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My research concerns genetic diversity, gene flow and adaptation in plants. Working with UK and international partners, I study how genetic variation is organised in populations and how this diversity arises from population history and adaptation. I use a combination of molecular and quantitative genetic approaches to identify the demographic and evolutionary factors that shape genetic diversity, and to assess genetic resources for conservation and use.
Qualifications: PhD, University of Edinburgh (2002); MSc Ecology, University of Wales, Bangor (1998); BSc Chemistry, University of Edinburgh (1994).
Current Research Projects
B4EST - Adaptive breeding for productive, sustainable and resilient forests under climate change (EU Horizon 2020)
GENTREE - Optimising the management and sustainable use of forest genetic resources in Europe (EU Horizon 2020)
SUNRISE - Sustainable use of natural resources to improve human health and support economic development (NERC)
Scotlands Plant Health Centre - Scottish Government Centre of Expertise on Plant Health
EVOLTREE - A research network combining Ecology, Genetics, Genomics and Evolution, to address global issues that European forests are currently facing, such as environmental changes and the erosion of biodiversity. Includes 32 research groups in 23 European countries.
PROTREE - Promoting resilience of UK tree species to novel pests and pathogens: ecological and evolutionary solutions. A collaborative research project from the Living With Environmental Change programme and part of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative.
GAP - Genomics of Adaptation in Pines. A NERC discovery science grant focussed on the genetic basis of adaptation in Scots pine and its close relatives to environmental variation across their ranges.
Largescale - An international research project, funded by the German government, to develop a DNA-based system for species identification and origin tracking of tropical timber.
MaPFGR - Forest Genetic Resources of Marginal and Peripheral tree populations. An EU COST action to promote collaboration in research on the genetic resources of unique and threatened range edge populations of European forest trees.
Current PhD Students
Tracie Evans (NERC) How do landscapes affect plant – pollinator interactions and plant mating systems?, University of Edinburgh.
Cristina Rosique-Esplugas (Forestry Commission) Can native woodlands evolve to cope with climate change? Measuring adaptive potential in Silver Birch, Ash and Rowan., University of Edinburgh.
Patricia Gonzalez-Diaz (Scottish Forestry Trust) How environment and gene flow shape adaptation in Scots pine, University of Stirling.
Jim Downie (Edinburgh University studentship) Ecological interactions and evolutionary responses in Caledonian pinewoods, University of Edinburgh.