Dr Jennifer Rowntree

Dr Jennifer Rowntree

Associate Professor in Ecological Genetics

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Dr Jennifer Rowntree can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Plant ecology
  • Mangrove forests
  • Biodiversity
  • Soil health
  • Ecological genetics
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Food security


I am an ecological geneticist with a background in plant ecology. I am interested in the genetics of species interactions and use molecular tools to answer ecological questions. I work across a wide variety of systems (plants, pollinators, herbivores, microbes) and biomes (temperate and tropical) and use molecular, experimental and field approaches to answer questions. Current projects include understanding the population and conservation genetics of coastal plants (mangroves, salt marsh) for adaptation and restoration, improving ex situ conservation and reintroduction success of endangered plants (bryophytes, carnivorous plants) and developing molecular tools for the for the quantification of biodiversity in human influenced environments (soil health in agriculture, plant-pollinator networks). I am interested in complex problems that require a cross-disciplinary approach and am a co-investigator on the NERC UK Treescapes: Voices of the Future project and a member of the University of Plymouth @ Environmental Land Management Strategic Knowledge Exchange Hub (ELMS-Exchange).


2022-present, Associate Professor, University of Plymouth
2016-2021, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University
2015-2016, Lecturer, University of Manchester
2011-2014, NERC Independent Research Fellow, University of York; University of Manchester
2007-2010, PDRA, University of Manchester
2004-2006, Conservation Officer, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
2000-2004, PhD Plant Ecology, University of Manchester
1999-2000, MSc Ecology, University of Aberdeen
1993-1997, BSc Chemistry with German (1st Class), University of Sussex

Roles on external bodies

Member of IUCN SSC for Bryophytes (ex situ expert)
NERC Peer Review College and panel member
Royal Society International Exchanges panel member


Teaching interests

Introduction to Biological Sciences (BIOL119Z) - Module lead
Contemporary Zoo Management (ANIM5006) – Module lead
Applied Conservation Biology (BIOL308)
Conservation Ecology and Society (ANIM5008)
Ecology Field Course (BIOL219Z)


Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Primary supervisor
2021 - John Paul Kennedy (PhD) - Genetic Insights into Climate-Driven Range Expansion of a Coastal Foundation Species - Manchester Metropolitan University
2021 - Marciana Galambao (PhD) - Population Genetics, Endosymbionts and Bunchy Top Virus - Studies of Banana Aphid (Pentalonia sp.) in the Philippines - Manchester Metropolitan University - Newton fund
2020 - Emily Schofield (PhD) - Temporal Dynamism, Soil Processes and Niche Complementary: Novel Approaches to Understanding Diversity-Function relationships - Manchester Metropolitan University - joint funding with the James Hutton Institute
2020 - Calum Bridson (PhD) - Interactions between Insect Gut Microbiota and the Environment - University of Manchester - BBSRC DTP
2019 - Graeme Fox (PhD) - Developments in Next-Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatics for Ecological Genetics - Manchester Metropolitan University
2019 - Hayley Craig (PhD) - Factors Affecting the Composition, Diversity and Function of Bacterial Communities in Mangrove Soils - University of Manchester - NERC DTP
2017 - Katie Hunter (MPhil) - The Development of Molecular Techniques for the Conservation of Captive Elasmobranchs - University of Manchester
2013 - Richard Sands (MPhil) - Keeping the Bees Buzzing: Improving the Effectiveness of Nectar and Pollen Mixes - University of Manchester
2023 - Xaali O'Reilly-Berkeley (PhD) Community Genetics in Complex Ecological Systems - Manchester Metropolitan University
2022 - Jodies Bates (PhD) - Assessing the Bacterial Zoonotic Risks Associated with the Pet Trade - Manchester Metropolitan University - joint funding with World Animal Protection
2021 - Agnessa Lundy (MRes) - Rhizophora mangle(Red Mangrove) Population Genetic Structure in The Bahamas - Manchester Metropolitan University
2021 - Steven Canty (PhD) - Management of Marine Resources in the Mesoamerican Reef Ecosystem - Manchester Metropolitan University
2018 - Oliver Hughes (PhD) - Orchid-Mycorrhiza Relationships, Propagation of Terrestrial and Epiphytic Orchids from Seed - Manchester Metropolitan University - joint funding with Chester Zoo
2016 - Daniel Lopez (MPhil) - Terrestrial Mammal Communities in Tropical Rainforests of Ecuador - University of Manchester

