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Bryce A. Richardson

Bryce A. Richardson
Research Geneticist Plant
Maintaining Resilient Dryland Ecosystems
1221 South Main Street
Moscow, ID 83843-4211
United States
Current Research

My current research focuses on molecular and quantitative genetics of shrub and tree species. This research includes understanding the evolutionary relationships, population genetic structure, and adaptive genetic variation. Current projects include the following species: big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) and aspen (Populus tremuloides). This research employs various genetic techniques: common garden trials to measure adaptive variation in quantitative traits, next-generation sequencing to develop molecular markers and annotate genes, and genecology to develop association between traits and climate variables to infer seeds zones for current and future climates.

Past Research
Much of a species demographic and evolutionary history is recorded into the DNA and phenotypic traits. Genetic research has an extremely broad use for basic and applied research. Molecular genetic data provide the insight into evolutionary relationships between plant taxa and assess intraspecific genetic diversity and structure. These data are critical in identifying unique or at risk populations, understand barriers to gene flow, and evaluate past climate change on demographics and biogeography. Genetics data can also assess environmental adaptation. Common gardens trials measure genetic responses to climate. This data is used to develop of seed zones for plant species. Knowledge of where to collect and plant seeds is critical to restoration success, sustainability of ecosystems and efficient use of funding.
Research Interest
My research interests include population genomics, genecology, and phylogenetics of plants. I am particularly interested in using genetic approaches to address ecological interactions between plants and the environment. Knowledge from these studies can be used to inform seed transfer and assisted migration strategies. Richardson, Bryce A.; Meyer, Susan E. 2012. Paleoclimate effects and geographic barriers shape regional population genetic structure of blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima: Rosaceae). Botany. 90: 293-299. Richardson, Bryce A.; Page, Justin T.; Bajgain, Prabin; Sanderson, Stewart C.; Udall, Joshua A. 2012. Deep sequencing of amplicons reveals widespread intraspecific hybridization and multiple origins of polyploidy in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata, Asteraceae). American Journal of Botany. 99(12): 1962-1975. Richardson, Bryce A.; Kitchen, Stanley G.; Pendleton, Rosemary L.; Pendleton, Burton K.; Germino, Matthew J.; Rehfeldt, Gerald E.; Meyer, Susan E. 2014. Adaptive responses reveal contemporary and future ecotypes in a desert shrub. Ecological Applications. 24(2): 413-427.
Why This Research Is Important

Knowledge of how plants are adapted to their environments is fundamental to ecological restoration and mitigating impacts from climate change. This research has applications for the development of current and future seed transfer zones, ensuring seed banks capture the genetic diversity of a species and other tools that enable restoration of natural ecosystems.

  • College of Idaho, Caldwell, ID, B.A., Biology, 1996
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, M.S., Forest Resources, 2001
  • Washington State University, Pullman, WA, Ph.D., Plant Pathology, 2006
Professional Experience
  • Research Geneticist,  Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forest Service, USDA,  2009 - Current
  • Biological Science Technician,  Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forest Service, USDA,  1999 - 2009
  • Teaching Assistant,  College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho,  1999 - 1999
Professional Organizations
  • Member,  Society of Ecological Restoration,  2011 - Current
    Contribute to scientific exchange.
  • Forest Genetic Resources Work Group Representative,  United Nations, Food And Agriculture Organization, North American Forestry Commission,  2011 - Current
    The goal of the commission is to develop collaborative projects to address forest and plant genetic needs for restoration and conservation.
Awards & Recognition
  • Rocky Mountain Research Station, Best Scientific Publication, 2016
    Publication: Will phenotypic plasticity affecting flowering phenology keep pace with climate change?
  • Merit award, 2014
    Superior performance in fiscal year 2014 in conducting research and publishing valuable papers
  • Merit award, 2012
    Superior performance in contributing to RMRS GSD program through productive output and effective teamwork.
  • Rocky Mountain Research Station, Best Publication for Early Career Scientist , 2010
    Awarded for: Congruent climate-driven genecological responses from molecular markers and quantitative traits for western white pine (Pinus monticola). International Journal of Plant Sciences
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

The Great Basin Native Plant Project

Year: 2016
Demand for native plant seed is increasing, especially in federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The BLM is guided by Executive Orders and Congressional direction to increase, where feasible ...

Techniques to Ensure the Right Sagebrush Seed is Put in the Right Place

Year: 2016
Wildfire, invasive weeds, and climate change are threatening sagebrush ecosystems including the flora and fauna that are dependent upon them. Both Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management policies dictate that successful restoration requires putting the right seed in the right place. Geneti...

Sagebrush Scent Identifies Species and Subspecies

Year: 2016
Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is the dominant plant species across much of the western United States and provides critical habitat and food for many endemic species, including the threatened Greater sage-grouse. Sagebrush habitat is imperiled due to disturbances and increased wildfire frequen...

Research to Guide Restoration in Changing Climates

Year: 2015
Understanding how climate affects species and populations of plants are critical for contemporary ecosystem management and future planning.

Science-based Guidelines for Restoration and Conservation of Sagebrush Ecosystems

Year: 2015
Helping to make prudent, research-based decisions to improve shrublands in the Interior West.

Research Helps Conserve and Restore Shrub Dominated Ecosystems

Year: 2012
Helping to make prudent, research-based decisions to improve shrublands in the Interior West