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Dr Mark A Chapman 

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

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Dr Mark Chapman is an Associate Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and his research focuses on ‘working out what genes do’. He works with a range of plants (and some animals) and carries out detailed genetic and genomic investigations comparing populations or species. His research identifies the genes that are important for adaptation, speciation and domestication; therefore it is important for the fields of evolutionary biology, genomics and mitigating climate change.

Career History

2019-present: Associate Professor. University of Southampton, UK.
2013-present: Lecturer. University of Southampton, UK.
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, UK.
2000: BSc. University of Leicester, UK.

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


Asya AlRashed (2016-2020)
Project title: Drought tolerance and nutrition in underutilised legume crops
Funding: Kuwait Public Authority of Agriculture and Fisheries Resources

James Bedford (2020-2024)
Project title: Genomics of Adaption to Climate Change in Rice
Funding: INSPIRE

Amy Jackson (2018-2021)
Project title: Identification and analysis of speciation genes in island plants

Anne Romero
PhD SoCoBio

Anastasia Kolesnikova
MRes Bid Dat Biology

Holly Elizabeth Smeeton
MRes Evolution:to 21st Century


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research group

Ecology and Evolution

Affiliate research groups

Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), Plants and Food Security , 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.

Genomics of Adaption to Climate Change in Rice

Drought tolerance and nutrition in underutilised legume crops

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.

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.

Tropical Montane Forests: The Ecology and Conservation of Cryptic Anurans

The project aims to develop methods for assessing the status of cryptic tropical montane anurans and the drivers of their decline, leading to a framework for monitoring these indicator species.

Vitacress Research Unit: Improving the quality and healthy-giving benefits of baby salad leaves

Supporting the sustainable production of high quality baby leaf salad and herb species. We are one of Europe's leading suppliers of fresh produce, specialising in watercress, salads and fresh herbs.

The genomics of adaptation and its consequences for marine biological invasions

The contribution of plasticity to adaptive divergence: domestication as a model

Sort via:TypeorYear




BIOL1029 Origins of Biodiversity
BIOL2001 Evolution
BIOL3010 Evolution and Genetics


BIOL2013 Bioinformatics
BIOL3067 Evolution and Development
BIOL6073 Critical Thinking in Biological Research


BIOL3069 In-Silico Research Project
BIOL3034 Laboratory Research Project
BIOL6068 MRes Advanced Biological Sciences Research Project

University of Southampton

Faculty Champion for the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers
Level 5 representative, General Lab and building committee
Co-Theme Lead for Ecology and Evolution

Professional Contributions

Local representative, The Genetics Society
Associate Editor, Journal of Heredity
Reviewing Editor, Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Editorial Board, Scientific Reports Nature
Member, Botanical Society of America
Member, Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

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
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 85/6041

Dr Mark A Chapman's personal home page
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