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Professor, Environmental Science

Director, M.S. in Environmental Studies Program

Contact Information

Pictured is Matthew Opdyke, Ph.D.


  • Bachelor of Science, Biology-Environmental Science, Mansfield University
  • Master of Science, Environmental Science, Indiana University at Bloomington, Ind.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Aquatic Biogeochemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Courses Taught

  • Biological Evolution
  • Botany
  • Ecology
  • General Chemistry
  • Introduction to Natural Sciences II
  • Politics and the Environment


Matthew Opdyke, Ph.D., is a professor of environmental science and director of the Master of Science in environmental studies program at Point Park University. Opdyke earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign studying the connection between stream geomorphology and nitrogen cycling in steams impacted by agriculture. He then pursued a postdoctoral research position at Michigan State University in East Lansing where his research focused on novel, stable isotope techniques to differentiate among sources of nitrous oxide in soils. As a professor at Point Park, Opdyke received external research grants to fund his research with students and send them to international conferences.

Opdyke's research projects include (1) assessing watershed health in preparation for a Coldwater Conservation Plan for Fishing Creek watershed (Columbia and Sullivan Counties, Pa.); (2) studying the application of lichens as indicators of habitat alteration and air quality; and (30) monitoring long-term changes in wetland plants following the rehabilitation of a floodplain wetland at Windfield Pines in Bridgeville, Pa.

Curriculum Vitae


Selected Publications

  • "Checklist of Lichens of Crawford County, Pennsylvania," co-authored with Joshua Daugherty, Evansia, March 2016.
  • "M.R. Cladistics: A Tool for Teaching about Evolutionary Relationships," Green Teacher, 95:31-35, 2012.
  • "Wingfield Pines Wetland Plant Monitoring Report 2008-2012," Final Grant Report, Allegheny Land Trust, Sewickley, Pa., 2012.
  • "A study of epiphytic lichen communities in urban and rural environments in southwestern Pennsylvania," (with B.E. Dolney, L. Frost, and J.D. Roy) Journal of Pennsylvania Academy of Science, 85:151-158, 2011.
  • "Fishing Creek Watershed Coldwater Conservation Plan 2009-2011," Final Grant Report, Coldwater Heritage Partnership, Harrisburg, Pa. 2011.

Selected Presentations

  • "Project Bee Watch: Increasing the Awareness of Pollinators through Citizen Science," Ecological Society of America conference, Louisville, Ky., Aug. 11-16, 2019.
  • "Coldwater conservation plan for Fishing Creek," (with R.S. Opdyke), Columbia County, Pa., Keystone Coldwater Conference, 2012.
  • "Monitoring wetland plant diversity and growth at Wingfield Pines," Allegheny Land Trust Open Forum Meeting, 2012.
  • "Distribution and diversity of lichen communities influenced by urbanization in southwestern Pennsylvania," Botanical Society of America, 2012.
  • "Gigapan Technology: A web-based platform for ecological research and outreach" and "Dendrochronology as an assessment tool of tree growth in wetland restoration projects," Ecological Society of America Meeting, 2011 and 2009.
  • "Results of developing a Coldwater Conservation Plan in Fishing Creek watershed in Columbia and Sullivan Counties, Pa.," Fishing Creek Sportsman Association special meeting, July 2011.
  • "What are Lichens and What Do They Say About Air Quality in Our Region," Café Scientifique-Pittsburgh, May 2011.
  • "What Fluffy Dust, Candle Flame and Other Lichens Tell us About the Air," interviewed by The Allegheny Front, Sept. 2010.

Research Interests

  • Lichens as indicators of anthropogenic disturbances
  • Aquatic ecology and the relationship between fluvial geomorphology, water quality and biological diversity
  • Wetland ecology and restoration

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