Molecular Ecology Laboratory
Autumn 2012 Research Opportunities in the Molecular Ecology Laboratory: please email Dr Meade with enquiries.
Conor Meade, BSc (NUI), PhD (Dublin)
Research Areas. At Molecular Ecology we use a variety of molecular genotyping techniques to investigate genetic relationships among plant populations, both directly using field gene-flow experiments and indirectly using population genetics analysis. We have recently pioneered the use of High Resolution Melting Analysis (HRM) for identification of organelle haplotypes within wild populations of non-model organisms (Dang et al, 2012).
Biogeography of Irish Arctic-Alpine Plants. Our interest is in the colonization of Ireland by arctic-apline migrants, in particular Arenaria ciliata, A. norvegica, Minuartia recurva and Silene acaulis (all members of the Caryophyllaceae/ Campion family). These rare species are restricted to isolated mountaintop habitats in Ireland. Our objective is to understand how and when these and other cold-tolerant plants came to Ireland over the course of Holocene glaciation events. Recently we have discovered clear evidence that Arenaria ciliata and A. norvegica predate the Pleistocene glaciation in Ireland, and have likely survived in Northwest Ireland for perhaps 100,000 years, over multiple climate change events. External collaborators: the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin & Madrid Botanic Gardens, Spain.
Arenaria ciliata (Caryophyllaceae), in Ireland restricted to one isolated site on Northern Slopes of Ben Bulben, Co. Sligo. (Ben Bulben Photo Courtesy Rathcormac National School, Drumcliff, Co. Sligo)
Gene flow modeling._We are developing models for the spread of genes through wild and cultivated plant populations via pollen and seed mediated gene flow, and the impact GM crops may have on these patterns._Our focus is on Solanum tubersosum (potato), Brassica rapa L. (wild turnip), Lolium perenne L. (perennial ryegrass) and Avena sativa/ fatua (cultivated and wild oats).?Data is being generated from wild and cultivated populations and from controlled experimental crosses. External collaborator: Teagasc Crop Research Centre at Oakpark, Co. Carlow.
Lolium perenne L. (Perennial Ryegrass), inflorescence.
3-D model of successful pollen dispersal from source population of Ryegrass to outlying individuals using microsatellite marker identification of hybrid progeny in F1 populations.
Risk assessment and crops co-existence. We are also developing new agro-ecological models for risk assessment and co-existence of GM, conventional and organic crops in the Irish landscape.
Molecular Ecology of Entomopathogenic Nematodes. In conjunction with Dr Christine Griffin and the Behavioural Ecology and Biocontrol Laboratory we are applying molecular ecology methods to study gene-flow, hybridization and persistence among populations of the entomopathogenic nematodes Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditus dowensi.
Plant Systematics. Other research interests include the taxonomy and systematics of the Annonaceae (Custard Apples) in South and Southeast Asia and the phytogeography of tropical Asia.
Sources of Funding
Science Foundation Ireland RFP, Department of Agriculture Research Stimulus Fund, HEA PRTL Programme, Department of Agriculture Programme for Conservation of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, SFI UREKA Programme. Total Grant aid 2002-2009 €1,013,000.
- Dang, X-D, Howard-Wiliams, E, Kelleher, C. and C. Meade (2012). Rapid identification of chloroplast haplotypes using High Resolution Melting analysis. Molecular Ecology Resources 12: 894-908.
- Walker, K, Howard-Williams E and C Meade (2010). The distribution and ecology of Arenaria norvegica Gunn. in Ireland. Irish Naturalists Journal (In Press).
- O'Brien, M, C. Spillane, C. Meade and E. Mullins (2009). An insight into the impact of arable farming on Irish Biodiversity: A Scarcity of studies hinders a rigorous assessment PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY 108B pp 97-108.
- Petti, C, Wendt, T, Meade, C and E Mullins (2009). Evidence of genotype dependency within Agrobacterium tumefaciens in relation to the integration of vector backbone sequence in transgenic Phytophthora infestans-tolerant potato. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering 107(3): 301-306.
- Rolston, A., Meade, C, Boyle, S, Kakouli-Duarte, T and M. Downes (2009). IntraspeciÞc variation among isolates of the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema feltiae from Bull Island, Ireland. Nematology 11(3): 439-451.
- O'Brien M, Spillane C, Meade C and E Mullins (2008). Impact of Arable Farming on Irish Biodiversity. Biology and Environment Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Series B (In Press).
- Dillon, A, Rolston, A, Meade, C. Downes, M. & C. Griffin (2008). Establishment, persistence and introgression of exotic entomopathogenic nematodes in a forest ecosystem. Ecological Applications 18(3): 735-747.
- Petti, C., C. Meade, M. Downes and E. Mullins (2007). Facilitating co-existence by tracking gene-dispersal in conventional potato systems with microsatellite markers. Environmental Biosafety Research 18:1-13.
- Ryan, E., Meade, C., Mullins, E., Burke, J. and M. Downes (2006). Tracing field hybridization in Ryegrass species using microsatellite and morphological markers. Environmental Biosafety Research 5:23-29.
- Mullins, E., Alberto, C., Doyle, B., Millbourne, D. & C. Meade (2006). Potato in the era of biotechnology. Trends in Plant Science 11(5):254-260.
- Rolston AN, Meade C, Downes MJ (2006). Analysis of populations of Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis downesi from Bull Island, Ireland, using AFLP. Journal of Nematology 38: 290-290.
- Flannery, M., C. Meade and E. Mullins (2005). Employing a composite gene flow index to numerically quantify a crops potential for gene flow: An Irish Perspective. Environmental Biosafety Research 4(1),29-43.
- Meade, C. and E. Mullins (2005). GM crop cultivation in Ireland: ecological and economic considerations. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 105B, 33-55.
- Meade, C. (2005) A new species of Uvaria (Annonaceae) from Indochina. Adansonia (Journal Botanique du Museum Nationale dHistoire Naturelle, Paris) 27(1), 17-20.
- Meade, C. and J. Parnell (2003). Multivariate analysis of leaf shape patterns in Asian species of the Uvaria group (Annonaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 143:231-242.
- Meade, C. & J. Parnell (2002). Neotypification of Uvaria hirsuta Jack (Annonaceae). Taxon 51(4):767-768.
- Meade, C., T. Hodkinson, P. Chalermglin, M Chase, and J. Parnell. Revision of Uvaria L. in Continental Southeast Asia: 2 Floral character Evolution in the Uvaria L. Group. Annonaceae Newsletter 13, 29-32 (2002).
- Parnell J. A. N., Simpson D. A., Moat J., Kirkup D. W., Chanataranothai P., Boyce P. C., Bygrave P., Dransfield S., Jebb M. H. P., Macklin J., Meade C., Middleton D. J., Muasya A. M., Prajaksood A., Pendry C. A., Pooma R., Sudee S. and P. Wilkin (2003). Plant collecting spread and densities: their potential impact on biogeographical studies in Thailand. Journal of Biogeography 30:193-209.