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Gerry Douglas

Researcher Officer

Research Interests

  • Genetic improvement of broadleaved tree species for forestry
  • Developing technologies for large scale deployment of improved material via vegetative propagation and seed orchards and its demonstration in conventional forest and agroforestry systems
  • Molecular methods for characterisation of breeding material, species, provenances, populations and putative hybrids of ash (Fraxinus) and other tree species
  • Mutation breeding of ornamental shrubs and trees

Current Projects

  • Developing ash tree genetic resources with resistance to ash dieback (Chalara) and breeding technologies
  • Improving the genetic quality of hardwood trees for farmers, specifically ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) Reference - Douglas GC, Pliura A, Dufour A, Mertens P, Jacques D, J. Fernandez-Manjares JF,   Buiteveld J, Parnuta Gh, Tudoroiu M, Curnel Y, Thomasset M, Jensen V, Knudsen M, Foffova E, Chandelier A, Steenackers M. ( 2013) Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior )  IN: Forest Tree Breeding in Europe Current state-of-the-art and Perspectives, Managing Forest Ecosystems Vol 25:  Springer, ISBN 978-94-007-61 46-9 pp 403-462    
  • AgroCop - Innovative agroforestry systems:  Investigating the potential of using land to produce coppiced willow together with high value hardwood trees.
  • Investigation of genetic resistance to ash dieback disease Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (anamorph Chalara fraxinea) and development of disease resistant ash planting stock - This is a four year project funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine 2016-2020. It investigates the identification and selection of ash trees with a high tolerance / resistance to ash dieback disease, caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (Chalara) . When Chalara tolerant material is obtained the trees will be bulked up vegetatively and used in various ways for further development by breeding.

    Although ash dieback disease has been confirmed as present in all counties in Ireland, the disease is at an early stage and tree damage is minor in many cases. To identify Chalara tolerant trees, the disease pressure needs to be high. Therefore we aim to screen 1000 individual trees in an environment of high disease pressure abroad. The selection of individual trees for screening is based on their stem form and growth rates in Irish forest plantations. We expect 1-2% of trees to show a high degree of tolerance with unaffected shoot growth in the screening trials. The Chalara tolerant material will then be bulked up vegetatively with the aim of developing polyclonal varieties that can be widely deployed. In addition all tolerant trees can also be used to establish seed producing orchards that will yield seed progeny with a high level of tolerance to Chalara. The mechanisms of infection of ash by the fungus will also be investigated as part of this project. Reference: McCracken AR , Douglas GC, Ryan C, Destefanis M , Cooke LR (2017) Ash dieback on the island of Ireland, in: “Dieback of European Ash (Fraxinus spp.): Consequences and Guidelines for Sustainable Management”  The Report on European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST) Action FP1 103 FRAXBACK pp. 125-139 Edited by: Vasaitis R. and Enderle R. Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (in press as a hard copy and open access at: http://www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/org/inst/mykopat/forskning/stenlid/dieback-of-european-ash.pdf  ISBN (print version) 978-91-576-8696-1



 

Education

  • PhD in Cell Biology “ Somatic and Sexual Hybridisation in Nicotiana  Carleton University Ottawa, Canada, - Research undertaken at Agriculture Canada;
  • Higher Diploma in Education. (National University Ireland;
  • B. Agr. Science (Hort) University College Dublin, Ireland.

Contracts and affiliations

  • Coordinator of European Commission projects: EC ECLAIR programme EC No. 0062 Feb. 1991-1995 and EC Fifth Framework project CT 00631, 2001-2004.
  • Coordinator /  contractor several projects funded by COFORD/ Department of Agriculture (propagation, genetic diversity, hybridisation, conservation) on ash, oak, elm wild cherry; currently ‘ New Forest Management Research to enhance productivity and pest and disease resistance in key forest species’ 2016-2020.
  • Teagasc partner in the EC Networking project on tree breeding TREEBEREEDEX    http://www.trees4future.eu/transnational-accesses/treebreedex.html   and  FPS COST Actions  FP1103 FRAXBACK  2012-2016 http://www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/fps/FP1103 and COST E42 Growing Valuable Broadleaves. 2006 – 2009: http://www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/fps/E42
  • Partner in the British and Irish Hardwood Programme ‘Future Tree Trust’:  http://www.futuretrees.org/ .
  • Research Associate with Trinity College Dublin since 2010. 
  • Member of the Forest Genetic Resources Group for the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). Editorial boards Scientia Horticulturae         
  • Editorial Board of:  “ Scientia Horticulturae” from 1988 -2016  and Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture – An International Journal on Biotechnology of Higher plants” 1990  - 2006