Grants & contracts

2021-2025 - WATERZOO (Project partner, PI Andy Green), Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spain - €164K
2021-2024 - UK Future Treescapes - Voices of the Future (CoI), NERC - FEC~£1.99M
2021 - KTP with I Want Plants (Co-I), Innovate UK - £178K
2020-2021 - Healthy Guts, Healthy Bees (PI with G Fox), Eva Crane - £11K
2019-2021 - Manchester Met Strategic Opportunities Fund PDRA (Dr Graeme Fox) (PI) - £90K
2019 - KTP with Buildchem (Co-I), Innovate/NERC funding - £217K
2017-2021 - Co-funded PhD studentship with World Animal Protection (Co-I; Jodie Bates) - £60K
2017-2020 - DOST-Newton Philippines PhD scholarship (PI; Marciana Galambao) - £54K
2016-2020 - Co-funded PhD studentship with the James Hutton Institute (PI; Emily Schofield) - £38K
2014 - NERC impact accelerator grant - FEC £15K
2013 - NERC impact accelerator grant - FEC £10K
2011-2014 - NERC Independent Research Fellowship FEC £359K


Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Chen J, Cordero I, Moorhead DL, Rowntree JK, Simpson LT, Bardgett RD & Craig H (2022) 'Trade-off between microbial carbon use efficiency and specific nutrient-acquiring extracellular enzyme activities under reduced oxygen' Soil Ecology Letters 5, (2) , DOI Open access
Fox G, Vellaniparambil LR, Ros L, Sammy J, Preziosi RF & Rowntree JK (2022) 'Complex urban environments provide Apis mellifera with a richer plant forage than suburban and more rural landscapes' Ecology and Evolution 12, (11) , DOI Open access
Bridson C, Vellaniparambil L, Antwis RE, Müller W, Gilman RT & Rowntree JK (2022) 'Genetic diversity of honeybee colonies predicts gut bacterial diversity of individual colony members' Environmental Microbiology , DOI Open access
Santangelo JS, Ness RW, Cohan B, Fitzpatrick CR, Innes SG, Koch S, Miles LS, Munim S, Peres-Neto PR & Prashad C (2022) 'Global urban environmental change drives adaptation in white clover' Science 375, (6586) 1275-1281 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Kennedy JP, Johnson GN, Preziosi RF & Rowntree JK (2022) 'Genetically based adaptive trait shifts at an expanding mangrove range margin' Hydrobiologia: the international journal on limnology and marine sciences , DOI Open access
Canty SWJ, Kennedy JP, Fox G, Matterson K, González VL, Núñez-Vallecillo ML, Preziosi RF & Rowntree JK (2022) 'Mangrove diversity is more than fringe deep' Scientific Reports 12, (1) , DOI Open access
Yando ES, Sloey TM, Dahdouh-Guebas F, Rogers K, Abuchahla GMO, Cannicci S, Canty SWJ, Jennerjahn TC, Ogurcak DE & Adams JB (2021) 'Conceptualizing ecosystem degradation using mangrove forests as a model system' Biological Conservation 263, 109355-109355 Publisher Site , DOI
Harrison XA, McDevitt AD, Dunn JC, Griffiths SM, Benvenuto C, Birtles R, Boubli JP, Bown K, Bridson C & Brooks DR (2021) 'Fungal microbiomes are determined by host phylogeny and exhibit widespread associations with the bacterial microbiome' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 288, (1957) 20210552-20210552 Publisher Site , DOI
Kennedy JP, Antwis RE, Preziosi RF & Rowntree JK (2021) 'Evidence for the genetic similarity rule at an expanding mangrove range limit' American Journal of Botany 108, (8) 1331-1342 Publisher Site , DOI
Erazo-Garcia MP, Guadalupe JJ, Rowntree JK, Borja-Serrano P, Espinosa de los Monteros-Silva N & Torres MDL (2021) 'Assessing the Genetic Diversity of Ilex guayusa Loes., a Medicinal Plant from the Ecuadorian Amazon' Diversity 13, (5) 182-182 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Dean C, Morrison F, Brooker RW & Price EAC (2021) 'Arable wildflowers have potential as living mulches for sustainable agriculture' Plant Ecology & Diversity 14, (1-2) 93-104 Publisher Site , DOI
