Faculty Information



Professor Kendall J Martin, Ph.D.

Dr. Martin

Phone: 973-720-3452
Fax 973-720-2338
E-mail: MartinK31@wpunj.edu
Science Hall East 4045

Teaching responsibilities

Lecture and Lab for:

BIO 1300

Field Biology

BIO 1630

General Biology I

BIO 1700

Basic Microbiology

  BIO 3200   Microbiology

BIO 5130

Microbial Ecology

Lecture only:
  BIO 4800   Biology Seminar
  SCEN 5030   Biology, Continuing ed.



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Dr. Martin started his research career doing undergraduate research on plant-microbe relationships at Hampshire College.  In the couple decades since then, Microbial Ecology has undergone a radical transformation.  From the beginning of that period, we knew a fair amount about the microbes we could culture in the lab, we could see their effects on plants and animals, and we could measure microbial activity in environmental samples (liquid or gas assays quantified with instruments like gas chromatographs).  Now we have begun to open the “black-box” and we can see for the first time, that most kinds of bacteria cannot be cultured... at all.  We had been studying just a small slice of the diversity of microbes.  The kinds of activities Dr. Martin and most Soil Microbiologists had been measuring (plant health, nitrogen fixation, denitrification,and biodegradation) may have represented some of the most important influences of microbes, but these are only a tiny part of vast array of specialized capabilities that we are now discovering.  As the figure below shows, we have gone from knowing about a dozen major groups of bacteria from their behavior in culture in the lab, to a situation where most of the diversity of bacteria is understood from the DNA traces we can recover from the environment.

PCR amplification techniques now enable researchers to pluck small-subunit rRNA gene sequences from the environment without culturing individual species.
"Diagram of the recent expansion in the number of known bacterial phylogenetic divisions. Currently, there is no resolution of any specific relationships between the bacterial divisions. The extent of known diversity is expanding rapidly due primarily to culture-independent environmental surveys. (Figure courtesy of Norman Pace and Kirk Harris)"  Click HERE for the original article by Jeffrey L. Fox.
Dr. Martin uses DNA extracted from the environment to characterize microbial communities (mostly bacterial and fungal) in order to understand how microbes respond to their microhabitat and what that can tell us about the larger ecosystem.  The interaction is two-way; microbes can affect ecosystem function, but they can also tell us about changes in the ecosystem that aren’t obvious to the naked eye.  For instance, there are agricultural areas that naturally suppress certain plant diseases.  If we could understand how the microbial community controls the disease and what factors shape the microbial community, we should be able to extend the effect to other fields.
Dr. Martin also uses DNA markers to figure out which plant is connected to a root and, therefore, its microbial community (or as we below-grounders see it, which above-ground organs belong to the below-ground plant we are investigating).

Research areas:
  • Plant health (Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation, characterization of plant-associated microbes, below-ground root distributions).
  • Global climate change impacts on ecosystems.
  • Soil microbiology.
  • White-nose disease in bats (with Dr. Risley).
  • Influence of the gut microbiota on development of autism (with Dr. Benno).
  • Detection of fecal contamination in surface water.


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New Science Complex, opened Summer 2010
Science Hall West View towards student center Lab entrance
Science Hall West Outside my lab Lab entrance
Outer lab PCR room Pre PCR
Lab foyer Post-PCR lab Winogradski and Pond Cultures,
Pre-PCR room
Mushhood Sheikh Jordan Storms Science Hall West
PCR set-up in Pre-PCR hood  Gel loading   Science Hall

Students working in the lab with me:

Farnaz explains her work
Ammar Ali and his poster on DNase
Farnaz Ladha explains her work to President Waldron
Lisa Swarn mentoring HS student, Rahima Shelim (Roche program) Lisa, Rahima & Ammar,
Hibernia Mine sampling

Just a few of the many, previous, undergraduate
research-assistants in my lab

Mushhod and Nichole
Mushhood Sheikh and Nichole Gersht Jordan Storms, NJAS poster
Prathusha Maduri
 Prathusha Maduri (visiting from Rutgers) Kiran Herapara, NJAS poster
Amber Moore Alexis Aldridge
Valerie Callilap Dan Zaayenga
Nancy Abdallat

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Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Kendall J. Martin

Dr. Martin's Google Scholar Citation Profile


Ph.D.   July 2001.  Soil Science (Integrated), Department of Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University.  Qualifying Exam Areas of Concentration:  Soil Microbiology, Soil Chemistry, Soil Taxonomy.   Dissertation Title:  Inoculation Potential of Soil-Borne Frankia on Red Alder (Alnus rubra Bong.).  Major Professor:  David D. Myrold, Ph.D.   Committee members:  Drs. Peter Bottomley, Stephen Giovannoni, Joyce Loper, and Bob Griffiths.

