Marcie Marston

Dr. Marcie Marston
Marcie Marston, Ph.D.Professor of Biology

Contact Information

x3311mmarston@rwu.eduMNS 221

Areas of Expertise

Genetics & Evolution of Viruses


Ph.D. Cornell University
B.A. Amherst College

Research Interests

My lab studies the ecology, genetics, and evolution of cyanophages living in the coastal waters of Southern New England.  Over the past 16 years, we have collected and characterized 1000s of cyanophages (viruses that infect cyanobacteria) from Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island and adjacent waters.

My research is currently focused on the following questions:

  1. How is genetic diversity generated and maintained within a viral population?
  2. Is the microdiversity observed within viral populations functionally significant?
  3. How diverse are the viral and bacterial genes that influence viral-host interactions?

We are addressing these questions by (a) conducting coevolution experiments in the lab, (b) isolating cyanophages from natural populations over time and characterizing phenotypes related to host interactions (i.e., host range, adsorption rate, and growth curves), and (c) sequencing viral genomes from both coevolution experiments and natural populations.  We are using the results from the coevolution experiments to test predictions about phenotypic and genetic variability in natural viral populations.

External Grants

National Science Foundation Research Grant - Biological Oceanography. “Collaborative Research:RUI: Characterization of Synechococcus-cyanophage interactions across phylogenetic and temporal scales(PI. $391,753 to RWU. Dec. 2020 – Nov. 2023)

DOE - Joint Genome Institute’s Community Science Program. “Gene to Function Linkages within Virioplankton Populations” (Co-PI. In kind sequencing of 36 metagenome and metatranscriptome libraries from Narragansett Bay. Jan. 2021 – Dec. 2022)

National Science Foundation RII Track-2 FEC. “G2P in VOM: An Experimental and Analytical Framework for Genome to Phenome Connections in Viruses of Microbes” (CO-PI. $6,000,000 Aug. 2017 – Aug. 2021)

National Science Foundation - Biological Oceanography. Collaborative proposal: Cyanophage-Synechococcus interactions in complex communities (PI. $376,616 Sep. 2013 – Aug. 2017)

National Science Foundation - Biological Oceanography. Collaborative proposal: Evolutionary ecology of marine cyanophages. (PI. $316,161 Sep. 2010 –Feb. 2014)

HHS-NIH RI-INBRE. Horizontal Gene Exchange and Genome Evolution of Myoviruses in an Aquatic Environment. (PI $173,661 June 2007 – August 2010)

National Science Foundation. Collaborative Research/RUI: The consequences of phage-bacteria coevolution in aquatic environments. (PI. $169,625 September 2003 – May 2007)

Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program Research Grant. Grateloupia turuturu, a bioinvasive seaweed in Rhode Island waters: population dynamics and impact on native algae. (PI. $76,000 March 2003 – December 2004)

Refereed Publications

(* indicates RWU undergraduate student co-author)

DeLong, JP, Al-Sammak, MA, Al-Ameeli, ZT, Fuhrmann JF, Gleghorn JP, Li H, Haramoto, K, Harrison AO, Marston MF, Moore, RM, Polson SW, Ferrell BD, Salsbery ME, Schvarcz CR, Shirazi J, Steward GF, Van Etten JL and Wommack KE. 2021. Towards an integrative view of virus phenotypes. Nature Reviews Microbiology.

Marston MF and Polson SW. 2020. Whole-Genome Sequence of a Cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp. Strain WH8101. Microbiology Resource Announcements. 9(8)e01593-19; DOI: 10.1128/MRA.01593-19

Marston MF and Martiny JBH. 2016. Genomic diversification of marine cyanophages into stable ecotypes. Environmental Microbiology. 18(11):4240–4253.

Crummett LT, Puxty RJ, Weihe C, Marston MF, Martiny JBH. 2016. The genomic content and context of auxiliary metabolic genes in marine cyanomyoviruses. Virology. 499:219-229.

