Assistant Professor of Plant Biology, Department of Biological Sciences

Plymouth State University, 226 Boyd Science Center MSC #64, Plymouth, NH 03264

(603) 535-3320; (fax) 535-3180 ; mlpruyn@plymouth.edu



My area of research is Ecological Physiology.  My focus is on forest trees and their response to the environment.  I have researched how trees respond to wind stress in terms of their anatomy, morphology and physiology with the application for managing hybrid tree plantations for a specific product, like paper.  I have also modeled carbon budgets of forest ecosystems.  Most of my experience is in measuring respiration of individual components of individual trees and ecosystems (leaves, branches, stems and soils) with the objective of scaling to the whole tree and ecosystem level, respectively.  A better understanding of carbon flow into and out of forest systems will better enable us to determine whether systems are sources or a sinks for carbon dioxide and understand how those sources and sinks may change in the advent of climate change.  During my PhD, I studied forest science and wood science, so I have an understanding of the applied aspect of forest ecology, such as modeling carbon flow from cradle to grave for a particular forest product.  I also have an appreciation for ethnobotany and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and have been interested in pursuing research in those areas for some time.  


Professional Preparation

Plymouth State University Assistant Professor Plant Biology 2006 - present

Oregon State University Research Associate in Forest Science 2003-2006

Oregon State University Wood Science and Forest Science Ph.D., 2002

Michigan State University Botany and Plant Pathology M.S., 1997

University of Chicago Biological Sciences B.S., 1993



2006: Plant Biology Professor, Biological Sciences, Plymouth State University

2003 2006: Faculty Research Assoc., Forest Science, Oregon State University

2002 2005: Forest Biology Instructor, Forest Resources Dept., Oregon State University

2002 2003: Post-doctoral Researcher, Oregon State University

1997 2002: Graduate Research Assist., Wood and Forest Science, Oregon State University

1994 1997: Graduate Teaching Assist., Botany Dept., Michigan State University


PSU Courses Offered

Biological Sciences I (Fall)

Botany (Fall)

Evolution (Spring)

Plant Physiology (Alternate Springs)











Most closely related:

Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2005. Storage vs. substrate limitation to bole respiratory potential in two coniferous tree species of contrasting sapwood width.

J.Exp. Bot. 56:2637-2649. Download


Pruyn, M.L., M.E. Harmon & B.L. Gartner. 2003. Stem respiratory potential in six softwood and four hardwood tree species in the Central Cascades of Oregon. Oecologia 137:10-21. The original publication is available at http://link.springer.de, or you can access it here: Download


Pruyn, M.L. 2003. Parenchyma, version 1.0. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. London: Nature Publishing Group. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002083] http://www.els.net/


Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2002. Within stem variation of respiratory potential in Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) trees. New Phytol. 154 (2): 359-372. Download


Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2002. Respiratory potential in old versus young ponderosa pine trees in the Pacific Northwest. Tree Physiol. 22 (2/3): 105-116. Download


Other significant publications:

Pruyn, M.L., B.J. Ewers III & F.W. Telewski. 2000. Thigmomorphogenesis: changes in the morphology and mechanical properties of two Populus hybrids in response to mechanical perturbation. Tree Physiol. 20:535-540.


Telewski, F.W. & M.L. Pruyn. 1998. Thigmomorphogenesis: a dose response to flexing in Ulmus americana seedlings. Tree Physiol. 18:65-68.



Abstracts from Meetings

Pruyn, M.L., M.E. Harmon, and M.G. Ryan. 2005. Understanding temporal variations in autotrophic respiration in the Wind river Basin, WA, USA at Ecological Society of America 90th Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada 2005, p 521. (presentation)


Pruyn, M.L., M.E. Harmon, and M.G. Ryan. 2004. Understanding temporal variations in heart-rot related and autotrophic respiration in the Wind river Basin, Washington, poster presentation at Ecological Society of America 89th Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, 2004, p 410. (poster)


Pruyn, M.L., & F.W. Telewski. 2003. Anatomical and biochemical responses of two Populus

hybrids to flexure stress. 4th International Plant Biomechanics Conference, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, July 20-25 2003, p25. (poster)


Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner, and M.E. Harmon. 2003. Potential sources for stem respiratory gradients in two coniferous tree species of contrasting sapwood width. 5th International workshop on Field Techniques for Environmental Physiology, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, March 16-22, p113. (poster)


Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner, and M.E. Harmon. 2002. Metabolic heterogeneity in the sapwood of two conifer species. Workshop on Long Distance Transport Processes in Plants. October 10-12, Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA. (poster, no abstract)


Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2002. Why do tree species of varying sapwood thickness respire differently? Abstracts of 87th Annual Meeting of Ecological Society of America. August 4-9, 2002. Tucson, AZ, p240. (presentation)


Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2001. A comparison of respiratory potential in stem tissue among various tree species in the Pacific Northwest. IUFRO Canopy Processes Linking the Complexity of Forest Canopies to Ecosystem and Landscape Function: A Traveling Workshop in Oregon and Washington, USA. July 11-19, 2001, p54. (poster)


Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2000. Respiratory potential in sapwood of old versus young ponderosa pine trees in the Pacific Northwest. Age Related Change in Structure and Function of Forests in the Pacific Northwest: A Synthesis of Research. October 19, 2000. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, p13. (presentation)


Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 1999. Patterns of metabolic activity within the sapwood of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii, Mirb.). Abstracts of 84th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. August 8-12, 1999. Spokane, WA, p170. (presentation)


Pruyn, M.L. & F.W. Telewski. 1997. Thigmomorphogenesis: morphological and biomechanical responses to mechanical perturbation in Populus hybrids. Plant Biomechanics Conference Proceedings II: Posters. Centre for Biometrics, University of Reading, Reading, England. (poster)



Wind River Canopy Crane, Gifford Pinchot National Forest




Grant Proposals

Harmon, M.E., M.G. Ryan & M.L. Pruyn. Controls of Autotrophic and Heartrot-related Respiration in a Western Coniferous Landscape. Accepted WESTGEC / NIGEC, 03/03.


Pruyn, M.L., Butnor, J.R., Harmon, M.E., Ryan M.G., & Shaw D.C. Feasibility Of Using Ground Penetrating Radar To Estimate Heart Rot Volumes In Living Tree Stems. Accepted NSF Small Grants for Exploratory Research, 06/04.



Synergistic Activities

2003 2008, Member of the Society of International Association of Wood Anatomists


Collaborators & Other Affiliations


Butnor, J.R. (USFS); Domec, J.C. (NCSU); Gartner, B.L. (OSU); Harmon, M.E. (OSU); Ryan, M.G. (USFS & CSU); Shaw, D.C. (OSU); Telewski, F.W. (OSU)


Graduate and Postdoctoral Advisors

Barbara Gartner, Oregon State (Ph.D.); Mark Harmon, Oregon State (PhD and postdoc); Mike Ryan, USFS and Colorado State (postdoc); Frank Telewski, Michigan State (M.S.).


Thesis Advisor and Postgraduate-Scholar Sponsor

Kim Votta (MS Assistantship), Jordan Christ (Summer-time REU at Hubbard Brook), Plymouth State; Michelle Delepine, Oregon State