M.S.    June 1988.  Soil Microbiology, Department of Agronomy, University of Kentucky.  Thesis Title:  Dynamics of Soil Denitrifier Populations:  Relationships Between Enzyme Activity, Most-Probable Number Counts and Actual N Gas Loss.     Major Professor:   M. Scott Smith, Ph.D.

B.A.     June 1985.  Botany (Integrated), Department of Natural Sciences, Hampshire College.  Honors Thesis Title:  The Acetylene Reduction Assay Inactivates Root Nodule Uptake Hydrogenase in Some Actinorhizal Plants.   Major Professor:  Lawrence J. Winship, Ph.D.



Refereed Publications

Rygiewicz, Paul T., Vicente J. Monleon, Elaine R. Ingham, Kendall J. Martin, Mark G. Johnson. 2010. Soil life in reconstructed ecosystems: Initial soil food web responses after rebuilding a forest soil profile for a climate change experiment. Appl. Soil Ecol. doi:10.1016/j.apsoil.2010.01.006.

Wu, Tiehang, Dan O. Chellemi, Jim H. Graham, Kendall J. Martin & Erin N. Rosskopf. 2008.  Comparison of Soil Bacterial Communities Under Diverse Agricultural Land Management and Crop Production Practices.  Microb Ecol 55:293-310.

Martin, Kendall J.  2007.  Introduction to Molecular Analysis of Ectomycorrhizal Communities.  Invited Mini-Review for the Molecular Based Approaches to Soil Microbiology Symposium at the 2005 Soil Science Society of America Meeting in Salt Lake City, Nov 6-10.  Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 71:601-610, doi:10.2136/sssaj2006.0115.

Wu, T., D.O. Chellemi, K.J. Martin, J.H. Graham, and E.N. Rosskopf.  2007.  Discriminating the effects of agricultural land management practices on soil fungal communities.  Soil Biology and Biochemistry 39(5):1139-1155.

Martin K.J., and C.T. Bull.  2006.  Novel primers for detection and quantification of Myxococcus species in situ.  Molecular Ecology Notes 6:773.

Burke, D., K. Martin, P. Rygiewicz and M. Topa.  2006.  Relative abundance of ectomycorrhizas in a managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) genetics plantation as determined through terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism profiles.  Canadian Journal of Botany 84(6): 924–932.

Watrud, L.S., K.J. Martin, K. Donegan, C. Coleman, C. Draper, J. Stone.  2006.  Comparison of taxonomic, colony morphotype and PCR-RFLP methods to characterize microfungal diversity. Mycologia 98(3): 384-392.

Martin, K.J., and P. Rygiewicz.  2005.  Fungal-specific PCR primers developed for analysis of the ITS region of environmental DNA extracts. BMC Biology 5:28.

Burke, D., K. Martin, P. Rygiewicz and M. Topa.  2005.  Ectomycorrhizal fungi identification in single and pooled root samples: terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) and morphotyping compared.  Soil Biology & Biochemistry 37:1683–1694.

Martin, K.J., Y. Tanaka and D.D. Myrold.  2003.  Dual inoculation increases plant growth with Frankia on red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) in fumigated nursery beds. Symbiosis 34 (2): 253-260.

Martin, K.J., N.J. Posavatz and D.D. Myrold.  2003.  Nodulation potential of soils from red alder stands covering a wide age range.  Plant and Soil 254: 187–192.

Rygiewicz, P.T., K.J. Martin and A.R. Tuininga.  2000.  Morphological diversity of ectomycorrhizas on Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii Mirb. Franco) seedlings grown under elevated atmospheric CO2 and temperature.  Oecologia 124 (2): 299-308.

Rygiewicz, P.T., K.J. Martin and A.R. Tuininga.  1997.  Global climate change and diversity of mycorrhizae.  In: Progress in Microbial Ecology.  M.T. Martins, M.I.Z. Sato, J.M. Tiedje, L.C.N. Hagler, J. Dîbereiner and P.S. Sanchez (eds.).   International Committee on Microbial Ecology/Brazilian Society for Microbiology.  Soc. Brasileira de Microbiologia. Cidade UniversitÝria - USP. São Paulo - SP, Brazil.  pp. 91-98.

Martin, K.J., Y. Tanaka and D.D. Myrold.  1992.  Dual inoculation of red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) with effective Frankia alni for nursery bare-root seedling production.  Acta Oecologica 13:508-509.