Canty SWJ, Fox G, Rowntree JK & Preziosi RF (2021) 'Genetic structure of a remnant Acropora cervicornis population' Scientific Reports 11, (1) Publisher Site , DOI
Craig H, Antwis RE, Cordero I, Ashworth D, Robinson CH, Osborne TZ, Bardgett RD, Rowntree JK & Simpson LT (2021) 'Nitrogen addition alters composition, diversity, and functioning of microbial communities in mangrove soils: An incubation experiment' Soil Biology and Biochemistry 153, 108076-108076 Publisher Site , DOI
Kennedy JP, Sammy JM, Rowntree JK & Preziosi RF (2021) 'Mating system variation in neotropical black mangrove, Avicennia germinans, at three spatial scales towards an expanding northern distributional limit' Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 248, 106754-106754 Publisher Site , DOI
Vega-Polo P, Cobo MM, Argudo A, Gutierrez B, Rowntree J & Torres MDL (2020) 'Characterizing the genetic diversity of the Andean blueberry (Vaccinium floribundum Kunth.) across the Ecuadorian Highlands' PLOS ONE 15, (12) e0243420-e0243420 Publisher Site , DOI
Urquía D, Pozo G, Gutierrez B, Rowntree JK & Torres MDL (2020) 'Understanding the genetic diversity of the guayabillo (Psidium galapageium), an endemic plant of the Galapagos Islands' Global Ecology and Conservation 24, e01350-e01350 Publisher Site , DOI
Craig H, Kennedy JP, Devlin DJ, Bardgett RD & Rowntree JK (2020) 'Effects of maternal genotypic identity and genetic diversity of the red mangrove <i>Rhizophora mangle</i> on associated soil bacterial communities: A field‐based experiment' Ecology and Evolution 10, (24) 13957-13967 Publisher Site , DOI
Kennedy JP, Dangremond EM, Hayes MA, Preziosi RF, Rowntree JK & Feller IC (2020) 'Hurricanes overcome migration lag and shape intraspecific genetic variation beyond a poleward mangrove range limit' Molecular Ecology 29, (14) 2583-2597 Publisher Site , DOI
(2020) 'Publisher's note: “ Mating system variation in neotropical black mangrove, Avicennia germinans, at three spatial scales towards an expanding northern distributional limit”' Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 238, 106712-106712 Publisher Site , DOI
D'Cruze N, Bates J, Assou D, Ronfot D, Coulthard E, Segniagbeto GH, Auliya M, Megson D & Rowntree J (2020) 'A preliminary assessment of bacteria in “ranched” ball pythons (Python regius), Togo, West Africa' Nature Conservation 39, 73-86 Publisher Site , DOI
Kennedy JP, Craig H, Jara-Cavieres A, Lundy A, Preziosi RF & Rowntree JK (2020) 'Multiplex microsatellite PCR panels for the neotropical red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle: combining efforts towards a cost-effective and modifiable tool to better inform conservation and management' Conservation Genetics Resources 12, (3) 503-513 Publisher Site , DOI
Friess DA, Yando ES, Abuchahla GMO, Adams JB, Cannicci S, Canty SWJ, Cavanaugh KC, Connolly RM, Cormier N & Dahdouh-Guebas F (2020) 'Mangroves give cause for conservation optimism, for now' Current Biology 30, (4) R153-R154 Publisher Site , DOI
Kennedy JP, Preziosi RF, Rowntree JK & Feller IC (2020) 'Is the central‐marginal hypothesis a general rule? Evidence from three distributions of an expanding mangrove species, <i>Avicennia germinans</i> (L.) L' Molecular Ecology 29, (4) 704-719 Publisher Site , DOI
Green J, Coulthard E, Megson D, Norrey J, Norrey L, Rowntree JK, Bates J, Dharmpaul B, Auliya M & D’Cruze N (2020) 'Blind Trading: A Literature Review of Research Addressing the Welfare of Ball Pythons in the Exotic Pet Trade' Animals 10, (2) 193-193 Publisher Site , DOI
Schofield EJ, Brooker RW, Rowntree JK, Price EAC, Brearley FQ & Paterson E (2019) 'Plant-plant competition influences temporal dynamism of soil microbial enzyme activity' Soil Biology and Biochemistry 139, 107615-107615 Publisher Site , DOI
