Staff Directory

Marie Nydam, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biology

Phone: 949-480-4084

Fax: 949-480-4128


Faculty - Full-Time


  • 2004-2010: Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University. Advisor: Richard G. Harrison
  • 1999-2003: B.S. in Evolution and Ecology. University of California, Davis (summa cum laude)

Positions Held

  • 2019-present: Assistant Professor of Biology, Life Sciences Concentration, Soka University of America  

  • 2012-2019: Assistant Professor of Biology, Division of Science and Mathematics, Centre College
  • 2010-2012: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology University of California, Santa Barbara

Research Interests

  • Nydam is a marine evolutionary geneticist who uses phylogenomic and population genetic tools to study evolutionary questions. She incorporates undergraduate researchers into all of her research projects, and frequently publishes with undergraduate co-authors. She particularly enjoys working with undergraduates who are interested in marine biology, ecology, genetics/genomics, and/or molecular biology.

Selected Papers, Publications, Presentations, & Exhibits

*Denotes undergraduate co-author

  • Nydam, M.L., Giesbrecht, K.B.*, Stephenson, E.E.* 2017a. Origin and dispersal history of two colonial ascidian clades in the Botryllus schlosseri species complex.  PLOS ONE 12: e0169944.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., Yanckello, L.M.*, Bialik, S.B.*, Giesbrecht, K.B.*, Nation, G.K.*, Peak, J.L.* 2017b. Introgression in two species of broadcast spawning marine invertebrate. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 120: 879-890. PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., Stephenson, E.E.*, Waldman, C.E.*, De Tomaso, A.W. 2017c. Balancing selection on allorecognition genes in the colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri.  Developmental and Comparative Immunology 69: 60-74.  PDF
  • Taketa, D.A., Nydam, M.L., Langenbacher, Rodriguez, D., Sanders, E.*, De Tomaso, A.W. 2015.  Molecular Evolution and in vitro Characterization of Botryllus histocompatibility factor.  Immunogenetics 67: 605-623.  PDF
  • Ilut, D., Nydam, M.L., Hare, M.P.  2014.  Defining loci in restriction-based reduced representation genomic data from nonmodel species: Sources of bias and diagnostics for optimal clustering.  BioMed Research International doi:10.1155/2014/675158.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., Neutschil, N., Sanders, E.*, Langenbacher, A., Lewis, D.L., Marimuthu, A., Gracey, A.Y., De Tomaso, A.W.  2013a.  The candidate histocompatibility locus of a basal chordate encodes two highly polymorphic proteins.  PLOS ONE.  8: e65980.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., Hoang, T.A., Shanley, K.M., De Tomaso, A.W.  2013b. Molecular evolution of a polymorphic HSP40-like protein encoded in the histocompatibility locus of an invertebrate chordate.  Developmental and Comparative Immunology 41: 128-136.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., Taylor, A.A.*, De Tomaso, A.W.  2013c.  Evidence for selection on a chordate histocompatibility locus.  Evolution 67: 487-500.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., De Tomaso, A.W.  2012.  The fester loci in Botryllus  schlosseri experience positive selection.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 12:249.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., De Tomaso, A.W.  2011.  Creation and maintenance of variation in allorecognition loci: molecular analysis in various model systems.  Frontiers in Molecular Innate Immunity 2: 79.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., Harrison, R.G.  2011.  Reproductive protein evolution in two cryptic species of marine chordate.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 11:18.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., Harrison, R.G.  2010a.  Polymorphism and divergence within the ascidian genus Ciona.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56: 718-726.  PDF
  • Nydam, M.L., Harrison, R.G.  2010b.  Introgression despite substantial divergence in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis.  Evolution 65: 429-442.  PDF
  • Ratcliffe, J.M., Nydam, M.L. 2008.  Multimodal warning signals for a multiple predator world.  Nature 455: 96-100.  PDF
  • Cabrera, D.A., Mandel, J., Andras, J., Nydam, M.L.  2008.  What is the crisis?  Defining and addressing the world’s most pressing problems.  Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6: 469-475.  PDF
  • Nydam M.L., Harrison R.G.  2007.  Genealogical relationships within and among shallow-water Ciona species (Ascidiacea).  Marine Biology 151: 1839-1847.  PDF
  • Nydam M.L., Stachowicz J.J.  2007.  Predator effects on fouling community development.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 337: 93-101.  PDF
  • Non-Refereed Publications:
  • Rypien, K.L., Anderson, J., Andras, J., Clark, R.W., Gerrish, G.A., Mandel, J.T., Nydam, M.L., Riskin, D.K.  2007.  Students unite to create State of the Planet course.  Nature 447: 775.  PDF

Courses Taught at SUA

  • Nature and Humanity (BIO 110)
  • Marine Biology (BIO 222)
  • Organisms to Ecosystems (BIO 141) 

Selected Honors & Awards

  • NSF REU Research Opportunity Award, 2019 ($17,999)
  • LUCE Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment, 2018 ($3,858)
  • Faculty Development Committee, Centre College, 2018 ($2,355)
  • Faculty Development Committee, Centre College, 2017 ($13,580)
  • NSF KY EPSCoR Research Enhancement Grant, 2016 ($25,000)
  • Development Office Research Grant, Centre College, 2016 ($1,500)
  • Faculty Development Committee, Centre College, 2016 ($2,500)
  • Faculty Development Committee, Centre College, 2015 ($9,700)
  • NSF KY EPSCoR Research Scholars Program, 2014 ($8,698)
  • Faculty Development Committee, Centre College, 2014 ($9,560)
  • Faculty Development Committee, Centre College, 2013 ($11,328)
  • Doreen J. Putrah Cancer Research Foundation Conference Fellowship, UCSB, 2011 and 2012 ($1,466)