 

  • Sollars ESA, Harper AL, Kelly LJ, Ramirez-Gonzalez RH, Swarbreck D, Kaithakottil G, Cooper ED, Sambles C, Uauy C, Havlickova L, Worswick G, Studholme DJ, Zohren J, Salmon DL, Clavijo BJ, Zhesi Yi Li He, Fellgett A,  McKinney LV, Nielsen LR, Douglas GC, Kjær ED, Downie JA, Boshier D, Lee S,  Clark J, Grant M, Bancroft I, Caccamo M, Buggs RJA  (2017): Genome sequence and diversity of European ash trees. Nature 541.7636 212-216 url: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature20786 
  • McCracken AR , Douglas GC, Ryan C, Destefanis M , Cooke LR (2017) Ash dieback on the island of Ireland, in: “Dieback of European Ash (Fraxinus spp.): Consequences and Guidelines for Sustainable Management”  The Report on European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST) Action FP1 103 FRAXBACK pp. 125-139 Edited by: Vasaitis R. and Enderle R. Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (in press as a hard copy and open access at: http://www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/org/inst/mykopat/forskning/stenlid/dieback-of-european-ash.pdf  ISBN (print version) 978-91-576-8696-1 
  • Douglas GC, McNamara J, O’Connell K, Dunne L, Grant J (2017):  Vegetative propagation of dieback-tolerant Fraxinus excelsior on a commercial scale  in: “Dieback of European Ash (Fraxinus spp.): Consequences and Guidelines for Sustainable Management”  The Report on European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST) Action FP1 103 FRAXBACK pp. 288-299 Edited by: Vasaitis R. and Enderle R. Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (in press as a hard copy and open access at: http://www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/org/inst/mykopat/forskning/stenlid/dieback-of-european-ash.pdf 
  • AThomasset M, T R Hodkinson, G Restoux, N Frascaria-Lacoste, G C Douglas and J F Fernández-Manjarrés (2014) Thank  you for not flowering: conservation genetics and gene flow analysis of native and non-native populations of Fraxinus (Oleaceae) in Ireland,  Heredity  112:  596–606;  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24424162
  • Gallone Angelo, Alan Hunter and Gerry C. Douglas (2014) Efficient Polyploid Induction in vitro using Colchicine and Oryzalin on Hebe ‘Oratia Beauty’ Scientia Horticulturae 179:59-66 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266320587_Polyploid_induction_in_vitro_using_colchicine_and_oryzalin_on_Hebe_%27Oratia_Beauty%27_Production_and_characterization_of_the_vegetative_trai 
  • Morhart Christopher D. & Gerry C. Douglas & Christian Dupraz & Anil R. Graves & Michael Nahm & Pierluigi Paris & Udo H. Sauter & Jonathan Sheppard & Heinrich Spiecker (2014)  Alley coppice—a new system with ancient roots  Annals of Forest Science: Volume 71, Issue 5  Page 527-542  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13595-014-0373-5 
  • A. C, Colin T Kelleher, Gerry C Douglas and Trevor R Hodkinson (2014) High levels of gene flow and genetic diversity in Irish populations of Salix caprea L. inferred from chloroplast and nuclear SSR markers. BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:202 doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0202-xMS ID: 12870_2014_202
  • R, McAdam J, Douglas GC  (2014) Alley Coppice: Combining Willow SRC with Poplar and Cherry trees European Agroforestry Conference: integrating science & policy to promote agroforestry practice (2nd). Editor in chief,  João HN Palma, ISBN: 987-972-97874-4-7. pp. 255-256. http://www.repository.utl.pt/handle/10400.5/6764
  • E., Douglas G.C. Kelly D. K., Barth S., Kelleher C.T. and Hodkinson T.R. (2013) A parentage and dispersal study of seedling, sapling, mature and veteran oaks (Q. robur L.) in an Irish native woodland using microsatellite analysis. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Vol 113B, No. 2, 1-13  6: 114 – 128
