Professor; Director, Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center
As Director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center, my professional objectives are to meet the research needs of Cornell University and the extension needs of the horticultural industries on Long Island and in New York. My research program has elements of basic research as well as applied projects that are need-driven. Research interests are in the areas of new plant development and breeding, plant environment interactions, plant cell and tissue culture, in vitro plant breeding, plant propagation, genetic modifications for plant improvement, and plant growth and development of ornamental plants. Specific in vitro breeding techniques include somaclonal and gametoclonal variation, embryo culture, somatic embryogenesis, mutation breeding, meristem culture for the production of pathogen free plants, micropropagation, and in vitro fertilization. Specific applied studies pertain to herbaceous ornamental plants, field-grown cut flower production, use of high tunnels for season extension, plant propagation, greenhouse crop production, and cultivar evaluations.
My primary research interests are in the areas of new plant development and breeding, plant environment interactions, plant cell and tissue culture, in vitro plant breeding, genetic modifications for plant improvement, plant propagation, and plant growth and development of floricultural and ornamental plants. Specific in vitro breeding techniques include somaclonal and gametoclonal variation, embryo culture, somatic embryogenesis, mutation breeding, meristem culture for the production of pathogen free plants and in vitro fertilization. Specific applied studies focus on herbaceous ornamental plants, field-grown cut flower production, use of high tunnels for season extension, plant propagation, greenhouse crop production, and cultivar evaluations. Since coming to Cornell, I've developed and patented two ornamental Alstroemerias: 'Tangerine Tango' (2012) and 'Mauve Majesty' (2007).
Outreach and Extension Focus
My extension and outreach focus on floriculture and greenhouse horticulture including field-grown cut flowers, season extension, high tunnels, herbaceous ornamental plant evaluation, greenhouse production of poinsettias, field-grown chrysanthemums, and more. Another non-horticulture area of extension is chickens for homeowners. My extension programs are conducted on Long Island and statewide. Educational programs, such as conferences, all-season demonstrations, open houses, field days, workshops, and symposia keep growers and horticulture professionals informed and in touch with our research findings. Information that is developed here is shared at local, state and national levels through presentations, professional trade press and refereed publications, the LIHREC Annual Report and newsletters. Information is also available from fact sheets and internet postings and websites. I make site visits to local greenhouses and other horticultural businesses when appropriate for diagnosis, research or implementation studies.
Plant propagation, the multiplication of plants, is both a science and an art. This class introduces the principles, practices and techniques of sexual and asexual propagation of horticultural plants. The science of plant propagation is taught by explaining plant physiology, cultural practices and characteristics of plants. The art of plant propagation is learned by completing laboratory exercises. Seed propagation, cutting propagation, grafting & budding systems, layering, specialized plant structures (bulbs, corms, etc.), and tissue culture for micropropagation are discussed and practiced.
The world is in a period of unprecedented environmental change. This course examines the causes and consequences of changes in biological diversity, and allows students to understand plant biodiversity and the impacts with human interactions. This class is designed to be a combination of classroom and experiential learning in order to link theory with conservation.
The objectives of the class are 1.To understand biodiversity, specifically, plant biodiversity: how is it perceived, valued, measured, monitored, and protected in the broadest sense. 2. To appreciate the main concerns surrounding biodiversity, to explore the scientific evidence that shows how and why Earth’s biological resources are being altered, and to understand social and economic consequences of the loss of biodiversity. 3. To follow-up the classroom learning with a travel abroad experience that offers a hands-on study and exploration of wild and native plants, commercial breeding programs, botanical gardens/arboreta, etc. 4. To learn how to work cooperatively to gather and present information.
Awards and Honors
- Fulbright Scholar (2014) Council for International Exchange of Scholars
- Patent of Alstroemeria 'Tangerine Tango' (2011) US Patent Office
- Daughtrey, M. L., & Bridgen, M. P. (2013). Evaluating resistance to Botrytis elliptica in field-grown lilies. Acta Horticulturae. 1002:313-318.
- Bridgen, M. P. (2013). Producing late-season cut lily flowers. Acta Horticulturae. 1002:89-94.
- Miller, C. T., & Bridgen, M. P. (2010). Daylength affects rhizome development and plant growth of two Achimenes cultivars. Proceedings of the International Plant Propagators' Society. 60:386-389.
- Miller, C. T., & Bridgen, M. P. (2010). Effects of storage period on growth and development in five Achimenes cultivars. HortTechnology. 20:377-380.
- Bridgen, M. P. (2009). 2008 Herbert Medalist Biography. Herbertia. 62:12-35.
- Bridgen, M. P., Kollman, E. E., & Lu, C. (2009). Interspecific hybridization of Alstroemeria for the development of new, ornamental plants. Acta Horticulturae. 836:73-78.
- Mattson, N. S., & Bridgen, M. P. (2009). Nutrient leaching from garden mums fertilized using water soluble fertilizer, controlled release fertilizer or a combination program. HortScience. 44:1072-1073.
- Miller, C., & Bridgen, M. P. (2004). Photoperiod and stock plant age effects on shoot, stolon, and rhizome formation response from leaf cuttings of Achimenes. Acta Horticulturae. 673:349-353.
- Yanez, P., Bridgen, M. P., Penailillo, P., & Schiappacasse, F. (2004). Propagation studies on Chilean geophytes. Acta Horticulturae. 673:121-126.
- Olate, E., & Bridgen, M. P. (2004). Techniques for the in vitro propagation of Rhodophiala and Leucocoryne spp. Acta Horticulturae. 673:335-342.
Presentations and Activities
- Micropropagation of Vitex agnus-castus. International Plant Propagators’ Society annual meeting. September 2016. International Plant Propagators’ Society. Hartford, CT.
- Exploration of the Atacama Desert. October 2013. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Chile.
- Valor ornamental de la flora nativa Chilena y su uso en el Mejoramiento Genético. Plant Breeding Conference. October 2013. Universidad de Chile. Santiago, Chile.
- Valor ornamental de la flora nativa Chilena y su uso en el Mejoramiento Genético. Tercer Congreso Nacional de Flora Nativa. September 2013. Universidad de Chile. Santiago, Chile.
- Explorando, preservando, y utilizando la biodiversidad de Chile: Un curso novedoso para estudiantes de posgrado. Tercer Congreso Nacional de Flora Nativa. September 2013. Universidad de Chile. Santiago, Chile.
- Irradiación UV-C como método de esterilización para la propagación in vitro de rizomas de Alstroemeria. Tercer Congreso Nacional de Flora Nativa. September 2013. Universidad de Chile. Santiago, Chile.
- Art Weekend. Art Weekend. July 2013. North Shore Art Guild. Riverhead, NY.
- Open House. Open House. July 2013. Cornell University LIHREC. Riverhead, NY.
- Plant Science Day. Plant Science Day. July 2013. Cornell University LIHREC. Riverhead, NY.
- Backyard Chickens. North Fork Hen House Tour. June 2013. Cornell University. North Fork of eastern Long Island.