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Centre for Biological Sciences
(023) 8059 4396

Dr Mark A Chapman 

Lecturer in Ecology and Evolution, Principal Investigator: Evolutionary Genomics and Transcriptomics, Co-ordinator of Centre for Underutilised Crops

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I am a lecturer in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and my research focusses on ‘working out what genes do’. I work with a range of plants (and some animals) and carry out detailed genetic and genomic investigations comparing populations or species. My research identifies the genes that are important for adaptation, speciation, and domestication, therefore is important for the fields of evolutionary biology, genomics and mitigating climate change.

Career history

2013-present: Lecturer, University of Southampton
2011-2013: Postdoctoral Researcher University of Oxford, UK.
2004-2010: Postdoctoral Researcher/Assistant Research Scientist University of Georgia, USA/Vanderbilt University, USA.

Academic qualifications

2004: PhD St. Andrews University
2000: BSc University of Leicester







Research interests

I am interested in using genomic technologies to investigate patterns and processes in evolution, primarily concerning adaptation, speciation and domestication in plants.

PhD/MPhil Supervision

Anna Page (2014-2017)
Project Title: Parallel domestication as a model to understand the repeatability of phenotypic evolutions
Funding: University of Southampton

Oliver White (2015-2018)
Project Title: Using transcriptomics to understand adaptation and speciation in an island radiation
Funding:University of Southampton/Natural History Museum

Rachael Graham (2015-2018)
Project Title: Plant adaptation to temperature, and implications for crop breeding
Funding: University of Southampton/Natural History Museum

Alex Watson-Lazowski (2nd supervisor)
Project Title: Using Next Generation Sequencing to Understand Plant Acclimation and Adaption to a Changing Environment
Funding: ExpeER, NERC.

Nikol Voutsina (2nd supervisor)
Project Title: Developing genomic resources for watercress breeding.
Funding: Vitacress Salads

Annabelle Damerum (2nd supervisor)
Project Title: Molecular breeding to improve the quality of Lactuca sativa.
Funding: Vitacress Salads, Shamrock Seeds, Sainsbury's.

Libby Rowland (2nd supervisor)
Project Title: Improving the water sustainability and quality of potted herbs through better crop irrigation scheduling
Funding: University of Southampton, Vitacress Salads

Elizabeth Arnold (2nd supervisor)
Project Title: Improving the sustainability of water use in baby leaf salad crops
Funding: University of Southampton/BBSRC

Kevin Staniland (2nd supervisor)
Project Title: Adaptations to elevated CO2
Funding: Self-funded

Jasmine Saban (2nd supervisor)
Project Title: Acclimation and Adaption to elevated CO2

Steven Bourne (2nd supervisor)
Project Title: The genomics of adaption and its influence on marine biological invasions

Member of: Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Transcriptome divergence between wild and domesticated eggplants (aubergine)
Gene expression and domestication

Research group(s)

Environmental Biosciences

Affiliate research group(s)

Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), Centre for Underutilised Crops

Research project(s)

Using transcriptomics to understand adaptation and speciation in an island radiation

This studentship will use a homoploid hybrid Argyranthemum species from the Canary Islands as an exemplary scenario with which to investigate the genomics of adaptation, reproductive isolation and hybrid speciation.

Parallel domestication as a model to understand the repeatability of phenotypic evolution

Are the same genes involved when evolutionary processes occur more than once?

A genome-wide approach to understand domestication

Harnessing genomic technologies to investigate how humans have altered the genomes of wild plants into the crops we see today.

Improving the quality of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) using a molecular breeding approach

Developing nutritionally enhanced lettuce with improved shelf life.

Developing the genomic resources underpinning molecular breeding in watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Developing a breeding program for a unique crop.

Population genomics of plant adaptation to elevated CO2

Using plants from a natural CO2 as a model to study the long term responses of plants to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations predicted for the end of the 21st Century.



  • Plant acclimation and adaptation to a high CO2 world - Watson-Lazowski, Alex J., Lin, Yunan, Edwards, Richard , DeWoody, Jennifer, Miglietta, Franco, Chapman, Mark and Taylor, Gail
    Plant & Animal Genome XXII, San Diego, US
    10 - 15 Jan 2014


BIOL1004 Patterns of Life and their evolution


BIOL1004 Patterns of Life and their evolution
BIOL2001 Evolution
BIOL3056 Global Change Biology: Molecules to Ecosystem
BIOL3010 Topics in Ecology and Evolution



University of Southampton

Organiser of "Plants, Ecology and the Environment" Lunchtime Seminars.
Member of ‘The Career Development of Researchers' Working Group.
Level 5 representative, General Lab and building committee

Professional Contributions

Local representative, The Genetics Society
Associate Editor, Journal of Heredity
Member, Botanical Society of America




Understanding the genetic basis of adaptation has the potential for application to agronomy and crop breeding. If we can understand which genes confer adaptations to high salinity, high temperatures or low nutrients we have the potential to investigate which crops might be of use under a climate change scenario. My work with underutilised crops is helping to reveal how some of the world’s less well-known crops manage to grow in extreme environments, also paving the way for the identification of novel germplasm with extreme environmental tolerances.

Dr Mark A Chapman
Centre for Biological Sciences Faculty of Natural & Environmental Sciences Life Sciences Building 85 University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 85/6041

Telephone: (023) 8059 4396

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