Dr David Boshier D. Phil, MSc, BSc, AKC
Senior Research Associate
Dr DH Boshier
Reproductive biology and population genetics of trees
My research focuses on the genetics of tree populations, human impacts (e.g. fragmentation, logging) on such populations and applications to issues of use and conservation in natural and agro-ecosystems. Recent research has focussed on the genetic effects of fragmentation on remnant stands and trees, which are currently under debate. Whilst fragmentation may reduce populations below critical size and gene flow to levels below that needed to prevent genetic drift, it may also increase or alter patterns of gene flow between remnant populations. Consequently, even in severely fragmented landscapes, remnant forest patches and trees may be effective and important in conserving genetic diversity.
With Tonya Lander and Stephen Harris we are investigating how land-uses vary in the degree to which they present a barrier to, or facilitate, gene flow, depending on the ecological requirements of the organism and the ecological attributes of the matrix. The study focuses on an endangered endemic tree from Chile, Gomortega keule
(queule; Gomortagaceae), using an ecologically explicit landscape. Our results may have significant implications for; theoretical landscape ecology, how habitat corridors and biological reserves are designed, and landscapes maybe simultaneously managed for conservation, economic and social value. This is part of a Darwin Initiative
As part of the SEEDSOURCE
project (with Paul Rymer, Christina Vinson, Sarah Rendell) we use field and laboratory techniques to study the genetic resources of neotropical trees (partners in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, UK, France, Germany, Italy). The overall aim is to provide best practice for sourcing tree germplasm for use within degraded landscapes to ensure the use of best adapted material, that maximises production, without eroding genetic and ecosystem diversity and long term adaptive potential. Integration of climatic, topographic and substrate information with genetic differentiation and diversity estimates from non-coding and potentially coding genetic markers and adaptive performance from growth trials to produce appropriate translocation guidelines for 16 study species. Work at Oxford covers Cordia alliodora, Pachira quinata
, and Swietenia humilis
I am actively involved with the Future Trees Trust
developing breeding strategies for their seven target species.
I am also the Director of Science and Research at the Earth Trust
Application of research results
I am also interested in knowledge exchange through the development of appropriate materials.
As part of the SEEDSOURCE
project and in conjunction with Bioversity International
(for whom I am an Honorary Research Fellow), I am developing a series of training modules for use in the teaching of forest genetic resources. Each module uses actual data and visual teacher resources to examine the relevance and use of genetic information in the formulation and implementation of conservation actions. With Jesus Cordero-Salvado and researchers at CATIE, we published the book Central American trees: source book for extension workers
. This book was also the focus for a training programme on the production of extension materials throughout Central America.
Boshier Group Members
Publications (while at this department)
2012) Recent phylogeographic structure in a widespread 'weedy' Neotropical tree species, Cordia alliodora (Boraginaceae) Journal of Biogeography..
2011) The Circe Principle Explains How Resource-Rich Land Can Waylay Pollinators in Fragmented Landscapes Current Biology..
2010) Aquaporins in the wild: Natural genetic diversity and selective pressure in the PIP gene family in five Neotropical tree species BMC Evolutionary Biology. 10 (1):.
2010) Fragmented but not isolated: Contribution of single trees, small patches and long-distance pollen flow to genetic connectivity for Gomortega keule, an endangered Chilean tree Biological Conservation. 143 (11): pp 2583-2590.
2010) A participatory process for identifying and prioritizing policy-relevant research questions in natural resource management: A case study from the UK forestry sector Forestry. 83 (4): pp 357-367.
2009) Flower and fruit production and insect pollination of the endangered Chilean tree, Gomortega keule in native forest, exotic pine plantation and agricultural environments Revista Chilena de Historia Natural. 82 (3): pp 403-412
2007) Isolation and characterization of eight polymorphic microsatellite loci for the endangered, endemic Chilean tree Gomortega keule (Gomortegaceae) Molecular Ecology Notes. 7 (6): pp 1332-1334.
2007) Results of an international provenance trial of Cordia alliodora in SaÌƒo Paulo, Brazil at five and 23 years of age Silvae Genetica. 56: pp 110-117
2005) How local is local? Identifying the scale of adaptive variation in ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.): Results from the nursery Forestry. 78 (2): pp 135-143.
2005) Genetic resource impacts of habitat loss and degradation; reconciling empirical evidence and predicted theory for neotropical trees Heredity. 95 (4): pp 255-273.
2002) Increased pollen flow counteracts fragmentation in a tropical dry forest: An example from Swietenia humilis Zuccarini Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 99 (4): pp 2038-2042.
2001) Ecology provides a pragmatic solution to the maintenance of genetic diversity in sustainably managed tropical rain forests Forest Ecology and Management. 154: pp 1-10.
1997) Mating system in Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam Tropical Agricultural Research. 9: pp 1-14
1995) Population genetics of Cordia alliodora (Boraginaceae), a neotropical tree. 3. Gene flow, neighborhood, and population substructure American Journal of Botany. 82 (4): pp 484-490
1995) Incompatibility in Cordia alliodora (Boraginaceae), a neotropical tree Canadian Journal of Botany. 73 (3): pp 445-456
1995) Population genetics of Cordia alliodora (Boraginaceae), a neotropical tree. 2. Mating system American Journal of Botany. 82 (4): pp 476-483
1995) Population genetics of Cordia alliodora (Boraginaceae), a neotropical tree. 1. Genetic variation in natural populations American Journal of Botany. 82 (4): pp 468-475
Future Trees Trust
SEEDSOURCE: European Union Sixth Framework Programme: project no. EVK2-CT-2001-00108
Dr Stephen Cavers, CEH, Scotland
Dr Judy Loo, Dr Michele Bozzano, Dr Barbara Vinceti, Bioversity International, Italy
Dr Milton Kanashiro, EMBRAPA, Belem, Brazil
Dr John Beer, Dr Bryan Finegan, CATIE, Costa Rica
Forestry Research Agency, Scotland
Prof Peter Kanowski, Australian National University