Forest genetics is the study of genetic variation in forest tree species. In a broad sense forest genetics is concerned with how genes move within and among populations and the forces that shape gene frequencies. Tree improvement, a branch of forest genetics, produces seedlings for reforestation or restoration work that have increased growth rates, disease resistance and wood quality while still preserving their adaptation to local growing conditions. Breeders accomplish this goal by managing the genetic variation in a population so that the frequency of the desired genes is increased.
My primary research interests are (a) application of breeding strategies and silvicultural systems to increase forest productivity, (b) the evaluation and creation of increased blister rust resistance in eastern white pine, and (c) impacts of disturbance on the genetic integrity of forested populations.
Students that work with me on research projects typically have backgrounds in one or more of the following: forestry, genetics, silviculture, plant physiology, plant pathology, nursery management, or statistics.