In 2017 I completed a NERC funded PhD student working with Dr. Richard Buggs and Professor Richard Nichols in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London. This focused on the rare Scottish montane species, Dwarf birch (Betula nana), which has a severely restricted and declining distribution in the Scottish Highlands. Among threats from changing land management, climate change and overgrazing, it is also undergoing severe introgression from increasingly abundant related species.
I also have a number of side projects. These include; Assessing the distribution of rare desert endemic plants in Oman’s central desert, in collaboration with the Oman Botanic Gardens. Similarly, I am interested in the impact of forest edges on the distribution herpetofauna (and their microhabitats) in Madagascar’s heavily fragmented Northern rainforests.
Mapping genetic diversity, ecological niche modelling, habitat fragmentation, population genetics, parentage analysis, gene flow, introgression and hybridisation.
Zohren, J., Wang, N., Kardailsky, I., Borrell, J.S., Joecker, A., Nichols, R.A. & Buggs, R.J.A. (2016) Unidirectional diploid‐tetraploid introgression among British birch trees with shifting ranges shown by RAD markers. Molecular Ecology 25: 2413‐2426.
Ball L.D. & Borrell J.S. (2015) An Inventory of Herpetofauna in Wadi Sayq. Checklist (in prep).
Ball L.D., Alfazari W. & Borrell J.S. (2015) Birds of Wadi Sayq, Dhofar, Oman. Sandgrouse (link).
Borrell, J.S. (2014) Lessons from a year of citizen science. Human Computation,1:2:111-118 (link).
Wang N., Borrell J.S. and Richard J. A. Buggs. (2014) Is the Atkinson discriminant function a reliable method for distinguishing between Betula pendula and B. pubescens? New Journal of Botany. (link)
Wang, N., Borrell, J. S., Bodles, W. J., Kuttapitiya, A., Nichols, R. A., & Buggs, R. J. (2014). Molecular footprints of the Holocene retreat of dwarf birch in Britain. Molecular ecology. (link)
Borrell, J. S. (2012). Rapid assessment protocol for pollen settling velocity: implications for habitat fragmentation. Bioscience Horizons: The National Undergraduate Research Journal, 5. (link)
BBC News – Charity effort to protect ‘wee trees’
Trees for Life – Restore the forgotten forest
Red Orbit – Researchers crack genome
Herald Scotland – Gene find offers hope
Press release – Researchers decode birch tree genome sequence for the first time
Prizes and Awards:
Ecological Genetics Oral Presentation Prize 2015: For the best oral presentation by a student at the 59th ecological genetics special interest group conference, help in Liverpool.
Anne Keymer Prize 2013: For the best oral presentation by a postgraduate student at the joint British Ecological Society and INTECOL conference, London.
Poster Prize (2nd) 2013: Ecological Genetics Group, Belfast.
William H. Fraser Prize 2011: For the most outstanding dissertation in environmental biology and whole organisms at the University of Exeter.
Dean’s Commendation 2011: For Outstanding performance, University of Exeter.
2017 Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust: Fieldwork grant (£750)
2017 Birdlife/RSPB: Fieldwork grant ($750)
2015 Zoological Society of London: Erasmus Darwin Barlow grant (£3000)
2015 Royal Geographical Society: Small fieldwork grant (£3000)
2015 Scientific Exploration Society: Cadogan Tate Explorer Award (£2000)
2015 QM Public Engagement: To further develop Discover Conservation (£675)
2014 UnLtd Grant: To launch an online social enterprise (£500)
2013 EU-INTERACT Transnational Access Grant (£3000)
2017 – Present: Research Fellow, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
2012 – 2017: PhD Biological Sciences (NERC), Queen Mary, University of London.
2010: Gatsby Plant Sciences Summer Studentship, John Innes Centre, Norwich.
2008 – 2011: 1st Class Degree (Hons), Biological Sciences, University of Exeter.
2017: Scientist, Central Desert Botanic Expedition, Oman
2015/16: Expedition Leader, Northern Madagascar
2014: University field course, Brunei Darussalam
2013 – 2015: PhD field research, Scottish Highlands, Ireland and Finnish Lapland.
2012: Chief Scientist, Empty Quarter Expedition, Oman.
2011: Research Assistant, Action for the Wild, South Africa.
2011: Science Co-ordinator, Cocama-Amazon Expedition, Peru.
2007: Expedition member, Madagascar.
Courses and Training:
Multivariate Ecological Statistics Course, Oxford, 2015.
Expedition Risk Management Training, Earthwatch, Oxford, 2015.
Species Distribution Modelling Course, UCL, 2014.
Plant taxonomy, identification and field survey skills course, RBG Kew, 2014.
> Highland Birchwoods (partners)