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Dr James Clugston

ABRS Postdoctoral Research Fellow
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I am a systematic botanist with a broad interest in morphological and genetic diversity of both angiosperms and gymnosperms.

Research Interests:
My research interests focus on molecular and morphological diversity and evolution of both angiosperms and gymnosperms. My current projects use novel molecular DNA sequencing techniques to address taxonomic questions and identify genetic diversity in the pea family (Fabaceae). I like to use a broad range of molecular techniques and approaches in conservation genomics, systematics, phylogenetics, and plant evolution to explain and unravel complex taxonomic questions. Such research addresses questions relating to the genetic diversity and history of species, to critical genetic issues for conservation, and documentation of fundamental diversity.

Current Projects:
Building the eFlora: Generic and species-level resolution in Fabaceae tribe Mirbelieae using next-generation sequencing.
Collaborators: Russell Barrett, Matt Renner, Mike Crisp, Lyn Cook and Peter Weston
Australia has a very diverse pea-flowered legume flora with 1,715 native and naturalised species recognised. This project utilises new next-generation DNA sequencing to help understand generic relationships of species in the poison peas and their relatives (Pultenaea generic alliance, Fabaceae tribe Mirbelieae). This groups includes 44% of Australia‘s pea and by using genetic data we aim to resolve generic and species limits in the group. The research will provide online generic and species eFlora profiles for the group and update a free, user- friendly interactive key to Australian Faboideae, The Pea Key, with new data and illustrations, for 247 species that do not occur in Western Australia to align with a new Western Australian interactive key to peas. 
Developing new methods for DNA barcoding of Encephalartos in South Africa.
Michelle van der Bank, Ronny Mukala Kabongo (African Centre for DNA barcoding) and Peter Hollingsworth (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh)
The project aims to develop new methods to genotype species and populations of South African cycad genus Encephalartos. Using RADseq and shotgun sequencing the project aims to provide an accurate species level identification and determine the origin of wild Encephalartos specimens that have been confiscated by customs or recovered from illegal trade, and facilitate their return to their original populations.
Publication Highlights:
Clugston, J. A. R., R. R. Milne, G. J. Kenicer, I. Overcast, N. S. Nagalingum, 2019. RADseq as a valuable tool for plants with large genomes—a case study in cycads. Molecular Ecology Resources. 19, 1610-1622.
Tucker Lima, J. M., N. M. Caruso, J. A. R. Clugston, K. A. Kainer. 2018. Landscape change alters reproductive phenology and sex expression in Attalea palms (Arecaceae) of southwestern Amazonia. Plant Ecology, 219(10), 1225-1245.
Vovides A. P., J. A. R. Clugston, J. S. Gutiérrez-Ortegad, M. A.Pérez-Farrerae, M. Y. Sánchez-Tinoco and S. Galicia, 2018. Epidermal morphology and leaflet anatomy of Dioon (Zamiaceae) with comments on climate and environment. Flora, 239, 20–44.
Clugston, J. A.R., M. P. Griffith, M. A. Calonje, C. E. Husby, G. J. Kenicer, D. P. Little, and D. Wm. Stevenson, 2018. Reproductive Phenology of Zamia L. – a comparison between wild cycads and their cultivated counter-parts. Botanical Review, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Cycad Biology. Memoirs of The New York Botanical Garden, 117, 433–462.
Clugston, J. A. R., C. E. Jeffree, A. Ahrends and R. R. Mill, 2017. Do Environmental Factors Affect the Taxonomic Reliability of Leaf Cuticular Micromorphological Characters? A Case Study in Podocarpaceae, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 74(3), 299–343.
Clugston, J. A. R., M. P. Griffith, G. J. Kenicer, C. E. Husby, M. A. Calonje, D. Wm.  Stevenson & D. P. Little, 2016. Zamia (Zamiaceae) phenology in a phylogenetic context: does in situ reproductive timing correlate with ancestry? Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 73, 345–370.
Clugston, J. A. R., "Student Project: Data Capture and Taxonomic Determination of Cycadales at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh." Sibbaldia, The Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, 2010: 11-30 (No.8).
Affiliations and Committees:
Committee Member of the IUCN Cycad specialist group

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