James J. Clarkson

Career Development Fellow in Conservation Genetics


Job title: 
Career Development Fellow in Conservation Genetics
Conservation Science


My role as a Research Fellow in the Conservation Genetics section involves utilising genetic and genomic datasets to inform conservation management. I am involved in many conservation genetics projects including studying endangered, threatened and vulnerable species living in Australian desert environments using RAD Seq (generously funded by Kew Foundation). I also have a particular interest in the role that polyploidy has played in the success of invasive species. Another of my projects investigates how polyploidy and hybridisation effect the evolution and classification of the allotetraploid marsh orchids (Dactylorhiza). I supervise a NERC DTP student (PhD) studying the population genetics of endangered orchids (started March 2017). I’m a co-investigator on a project funded by The Harding Foundation entitled Plant-fungal interactions in Alpine ecosystems. Our aim is to determine the population structure of ectomycorrhizal plants in alpine environments to evaluate the threats facing fragile alpine ecosystems.


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Upper second class (2:1) Hons), De Montfort Univ. (Leicester, England), 1998
  • PhD, Univ. London (Queen Mary College), 2006
  • Awarded Manton prize for best PhD thesis in plant sciences 2006
  • Awarded Menzel prize for best genetics talk at Botany 2010 conference
  • Elected Fellow of Linnean Society 2014
  • Elected to Systematics Association Council 2017


Selected publications: 

Clarkson, J.J., Dodsworth, S. & Chase, M.W. (2017). Time-calibrated phylogenetic trees establish a lag between polyploidisation and diversification in Nicotiana (Solanaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution DOI: 10.1007/s00606-016-1356-9

Landrein, S., Buerki, S., Wang, H.F. & Clarkson, J.J. (2017). Untangling the reticulate history of species complexes and horticultural breeds in Abelia (Caprifoliaceae). Annals of Botany DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcw1279.

Clarkson, J.J., Pennington, T.D., Chase, M.W., Haynes, G., Engstrand, R., Kaye, M., Michalak, I. & Muellner, A.N. (2016). Phylogenetic relationships in Trichilia (Meliaceae) based on ribosomal ITS sequences. Phytotaxa 259:6-17.

Koenen, E.J.M., Clarkson, J.J., Pennington, T.D. & Chatrou, L.W. (2015). Recently evolved diversity and convergent radiations of rainforest mahoganies (Meliaceae) shed new light on the origins of rainforest hyperdiversity. New Phytologist 207:327-339.

Clarkson, J.J., Kelly, L.J., Leitch, A.R., Knapp, S. & Chase, M.W. (2010). Nuclear glutamine synthetase evolution in Nicotiana: phylogenetics and the origins of allotetraploid and homoploid (diploid) hybrids. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55: 99-112.