Expert: Randall Morrison

McDaniel College Faculty Expert: Randall Morrison

Randall Morrison

Professor of Biology and Department Chair

Phone: 410-857-2409

Download a high-res photo »


Topics he can discuss include:

  • Color change, chameleons and other lizards
  • Conservation, Bahamas
  • Conservation, Madagascar
  • Herpetology

About Randall Morrison

Professor of Biology Randall Morrison is a cell biologist whose research focus is the production and use of skin color in lizards.

Students in Morrison's Cell Biology, Developmental Biology and Vertebrate Diversity courses travel with him to the islands of San Salvador and Andros in the Bahamas and to Madagascar to investigate the combinations of pigment cells used to generate color in lizard skin and the ways in which color change is accomplished. They also clone and sequence some of the genes involved in pigmentation in lizards, especially the Panther Chameleon. Morrison and his students have begun using a field spectrometer to measure the reflectance from the skin of various lizards. His most recent work focuses on the variability of tissue colors found in natural populations.

Morrison has co-authored many research articles, most recently in 2013, “Investigating Dry Forest Reptiles Using Unconventional Methods,” and in 2012, “The Role of Skin Colour in Madagascan Reptiles,” both in the peer-reviewed newsletter, Biodiversity Science. In 2006, his photo of a chameleon was named best cover art for the journal, Pigment Cell Research.

In 2003, Morrison was named in the Who's Who Among America's Teachers listing and in 1998 he was honored with the Young Faculty Young Investigator Award by the Pan American Society for Pigment Cell Research. His many professional memberships include the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, American Society for Cell Biology, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and International Federation of Pigment Cell Societies.

Morrison received a bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Dayton, a master's degree in zoology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Ph.D. in Cellular, Developmental and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas.

In the News

How Chameleons Change Colors
Randall Morrison, professor of Biology and Department Chair, comments on how tunable photonic crystals cause chameleons' quick shifts in skin shades in The Scientist. (March 10, 2015)

Investigating dry forest reptiles using unconventional methods
Randall Morrison, professor of Biology and Department Chair, co-wrote an article for Biodiversity Science about methods of tracking and identifying reptiles in northwestern Madagascar. (Dec. 2013)

The role of skin colour in Madagascan herpetofauna
An article in Biodiversity Science about a study looking at the skin color among a group of lizards in northwestern Madagascar was co-written by Randall Morrison, professor of Biology and Department Chair. (Dec. 2012)

More on Randall Morrison

Top graduate and undergraduate awards presented at Commencement
News@McDaniel  (May 24, 2014)

Biology and Biochemistry students to present research projects
News@McDaniel (April 9, 2013)

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