Griffiths SM, Galambao M, Rowntree J, Goodhead I, Hall J, O’Brien D, Atkinson N & Antwis RE (2019) 'Complex associations between cross‐kingdom microbial endophytes and host genotype in ash dieback disease dynamics' Journal of Ecology 108, (1) 291-309 Publisher Site , DOI
Fox G, Preziosi RF, Antwis RE, Benavides-Serrato M, Combe FJ, Harris WE, Hartley IR, Kitchener AC, de Kort SR & Nekaris A (2019) 'Multi‐individual microsatellite identification: A multiple genome approach to microsatellite design (MiMi)' Molecular Ecology Resources 19, (6) 1672-1680 Publisher Site , DOI
Schofield EJ, Rowntree JK, Paterson E, Brewer MJ, Price EAC, Brearley FQ & Brooker RW (2019) 'Cultivar Differences and Impact of Plant-Plant Competition on Temporal Patterns of Nitrogen and Biomass Accumulation' Frontiers in Plant Science 10, Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK & Craig H (2018) 'The contrasting roles of host species diversity and parasite population genetic diversity in the infection dynamics of a keystone parasitic plant' Journal of Ecology 107, (1) 23-33 Publisher Site , DOI
Canty SWJ, Preziosi RF & Rowntree JK (2018) 'Dichotomy of mangrove management: A review of research and policy in the Mesoamerican reef region' Ocean &amp; Coastal Management 157, 40-49 Publisher Site , DOI
Schofield EJ, Rowntree JK, Paterson E & Brooker RW (2018) 'Temporal Dynamism of Resource Capture: A Missing Factor in Ecology?' Trends in Ecology &amp; Evolution 33, (4) 277-286 Publisher Site , DOI
Delgado E, Pacheco LF, Salazar-Bravo J & Rocha O (2018) 'Rediscovery of the chinchilla in Bolivia' Oryx 52, (1) 13-14 Publisher Site , DOI
D'Cruze N, Singh B, Mookerjee A, Macdonald DW, Hunter K, Brassey CA, Rowntree J, Megson S, Megson D & Fox G (2018) 'What's in a name? Wildlife traders evade authorities using code words' Oryx 52, (1) 13-13 Publisher Site , DOI
Ramirez KS, Knight CG, de Hollander M, Brearley FQ, Constantinides B, Cotton A, Creer S, Crowther TW, Davison J & Delgado-Baquerizo M (2017) 'Detecting macroecological patterns in bacterial communities across independent studies of global soils' Nature Microbiology 3, (2) 189-196 Publisher Site , DOI
Stevenson CR, Davies C & Rowntree JK (2017) 'Biodiversity in agricultural landscapes: The effect of apple cultivar on epiphyte diversity' Ecology and Evolution 7, (4) 1250-1258 Publisher Site , DOI
Sands RJ & Rowntree JK (2016) 'Interactions between the Bumblebee Bombus pascuorum and Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Are Mediated by Plant Genetic Background' PLOS ONE 11, (8) e0161327-e0161327 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Fisher Barham D, Stewart AJA & Hartley SE (2014) 'The effect of multiple host species on a keystone parasitic plant and its aphid herbivores' Functional Ecology 28, (4) 829-836 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Zytynska SE, Frantz L, Hurst B, Johnson A & Preziosi RF (2014) 'The genetics of indirect ecological effects—plant parasites and aphid herbivores' Frontiers in Genetics 5, Publisher Site , DOI
Zytynska SE, Frantz L, Hurst B, Johnson A, Preziosi RF & Rowntree JK (2013) 'Host‐plant genotypic diversity and community genetic interactions mediate aphid spatial distribution' Ecology and Evolution 4, (2) 121-131 Publisher Site , DOI
Bailey JK, Genung MA, O’Reilly-Wapstra J, Potts B, Rowntree J, Schweitzer JA & Whitham TG (2011) 'New frontiers in community and ecosystem genetics for theory, conservation, and management' New Phytologist 193, (1) 24-26 Publisher Site , DOI
