My Research and Goals

The research in our lab is focused on answering primarily applied questions addressing challenges in tree improvement. This lab began in September 2014 with the task of developing eight projects in conjunction with the forest industry and provincial Government through an industrial research chair in tree improvement. Answers we are currently looking for include:

  1. Determining how to increase the seed yield in a high elevation lodgepole pine orchard and understanding the impact of parent origin on cone serotiny
  2. Understanding ecophysiological responses to drought stress to assist with selection of parents and progeny adapted to climate change (eg: drought)
  3. Evaluating the economic impact of the current tree improvement structure of recognizing genetic gain relative to fibre flow and corporate investments
  4. Understanding the underpinning of hybrid vigour in balsam poplar through disparate population breeding within a species.

More fundamental research interests include understanding the trade-offs in the distribution of trembling aspen on the landscape relative to gender and resource availability. This question is being addressed through phenotypic, ecophysiological and genomic assessments.

Unfortunately, I am not accepting graduate students at this time (August 2022).

Most Recent Publications

    1. Luo, D., Thomas, B.R. 2021. An analysis of age-age correlations in white spruce and lodgepole pine and how it applies to the growth and yield projection system (GYPSY) in Alberta. Forest Ecology and Management. 482. ttps://
    2. Bockstette, S., de la Mata, R., Thomas, B.R. 2021. Best of both worlds: hybrids of two commercially important pines (Pinus contorta × P. banksiana) combine increased growth potential and high drought tolerance. Canadian Journal of Forest Research.
    3. Galeano, E., Thomas, B.R. 2020 Effect of elevated gibberellic acid application on growth and gene expression patterns in white spruce families from a tree improvement program in Alberta, Canada. Tree Physiology.
    4. Chang, S.X., Zheng, S., Thomas, B.R. 2020 Soil respiration and net ecosystem productivity in a chronosequence of hybrid poplar plantations. Canadian Journal of Soil Science. 1-15.
    5. Lieffers, V.J., Pinno, B.D., Beverly, J.L., Thomas, B.R., Nock, C. 2020 Reforestation policy has constrained options for managing risks on public forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research.
    6. Niemczyk, M., Thomas, B.R. 2020 Growth parameters and resistance to Sphaerulina musiva-induced canker are more important than wood density for increasing genetic gain from selection of Populus spp. hybrids … Annals of Forest Science 77 (2), 1-14
    7. Klutsch, J., Kee, C., Cappa, E., Ratcliffe, B., Thomas, B.R., & Erbilgin, N. 2020 Increment coring induced traumatic resin ducts in white spruce but not in lodgepole pine. Tree-Ring Research: January 2020, Vol. 76, No. 1, pp. 54-58.