Dr Stephen Cavers
Current work and research interests
My research concerns genetic diversity, gene flow and adaptation in plants. Working with UK and international partners, I have studied how genetic variation is organised in populations, how this structure relates to life history characteristics and how such information can be used for better management and conservation of threatened species. Combined quantitative and population genetic approaches are used to identify demographic and evolutionary factors shaping genetic diversity and population structure and allow more thorough assessment of genetic resources for conservation. Recently, the importance of gene flow patterns and the consequences of forest fragmentation and restoration, e.g. through alteration of mating systems, have been explored in Scotland, Central America and Africa. Building on the knowledge gained on adaptive divergence within species, new research has begun to explore the link between trees as keystone organisms and other trophic levels.
Key Species: Cedrela odorata, Swietenia macrophylla, Vochysia ferruginea, Prunus africana, Pinus sylvestris, Quercus spp., Acacia senegal.
Current Group Members
Matti Salmela (PhD), Emily Barlow (PhD), Frazer Sinclair (PhD), Anandan Govindarajulu (M.Sc.), Cecile Bacles (staff), Katherine Walker (staff), Sam Davies (staff / PhD), Fernando Arenal (MSc), Gustavo Hernandez (MSc), Judith Nantongo (MSc), Tereza Rieglova (MSc), Jess Shepherd (MSc), Patrick Home Robertson (MSc), Annelise Decorde, Charlotte Aubrey (MSc), Chris Brown (MSc), Tom Heller (MSc)
See also the NERC Open Research Archive.
Odee et al (2012) Prospects for genetic improvement of Acacia senegal: can molecular data deliver better yield and gum quality? In: Kennedy, John F; Phillips, Glyn O; Williams, Peter A, (eds.) Gum Arabic. Cambridge, Royal Society of Chemistry, 99-109, 347pp.
Salmela et al (2011) Seasonal patterns of photosynthetic activity and spring phenology reveal genetic differentiation among native Scots pine. Forest Ecology and Management. 262(6):1020-1029
Barlow et al (2011) Weak global population genetic structure in a philopatric seabird, the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). IBIS. 153(4): 768-778
Kremer et al (2011) Forest ecosystem genomics and adaptation: EVOLTREE conference report. Tree Genetics and Genomes, 7 (4). 869-875.
Navarro et al (2011) Seed Sourcing Recommendations for Forest Restoration: Impacts of Tree Isolation on Progeny Performance of Cedar and Mahogany in the Neotropics. In: Montagnini, Florencia; Finney, Christopher, (eds.) Restoring Degraded landscapes with native species in Latin America. New York, Nova Science Publishers, 51-62.
Telford et al (2011) Can genetic bar-coding be used to identify aquatic Ranunculus L. subgenus Batrachium (DC) A. Gray? A test using some species from the British Isles. Aquatic Botany, 95 (1). 65-70.
Wachowiak et al (2011) High genetic diversity at the extreme range edge: nucleotide variation at nuclear loci in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Scotland. Heredity, 106. 775-787. 10.1038/hdy.2010.118 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/hdy.2010.118>
Davies et al (2010) Genetic consequences of multigenerational and landscape colonisation bottlenecks for a neotropical forest pioneer tree, Vochysia ferruginea. Tropical Plant Biology, 3 (1). 14-27.
Lemes et al (2010) Chloroplast DNA Microsatellites Reveal Contrasting Phylogeographic Structure in Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King, Meliaceae) from Amazonia and Central America. Tropical Plant Biology, 3 (1). 40-49.
Omondi et al (2010) Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Acacia senegal (L) Willd. in Kenya. Tropical Plant Biology, 3 (1). 59-70.
Nantongo et al (2010) Structuring of genetic diversity in Albizia gummifera C.A.Sm. among some East African and Madagascan populations. Journal of African Ecology
Ingleby et al (2007) Mycorrhizas in agroforestry: spread and sharing of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi between trees and crops. Plant and Soil. 294:125–136.
Cavers et al (2005) Optimal sampling strategy for estimation of spatial genetic structure in tree populations. Heredity.
Cavers et al (2003) Chloroplast DNA phylogeography reveals colonisation history of a Neotropical tree, Cedrela odorata L., in Mesoamerica. Molecular Ecology 12, 1451-1460.