  • Perdereau,A.  Gerry C. Douglas, Trevor R. Hodkinson, and Colin T. Kelleher ( 2013)  High levels of variation in Salix lignocellulose genes revealed using poplar genomic resources. Biotechnology for Biofuels 6: 114 – 128 http://t-stor.teagasc.ie/bitstream/11019/456/1/1754-6834-6-114.pdf
  • Douglas GC, Pliura A, Dufour A, Mertens P, Jacques D, J. Fernandez-Manjares JF,   Buiteveld J, Parnuta Gh, Tudoroiu M, Curnel Y, Thomasset M, Jensen V, Knudsen M, Foffova E, Chandelier A, Steenackers M. ( 2013) Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior )  IN: Forest Tree Breeding in Europe Current state-of-the-art and Perspectives, Managing Forest Ecosystems Vol 25:  Springer, ISBN 978-94-007-61 46-9 pp 403-462 .
  • Muriel Thomasset, Juan F. Fernández-Manjarrés, Gerry C. Douglas, Paola Bertolino, Natalie Frascaria-Lacoste and Trevor R. Hodkinson (2012) Characterization of introduced hybrid ash (Fraxinus excelsior x F. angustifolia) in Ireland reveals cryptic hybrids and possible multiple source populations. European Journal of Forest Research. Vol 131, pp1-15. http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10342-012-0667-9
  • Thomasset M, Fernández-Manjarrés JF, Douglas GC, Frascaria- Lacoste N, Raquin C, Hodkinson TR (2011) Molecular and morphological characterization of reciprocal F1 hybrid ash (Fraxinus excelsior F. angustifolia, Oleaceae) and parental species reveals asymmetric character inheritance. International Journal of Plant Sciences 172, (3) 423-433. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/658169
  • Thomasset M, Fernández-Manjarrés JF, Douglas GC, Frascaria-Lacoste N, Hodkinson TR (2011) Hybridisation, introgression and climate change: a case study for the tree genus Fraxinus (Oleaceae). In: Climate Change, Ecology and Systematics, eds. Trevor R. Hodkinson, Michael B. Jones, Stephen Waldren and John A. N. Parnell. Published by Cambridge University Press. © The Systematics Association 201 pp. 320-342.
  • Gallone, A.;   A. Hunter and G.C. Douglas  (2012)  Radiosensitivity of Hebe ‘Oratia Beauty’ and ‘Wiri Mist’ irradiated with γ-rays from 60Co . Scientia Horticulturae, 138, 36-42 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304423812000635
  • S. Phelan, A. Hunter and G.C. Douglas (2009) Micropropagation and growth traits in ten Buddleia cultivars derived from meristems and adventitious shoot regeneration Scientia Horticulturae 120, (4), 518-524. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304423808004524
  • A. Gallone, A. Hunter, G. C. Douglas (2009) Micropropagation of Hebe ‘Pink Fantasy’ Agricultural Research Forum 2009, p132,  ISBN 1-84170-538-1http://www.agresearchforum.com/publicationsarf/2009/proceedings2009.pdf
  • S. Phelan, A. Hunter and G.C. Douglas ( 2008)- - Micropropagation and growth regulation of Erysimum linifolium ‘variegatum’ Propagation of Ornamental Plants 8(2): 87-92, 2008   http://journal-pop.org/References/Vol_8_2(87-92).pdf
  • Jouve L., D. Jacques, G. C. Douglas, L. ,Hoffmann and Jean-François Hausman (2007) Biochemical characterisation of early and late bud flushing in common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) Plant Science: 172 (No 5) 962-969. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168945207000532
  • Cahalane G., Doody P., Douglas G. C., Fennessy J., O'Reilly C. and Pfeifer A. (2007Sustaining and developing Ireland's forest genetic resources - an outline strategyCOFORD, Dublin, pp. 1-30. http://www.coford.ie/media/coford/content/publications/projectreports/frmfinal_report.pdf

 

Additional details

Directions to his office: Ashtown Food Research Centre.