SPRINGATE DA, SCARCELLI N, ROWNTREE J & KOVER PX (2011) 'Correlated response in plasticity to selection for early flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana' Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24, (10) 2280-2288 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Shuker DM & Preziosi RF (2011) 'Forward from the crossroads of ecology and evolution' Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366, (1569) 1322-1328 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Cameron DD & Preziosi RF (2011) 'Genetic variation changes the interactions between the parasitic plant-ecosystem engineer <i>Rhinanthus</i> and its hosts' Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366, (1569) 1380-1388 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Pressel S, Ramsay MM, Sabovljevic A & Sabovljevic M (2010) 'In vitro conservation of European bryophytes' In Vitro Cellular &amp; Developmental Biology - Plant 47, (1) 55-64 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, McVennon A & Preziosi RF (2010) 'Plant genotype mediates the effects of nutrients on aphids' Oecologia 163, (3) 675-679 Publisher Site , DOI
Kover PX, Rowntree JK, Scarcelli N, Savriama Y, Eldridge T & Schaal BA (2009) 'Pleiotropic effects of environment‐specific adaptation in<i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i>' New Phytologist 183, (3) 816-825 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Cowan RS, Leggett M, Ramsay MM & Fay MF (2009) 'Which moss is which? Identification of the threatened moss Orthodontium gracile using molecular and morphological techniques' Conservation Genetics 11, (3) 1033-1042 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK & Ramsay MM (2008) 'How bryophytes came out of the cold: successful cryopreservation of threatened species' Biodiversity and Conservation 18, (5) 1413-1420 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Duckett JG, Mortimer CL, Ramsay MM & Pressel S (2007) 'Formation of Specialized Propagules Resistant to Desiccation and Cryopreservation in the Threatened Moss Ditrichum plumbicola (Ditrichales, Bryopsida)' Annals of Botany 100, (3) 483-496 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK (2006) 'Development of novel methods for the initiation of in vitro bryophyte cultures for conservation' Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture 87, (2) 191-201 Publisher Site , DOI
Sarasan V, Cripps R, Ramsay MM, Atherton C, McMichen M, Prendergast G & Rowntree JK (2006) 'Conservation In vitro of threatened plants—Progress in the past decade' In Vitro Cellular &amp; Developmental Biology - Plant 42, (3) 206-214 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK & Sheffield E (2005) 'Effects of asulam spraying on non-target ferns' Canadian Journal of Botany 83, (12) 1622-1629 Publisher Site , DOI
Jennifer KR & Margaret MR (2005) 'Ex situconservation of bryophytes: progress and potential of a pilot project' Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Briología (26-27(25)) 17-22 Publisher Site , DOI
Rowntree JK, Sheffield E & Burch J (2005) 'Growth and Development of Mosses are Inhibited by the Common Herbicide Asulam' The Bryologist 108, (2) 287-294 Publisher Site , DOI
Cameron DD, Hwangbo J-K, Keith AM, Geniez J-M, Kraushaar D, Rowntree J & Seel WE (2005) 'Interactions between the hemiparasitic angiospermRhinanthus minor and its hosts: From the cell to the ecosystem' Folia Geobotanica 40, (2-3) 217-229 Publisher Site , DOI
ROWNTREE JK (2003) 'Exposure to Asulox Inhibits the Growth of Mosses' Annals of Botany 92, (4) 547-556 Publisher Site , DOI
Khudr MS, Potter T, Rowntree J & Preziosi RF (2014) 'Community Genetic and Competition Effects in a Model Pea Aphid System' Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics Elsevier 243-265 Publisher Site , DOI
Schoener TW, Moya-Laraño J, Rowntree J & Woodward G (2014) 'Preface' Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics Elsevier xiii-xxii Publisher Site , DOI
Moya-Laraño J, Verdeny-Vilalta O, Rowntree J, Melguizo-Ruiz N, Montserrat M & Laiolo P (2012) 'Climate Change and Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics in Food Webs' Advances in Ecological Research Elsevier 1-80 Publisher Site , DOI