis, M.L. 2013. Reference diatom assemblage response to restoration of an acid mine drainage stream. Ecological Indicators 29: 234-245.

Pool, J.R. Kruse, N. & Vis, M.L. 2013. Assessment of mine drainage remediated streams using diatom assemblages and biofilm enzyme activities. Hydrobiologia DOI 10.1007/s10750-012-1440-2.

Smucker, N.J. & Vis, M.L. 2013. Can pollution severity affect diatom succession in streams, and could it matter for stream assessment? Journal of Freshwater Ecology DOI:10.1080/02705060.2013.764356.

Lam, D.W., García-Fernández, M., Aboal, M. & Vis, M.L. 2013. Polysiphonia subtilissima (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta) from freshwater habitats in North America and Europe is confirmed as conspecific with marine collections. Phycologia 52: 156-160.

Current and Recent Student Research Projects

Systematics and revision of the freshwater red algal order Batrachospermales
Phylogeography of Batrachospermum gelatinosum in Europe
Diatom community structure and function downstream of acid mine drainage mitigation
Optimization of microalgae systems for CO2 mitigation and biofuel production

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