Utilising molecular approaches to confirm the presence of clones, species and species assemblages

Some tree species propagate readily from vegetative cuttings and this creates a problem when establishing conservation plantings and seed orchards. Microsatellite fingerprinting offers a powerful tool for identification of individuals and we have used this in a variety of applications across a range of species including poplar, aspen, yew, elm and birch.

The sensitivity of molecular techniques enables researchers to detect the presence of rare or elusive species such as pine martens, bats, capercaillie etc in our forests by non-invasive sampling of field collected droppings.

New approaches involving meta barcoding which utilise the power of next generation sequencing offers the potential to assess and monitor various aspects of biodiversity in our forests in a rapid and inexpensive manner. We are currently exploring the feasibility of establishing this methodology in our laboratory.