Hanson CA, Marston MF, Martiny JBH. 2016. Biogeographic variation in host range phenotypes and taxonomic composition of marine cyanophage isolates. 7:983. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00983

Martiny JB, Riemann L, Marston MF, Middelboe M. 2014. Antagonistic Coevolution of Marine Planktonic Viruses and Their Hosts. Annual Review Marine Sciences. 6:393-414

Marston MF, Taylor S*, Sme N*, Parsons RJ, Noyes TJ, Martiny JB. 2013. Marine cyanophages exhibit local and regional biogeography. Environmental Microbiology 15(5), 1452–1463.

Dekel-Bird NP, Avrani S, Sabehi G, Pekarsky I, Marston MF, Kirzner S, Lindell D. 2013. Diversity and evolutionary relationships of T7-like podoviruses infecting marine cyanobacteria. Environmental Microbiology 15(5):1476-91.

Clasen JL, Hanson CA, Ibrahim Y, Weihe C, Marston MF, Martiny JBH. 2013. Diversity and temporal dynamics of Southern California coastal marine cyanophage isolates. Aquatic Microb Ecol 69:17-31.

Marston MF, Pierciey Jr. FJ*, Shepard A*, Gearin G, Qi J, Yandava C, Schuster SC, Henn MR, and Martiny JBH. 2012. Rapid diversification of coevolving marine Synechococcus and a virus. Proceedings National Academy of Science 109 (12):4544-4549

Marston MF and Amrich CG*. 2009. Recombination and microdiversity in coastal marine cyanophages. Environmental Microbiology 11(11):2893-2903

MarstonMF. 2008. Natural Viral Communities in the Narragansett Bay Ecosystem. In: A. Desbonnet & B. Costa-Pierce (eds.) Science for Ecosystem-Based Management: Narragansett Bay in the 21st Century. Springer Series on Environmental Management

Stoddard LI*, Martiny JHB, and Marston MF. 2007. Selection and Characterization of Cyanophage-Resistance in Marine Synechococcus Strains. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 73(17):5516-22

Lennon JT, Khatana SAM, Marston MF, and Martiny JBH. 2007 Is there a cost of viral resistance in marine cyanobacteria? The ISME Journal 1:300-312

Verlaque M, Brannock PM*, Komatsu T, Villalard-Bohnsack M, and Marston M.  2005. The genus Grateloupia C. Agardh (Halymeniaceae, Rhodophyta) in the Thau Lagoon (France, Mediterranean): a case study of marine plurispecific introductions. Phycologia  44(5):477-496

Marston MF and Sallee JL*. 2003. Genetic diversity and temporal variation in the cyanophage community infecting marine Synechococcus species in Rhode Island’s coastal waters, USA. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69(8):4639-4647

Marston MF and Villalard-Bohnsack M. 2002. Genetic variability and potential sources of Grateloupia doryphora (Halymeniaceae, Rhodophyta), an invasive species in Rhode Island waters (USA).  Journal of Phycology 38:649-658

Collmer CW, Marston MF, Taylor JC, Jahn M. 2000.  The I gene of bean: a dosage-dependent allele conferring extreme resistance, hypersensitive resistance, or spreading vascular necrosis in response to the potyvirus Bean Common Mosaic Virus. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 13(11):1266-1270

Marston MF, and Villalard-Bohnsack M. 1999. The use of molecular genetics to investigate the geographic origin and vector of an invasive red alga.  Proceedings of the National Conference on Marine Bioinvasions.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology 244-250

Collmer CW, Marston MF, Albert SM, Bajaj S, Maville HA, Ruskal SE, Vesely EJ, Kyle MM. 1996.  The nucleotide sequence of the coat protein gene and 3’ untranslated region of azuki bean mosaic virus, a member of the bean common mosaic virus subgroup.  Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 9(8):758-761

Fisher ML and Kyle MM. 1996. Inheritance of resistance to potyviruses in Phaseolus vulgaris L. IV. Inheritance, linkage relations, and environmental effects of systemic resistance to four potyviruses. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 92:204-212

Fisher M, and Kyle M. 1994. Inheritance of resistance to potyviruses in Phaseolus vulgaris L. III. Cosegregation of phenotypically similar dominant responses to nine potyviruses. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 89:818-823