Martin, K.J., Y. Tanaka and D.D. Myrold.  1991.  Peat carrier increases inoculation success with Frankia in red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) in fumigated nursery beds.  New Forests  5:43-50.

Martin, K., L. Parson, R.E. Murray and M.S. Smith.  1988.  Dynamics of soil denitrifier populations:  relationships between enzyme activity, most-probable number counts and actual N gas loss.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology 54: 2711-2716.

Winship, L.J., K.J. Martin and A. Sellstedt.  1987.  The acetylene reduction assay inactivates root  nodule uptake hydrogenase in some actinorhizal plants.  Physiologia Plantarum 70:361-366.

Winship, L.J., and K.J. Martin.  1985.  Inhibition of uptake hydrogenase by acetylene in actinorhizal nodules and free-living Frankia in culture. In:  Nitrogen Fixation Research Progress, H.J. Evans, P.J. Bottomley and W.E. Newton (eds). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands.p.371.


Refereed Reports and Standard Operating Procedure Publications (peer reviewed)

Martin, K.J.  2001.  Tree DNA fingerprinting above- and below-ground.  US-EPA, NHEERL, WED Project SOP.  June 2001.

Martin, K.J.  1997.  Ectomycorrhizal colonization of roots and morphological classification. US-EPA, NHEERL, WED Project SOP Number 7.06.  September 1997.

Martin, K.J.  1996.  Ectomycorrhizal DNA.  US-EPA, NHEERL, WED Project SOP Number 7.08.  April 1996.

Book Chapters

Myrold, D.D., K.J. Martin and N.J. Ritchie. 1995. Gel purification of soil DNA extracts. Section 1.3.5, p. 1-9. In:  Molecular Microbial Ecology Manual.  A.D.L. Akkermans, J.D. van Elsas and F.J. de Bruijn (eds.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Myrold, D.D., A.B. Hilger, K. Huss-Danell and K.J. Martin.  1994.  Use of molecular methods to enumerate Frankia in soil.  Chapter 14.  In:  Beyond the Biomass: Compositional and Functional Analysis of Soil Microbial Communities. K. Ritz, J. Dighton and K. Giller (eds.).  John Wiley Publishers, Chichester, UK. 


ABSTRACTS  (presenting author underlined)

Invited Oral Presentations

Martin, Kendall.  2008.  “Towards a more fitting spatial analysis of microbial community composition.”  Department of Biology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.  Feb. 19, 2008.

Martin, Kendall.  2007. "Mycorrhizas in the soil:  plant subcontractors?" Crop and Soil Sciences, Departmental Seminar, Washington State University.  April 6, 2007.

Martin, Kendall.  2007. “Using microbial community data in modeling ecosystems.”   Crop and Soil Sciences, Departmental Seminar, Washington State University.  April 5, 2007.

Martin, Kendall.  2007. “Using microbial community data in modeling ecosystems.”   Seminar at the School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University.  March 1, 2007.

Martin, K.J.  2006.  “Using microbial community data in modeling ecosystems.”  Invited Speaker, Computational Biology Seminar Series, Dept of Biology, Rutgers-Camden, NJ. April 13, 2006.

Martin, K.J.  2005.  Invited Speaker, “Molecular analysis of mycorrhizal populations.”  Symposium on Molecular Approaches to Soil Microbiology, Soil Science Society of America Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, Nov. 6-10, 2005.

Martin, K.J. and J. Lepo. 2004. Invited Speaker, "Non-culture-based methods for detecting and tracking fecal sources."  Northern Gulf of Mexico Bacterial Source Tracking Workshop, Biloxi, MS, Nov. 11-13, 2004.

Martin, K.J., J. Henson, L.L. Phillips, R.A. Brooks and J.E. Lepo.  2003.  Invited Speaker,  “Phytopathogens as bioterrorism agents.”  Consortium of Biological Defense Research Meeting.  Lubbock, TX .

Rygiewicz, P.T., and K.J. Martin. 2000.  Invited Speakers.  “Morphological diversity of ectomycorrhizas on Douglas-fir seedlings grown under various climatic conditions.”  Oregon State University, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Corvallis, OR.

Martin, K.J., and P.T. Rygiewicz.  1998.  Invited Speaker, Conference-wide Plenary Session (Panel of three, including Dr. Martin, discussing Global Climate Change).  “Ectomycorrhizal diversity by morphology and PCR-RFLP under global climate change.”   Second International Conference on Mycorrhizae, Uppsala, Sweden.

Martin, K.J., and P.T. Rygiewicz .  1996.   Invited Speaker, Seminar Series.  “Analysis of mycorrhiza in climate-controlled, soil-plant-atmosphere chambers.”  Willamette Univ., Salem, OR.


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