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Evolution and diversity

Work encompassed in this theme focuses on analysing the macro-evolutionary and micro-evolutionary processes which lead to patterns of species-level, sub-specific and genomic diversity.

Headline research projects for this theme:

Disorder in nanoscale ridges on petals has evolved repeatedly and helps attract pollinators. Leads: Beverly Glover and Edwige Moyroud.

Living collections in global botanic garden networks contribute to a global strategy in ex-situ plant conservation. Lead: Sam Brockington.

Species diversification: absolute seed size and the rate of change in seed size were both associated with diversification rates in over 13,000 angiosperm species. Lead: Andrew Tanentzap.

Associated research groups:

Contributing research groups from associated institutions:

Some projects will be specifically targeted towards defined UKRI Research Council DTP schemes, as well as being open for applicants applying to the University's Postgraduate Funding Competition or other sources of funding.

Potential applicants should always approach the potential Supervisor/Group Leader in the first instance to discuss eligibility.

Key to funding opportunities below:

  • GFC = Postgraduate Funding Competition,
  • NERC = Cambridge NERC C-CLEAR DTP,
  • OTHER = Other sources of funding


Title Description
Brockington Group: Understanding the rules of convergent evolution NERC / UF / OTHER
Brockington Group: Why do plants accumulate animal-type neurotransmitters? NERC / UF / OTHER
Brockington Group: Defining the evolutionary mechanisms underlying a novel eukaryotic gene cluster NERC / UF / OTHER
Coomes Group: *Priority CASE Project* Restoring Scotland’s Native Woodlands: understanding benefits and constraints using the Cairngorms Connect landscape restoration project NERC / UF / OTHER
Coomes Group: A hard nut to crack: the evolution, ecology and conservation of tropical oaks NERC / UF / OTHER
Coomes Group: Will forests be effective nature-based solutions as the world’s climate changes? NERC / UF / OTHER
Glover Group: Development of the light-focusing prism cells of California poppy UF / OTHER
Glover Group: Iridescence in flowers – how and why? UF / OTHER
Henderson Group: Unlocking recombination in plant genomes via epigenetic modification UF / OTHER
Henderson Group: Understanding interactions between genetic diversity and recombination in plant genomes UF / OTHER
Henderson Group: Mapping and remodeling the recombination landscape in Chlamydomonas UF / OTHER
Tanentzap Group: Thawing Arctic: productivity and sources of carbon cycling in small lakes NERC / UF / OTHER
Tanentzap Group: Invisible world: the biogeography of molecular and microbial diversity in European lakes NERC / UF / OTHER
Tanentzap Group: Exploring the role of fungi in mediating crop-weed interactions NERC / UF / OTHER
Tanentzap Group: *Priority CASE Project* Sensing natural climate solutions: is forest management leaking carbon into receiving waters? NEC / UF / OTHER

The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.