Montana State University

Matt Lavin

lavin

Matt Lavin
: Professor, PhD from The University of Texas at Austin, 1986.

Office: 308 Plant BioScience Building
Lab: 332 Plant BioScience Building

Office Phone: 406-994-2032 
Fax: 406-994-7600

Email Dr. Lavin



Research Interests

The emphasis of my research is on the molecular systematics and biogeography of the biodiverse legume plant family (Fabaceae or Leguminosae), including the cultivated species, and the study of patterns of plant biodiversity across large landscapes using community phylogenetic approaches. The latter involves the application of neutral ecology and phylogeny to understand niche conservation and dispersal limitation within and among metacommunities or biomes. The metacommunities or biomes of interest to me are those with pronounced dry seasons, such as seasonally dry tropical woodlands (rich in succulent taxa such as Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae), tropical savannas and associated forests (rich in grass species), deserts, and in particular the sagebrush steppe of western North America. Community phylogeny integrate the fields of community ecology, taxonomy, and phylogeny. In these regards, I am interested in the flora of Montana and the taxonomy of biodiverse plant families such as the grass family (Poaceae) because such families dominate the open arid regions of western North America. These interests happily coincide with my teaching responsibilities, which include plant systematics and agrostology (e.g., see Grasses of Montana).

AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY

Research in molecular phylogenetics, including the legume or pea family, instruction of courses in evolutionary biology (BIOB 420 and undergraduate and graduate seminars) and plant systematics (AGSC 434 and BIOO 435), graduate and undergraduate advising, and director of the Montana State University Herbarium. As part of my teaching and research responsibilities, I maintain a publicly-accessible collection of plant photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/collections/

EDUCATION

  • B.S. 1978. Biology, University of Nevada at Reno.
  • M.S. 1981. Botany, University of Nevada at Reno.
  • Ph.D. 1986. Botany, University of Texas at Austin.

MEMBERSHIPS IN PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • American Society of Plant Taxonomists
  • Botanical Society of America
  • International Society of Biogeography

RECENT PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • A regular reviewer of manuscripts for a diversity of systematic, biogeographic, and ecological journals, as well as for grant proposals submitted to agencies like the USDA and NSF

COURSES TAUGHT

  • BIOB 420: Evolution (every spring semester)
  • AGSC 454: Agrostology (fall semesters of odd-numbered years)
  • BIOO 435: Plant Systematics (fall semesters of even-numbered years)
  • BIOB 470/490: Undergraduate independent study and research (occasional semesters)
  • PSPP 594: Graduate Seminar (occasional semesters)

PUBLICATIONS FROM 1998 TO PRESENT


CURRENT PROGRAMS

Research

Molecular systematics of the legume family (Fabaceae)

Biodiversity patterns within the sagebrush prairie, and among tropical rain forests, savannas, and seasonally dry forests (in collaboration with legume colleagues)

Grass Flora of Montana

Teaching

Evolution curriculum (e.g., the courses Evolution and graduate seminars)
Plant identification and systematic courses (e.g., Agrostology and Plant Systematics)