Tyler Smith

Adjunct Research Professor

Degrees:B.Sc. (Guelph), Ph.D. (McGill)
Office:Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre Agriculture and AgriFood Canada
Website:Visit my lab website

Current Research

My research focuses on the taxonomy and conservation of Canadian plants, especially native crops and wild crop relatives. I am particularly interested in species delimitation, and genetic and ecological diversity within and among closely related species. Clarifying these issues is essential for conserving biodiversity in the wild, as well as identifying germplasm resources to draw from in crop breeding programs.

I use a combination of field work, molecular markers (DNA fingerprinting, sequences and barcodes), flow cytometry and morphological analysis.

Current projects include:

*   evaluating the evolutionary relationship between diploid and tetraploid races of wild cranberry, Vaccinium oxycoccos. Assessing the extent of gene-flow between these races is necessary to determine whether they constitute distinct species.

*   resolving species limits in eastern North American blackberries, Rubus. This problem has confounded taxonomists for over a century. Using samples collected from across eastern North America, I am using DNA fingerprints to assess the relationship between genetic diversity and morphological phenotype in this hyper-variable group. My goal is to produce a taxonomic revision that accounts for distinct sexual species, stablized allopolyploid hybrids and apomictic microspecies.

*   assessing genetic diversity in the Few-flowered Club-Rush (Trichophorum planifolium). This species is endangered in Canada, where it reaches the northern limit of its distribution. Understanding the genetic relationship between this peripheral Canadian population and core populations further south in the US is necessary for developing appropriate conservation and reintroduction protocols.

Selected Publications

Smith, T. W. and Waterway, M. J. 2008. Evaluating species limits and hybridization in the Carex complanata complex using morphology, amplified fragment length polymorphisms, and restriction fragment analysis<http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/B08-031>. Botany 86(8):809-826.

Smith, T. W. and Rothfels, C. J. 2007. Recovery strategy for Few-flowered Club-rush/Bashful Bulrush (Trichophorum planifolium (Sprengel) Palla) in Canada. Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources by Royal Botanical Gardens. Hamilton. vi + 22 pp.

Balsdon, J. L., Smith, T.W. and Lundholm, J. T. 2011. Phenotypic and genotypic differentiation of Vaccinium vitis-idaea between coastal barrens and forests in Nova Scotia, Canada. Botany 89(3):147-155.

Smith, T. W. and Lundholm, J. T. 2012. Environmental geometry and hetergeneity-diversity relationships in spatially explicit simulated communities. Journal of Vegetation Science 23(4):732-744.

Full Publication List