A data-driven history of ecological genetics in Britain.

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Hatching the EGG: the first meeting of the Ecological Genetics Group

Erick Peirson | Feb. 9, 2016, 3:39 p.m.

So Gregor, Harberd, Wilkins, and Patricia Watson traveled to Aberystwyth. Gregor and Wilkins passed the time by playing chess in their booth. Bradshaw came down from Bangor on his green motorbike with David Jowett, who had recently arrived from Liverpool, riding on the back. The Edinburgh party arrived at the Aberystwyth train platform in torrential rain. In 1955 the WPBS had moved its operations from its hillside campus at Penglais to a site further east at Plas Gogerddan, so none of the visitors knew which bus to catch. After asking around for directions, navigating buses, and walking in the rain, they eventually arrived at the white mansion at Plas Gogderddan that housed the new administrative offices of the WPBS. They spent the day exchanging notes, catching each other up on their latest research.


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An open-notebook history of the Ecological Genetics Group

Erick Peirson | Feb. 9, 2016, 2:21 p.m.

The Genecology Project began in 2012 as an outgrowth of my dissertation research on plant ecologist Anthony David Bradshaw (1926–2008). Although the original focus of my research was not ecological genetics, by the time I left Bradshaw's archive in the fall of 2012 it had become clear to me that Bradshaw occupied a potentially decisive moment in the history of that field. As I later argued in my dissertation, Bradshaw's research was a fulcrum for the emergence of ecological genetics in Britain. Bradshaw was part of a small community of agriculturally-oriented plant ecologists operating at plant breeding stations and technical schools in Wales and Scotland that had incubated a unique research tradition that they called "genecology." Contrary to what we read in canonical histories of biology, ecological genetics was not the brainchild of Oxfordian zoologists, but rather a continuation (with modification) of a long tradition of agro-ecological plant genecology. It was genecological research that demonstrated just how powerful natural selection could be on small spatial scales, and just how quickly populations of plants could evolve as a result. The Genecology Project takes off from Bradshaw's story to tell the broader story of plant genecology and ecological genetics in Britain.

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methods: Research Methods 1 people: People 0 places: Places 1 data: Data 1 meetings: Meetings 1 heavymetals: Heavy Metal Toxicity 1 experiments: Experiments 0 archival-material: archival material 10 national-library-of-wales: national library of wales 3 bradshaw: bradshaw 3 goginan: goginan 1 clive-a-stace: Clive A. Stace 3 christopher-j-marchant: Christopher J. Marchant 2 c-p-carrol: C. P. Carrol 2 bryan-c-clarke: Bryan C. Clarke 3 brian-g-murray: Brian G. Murray 1 audrey-plack: Audrey Plack 4 charles-c-ainsworth: Charles C. Ainsworth 2 arthur-james-cain: Arthur James Cain 1 egg: EGG 2 anthony-john-edwin-smith: Anthony John Edwin Smith 2 alan-john-gray: Alan John Gray 4 alan-j-m-baker: Alan J. M. Baker 2 adam-dale: Adam Dale 1 a-kenton: A Kenton 2 a-cobon: A Cobon 1 apc-seaton: APC Seaton 1 brian-d-morley: Brian D. Morley 1 d-malcolm-calder: D. Malcolm Calder 1 brian-s-rushton: Brian S. Rushton 1 anthony-tony-h-d-brown: Anthony "Tony" H. D. Brown 1 bradshaw-archive: bradshaw archive 3 richard-s-clymo: Richard S. Clymo 3 erna-bennett: Erna Bennett 4 vernon-heywood: Vernon Heywood 1 robert-s-callow: Robert S. Callow 2 dunkery-hugh-dalby: Dunkery Hugh Dalby 3 denis-ratcliffe: Denis Ratcliffe 2 david-t-parkin: David T. Parkin 1 david-r-lees: David R. Lees 1 david-f-cutler: David F. Cutler 1 david-d-shaw: David D. Shaw 2 peter-e-brandham: Peter E. Brandham 1 robert-james-berry: Robert James Berry 1 david-jowett: David Jowett 1 david-henriques-valentine: David Henriques Valentine 1 david-william-snow: David William Snow 2 david-moresby-moore: David Moresby Moore 1 dennis-a-wilkins: Dennis A. Wilkins 6 joseph-smartt: Joseph Smartt 1 diana-dorothy-warwick: Diana Dorothy Warwick 1 edinburgh: edinburgh 1 michael-d-hayward: Michael D. Hayward 1 agrostis: agrostis 1 lead-tolerance: lead tolerance 1 d-a-wilkins: d a wilkins 1 bangor: bangor 1

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