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Marcus V. Warwell

Geneticist

Geneticist

Address: 
1221 South Main Street
Moscow, ID 83843
Phone: 
208-883-2305
Contact Marcus V. Warwell

Current Research

In general, my research focuses on increasing our understanding of the relationships between the genetics of forest plant species and the environment. Understanding these relationships is essential to the success of a range of natural resource management activities (e.g. reforestation, gene conservation, seed transfer and invasive species management). When a plant population is not genetically adapted to cope with environmental constraints, the population's productivity or persistence may be diminished or lost. Thus, the primary motivation for my research is to provide knowledge necessary to effectively support decisions that increase or maintain ecosystem health and resilience and ecosystem services.

My present research objectives are to:

  1. quantify adaptive (genetic) variation in growth and phenology; assess phenotypic selection under climate change and characterize the relationship between patterns of genetic variation and climate a) among whitebark pine populations in the interior northwestern USA and b) among and within subalpine fir populations, range wide and
  2. quantify adaptive (genetic) variation in growth and phenology among and within ponderosa pine populations grown under drought stress during early seedling establishment.

Research Interests

Other research interests:

  • Genecology
  • Quantitative Genetics
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Bioclimate Modeling
  • Biogeography
  • Development of climate based seed transfer systems
  • Community, species and population level range distribution mapping
  • Evolutionary response of western forest species to climate transfer and climate change

Past Research

Warwell MV. 2002. Genetic and cultural influences on rooting capability of eastern cottonwood greenwood cuttings. MS thesis, M.S. University of Florida. Gainesville FL 72p.

Warwell MV, GR Alker, DL Rockwood, SB Land and M Stine. 1991. In: Proceedings of the 25th Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference, July 11-14, 1999. New Orleans LA S. For. Tree Improvement Conference. 25:174-176.

Why This Research is Important

Genetic adaptation of forest trees is critical for maintaining ecosystem resilience, productivity and services (e.g., wildlife habitat, water quality, carbon sequestration, forest products) in the face of present and future disturbances, such as climate change, invasive species, wild fire, land-use change, etc.

My research provides critical information to ensure that forest tree populations are adapted on the sites where they are grown, identify unique populations for conservation, identify populations at risk and predict evolutionary responses.

Thus, this research is essential to maintain healthy forest ecosystems in the face of diverse and changing disturbance.

Education

  • University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2015
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, M.S., Forestry, 2002
  • Florida A&M, Tallahassee, B.S., Agricultural Science, 1997
  • University of Florida, Gainesville (respectively), B.S., Natural Resource Conservation, 1997
  • Featured Publications

    Publications

    Warwell, Marcus V.; McDonald, Geral I; Hanna, John W.; Kim, Mee-Sook; Lalande, Bradley M.; Stewart, Jane E.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2019. Armillaria altimontana is associated with healthy western white pine (Pinus monticola): Potential in situ biological control of the Armillaria root disease pathogen, A
    Hanna, John W.; Kim, M. -S.; Klopfenstein, Ned B.; Ramsey, A. C.; Omdal, D. W.; Mulvey, R. L.; Goodrich, B. A.; Ferguson, B. A.; Winton, L. M.; Goheen, E. M.; Bronson, J. J.; Kearns, H. S. J.; Chadwick, K. L.; Murray, M.; Shaw, D. C.; McDonald, G. I.; Pitman, E. W. I.; Warwell, Marcus V., 2017. Toward a west-wide model of Armillaria root disease: New surveys needed in western Oregon, western Washington, and Alaska
    Kim, Mee-Sook; Ross-Davis, Amy; Stewart, Jane E.; Hanna, John W.; Warwell, Marcus V.; Zambino, Paul J.; Cleaver, Christy; McDonald, Geral I.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Moltzan, Bruce; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2016. Can metagenetic studies of soil microbial communities provide insights toward developing novel management approaches for Armillaria root disease?
    Hines, Sarah; Klopfenstein, Ned B.; Richardson, Bryce A.; Warwell, Marcus V.; Kim, Mee-Sook, 2013. Science You Can Use Bulletin: Return of the king: Western white pine conservation and restoration in a changing climate
    Crookston, Nicholas L.; Rehfeldt, Gerald E.; Warwell, Marcus V., 2007. Using Forest Inventory and Analysis data to model plant-climate relationships
    Armillaria spp.
    Background Root diseases are a primary cause of reduced timber volume, decreased carbon sequestration, and impaired ecosystem function. In the inland northwestern USA, root diseases have accounted for more losses in timber volume than forest fires or other disturbances. Management options to combat losses from root diseases have been limited. Armillaria altimontana and A. solidipes are soil fungi that frequently co-occur in the northwestern USA.  Armillaria solidipes has been well-documented as a virulent primary pathogen that is among most damaging causes of mortality and growth loss in coniferous forests.  In contrast, little is known about the influence of A. altimontana on tree health and growth.
    The research objective is to develop western white pine management strategies focused on regeneration establishment and young forest development by 1) developing canopy opening size thresholds where western white pine can establish and grow, 2) developing alternative tending methods to enable managers to continue to manage western white pine plantations, 3) evaluating plantation resilience to wildfire, and 4) evaluating understory plant diversity under 30-year or older western white pine plantations.