Professor Stephen Harris

Research interests

Evolution, systematics and conservation of plants


My research concentrate on the use of molecular markers in evolutionary and conservation biology, especially hybridisation, polyploidy, the evolutionary consequences of human-mediated plant movement and conservation genetics.

I am also interested in the problems of using herbarium specimens as a source of DNA for evolutionary studies, and the history of botany.

Contact details

+44 (0) 1865 275131

Publications (while at this department)

Yasmin S. Baksh-Comeau, Shobha S. Maharaj, C. Dennis Adams, Stephen A. Harris, Denis L. Filer, William D. Hawthorne (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots'. Phytotaxa, 250:1. DOI:

Spielmann, A, Harris, S.A, Boshier, D.H, Vinson, C.C. (2015) Orchard: Paternity program for autotetraploid species Molecular Ecology Resources.. doi:10.1111/1755-0998.12370.

Vinson, C.C, Kanashiro, M, Sebbenn, A.M, Williams, T.C, Harris, S.A, Boshier, D.H. (2014) Long-term impacts of selective logging on two Amazonian tree species with contrasting ecological and reproductive characteristics: inferences from Eco-gene model simulations Heredity.. doi:10.1038/hdy.2013.146.

Vinson, C.C, Kanashiro, M, Harris, S.A, Boshier, D.H. (2014) Impacts of selective logging on inbreeding and gene flow in two Amazonian timber species with contrasting ecological and reproductive characteristics Molecular Ecology. 24 (1): pp 38-53doi:10.1111/mec.13002.

Brennan, A.C, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2013) The population genetics of sporophytic self-incompatibility in three hybridizing senecio (asteraceae) species with contrasting population histories Evolution.. doi:10.1111/evo.12033.

Ludwig, S, Robertson, A, Rich, T.C.G, Djordjevic, M, Cerovic, R, Houston, L, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2013) Breeding systems, hybridization and continuing evolution in Avon Gorge Sorbus Annals of Botany. 111 (4): pp 563-575doi:10.1093/aob/mct013.

Rymer, P.D, Sandiford, M, Harris, S.A, Billingham, M.R, Boshier, D.H. (2013) Remnant Pachira quinata pasture trees have greater opportunities to self and suffer reduced reproductive success due to inbreeding depression Heredity.. doi:10.1038/hdy.2013.73.

Walker, T, Harris, S.A, Dixon, K.W. (2013) Plant conservation: the seeds of success Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 9780470658765. pp 313-326doi:10.1002/9781118520178.ch17.

Dee, M.W, Rowland, J.M, Higham, T.F.G, Shortland, A.J, Brock, F, Harris, S.A, Bronk, Ramsey C. (2012) Synchronising radiocarbon dating and the Egyptian historical chronology by improved sample selection Antiquity. 86 (333): pp 868-883

Proenca, C.E.B, Filer, D.L, Lenza, E, Silva, J.S, Harris, S.A. (2012) Phenological Predictability Index in BRAHMS: A tool for herbarium-based phenological studies Ecography.. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.07329.x.

Lucas, E.J, Matsumoto, K, Harris, S.A, Nic, Lughadha E.M, Benardini, B, Chase, M.W. (2011) Phylogenetics, morphology, and evolution of the large genus MYRCIA S.L. (myrtaceae) International Journal of Plant Sciences. 172 (7): pp 915-934doi:10.1086/660913.

Brennan, A.C, Tabah, D.A, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2010) Sporophytic self-incompatibility in Senecio squalidus (Asteraceae): S allele dominance interactions and modifiers of cross-compatibility and selfing rates Heredity.. doi:10.1038/hdy.2010.29.

Dee, M.W, Brock, F, Harris, S.A, Ramsey, C.B, Shortland, A.J, Higham, T.F.G, Rowland, J.M. (2010) Investigating the likelihood of a reservoir offset in the radiocarbon record for ancient Egypt Journal of Archaeological Science. 37 (4): pp 687-693doi:10.1016/j.jas.2009.09.003.

Harris, S.A. (2010) The Trower collection: Botanical watercolours of an Edwardian lady Journal of the History of Collections. 22 (1): pp 115-128doi:10.1093/jhc/fhn019.

Korbecka, G, Rymer, P.D, Harris, S.A, Pannell, J.R. (2010) Solving the problem of ambiguous paralogy for marker loci: Microsatellite markers with diploid inheritance in allohexaploid mercurialis annua (Euphorbiaceae) Journal of Heredity. 101 (4): pp 504-511doi:10.1093/jhered/esq026.

Lander, T.A, Boshier, D.H, Harris, S.A. (2010) Fragmented but not isolated: Contribution of single trees, small patches and long-distance pollen flow to genetic connectivity for Gomortega keule, an endangered Chilean tree Biological Conservation. 143 (11): pp 2583-2590doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2010.06.028.

Ramsey, C.B, Dee, M.W, Rowland, J.M, Higham, T.F.G, Harris, S.A, Brock, F, Quiles, A, Wild, E.M, Marcus, E.S, Shortland, A.J. (2010) Radiocarbon-based chronology for dynastic Egypt Science. 328 (5985): pp 1554-1557doi:10.1126/science.1189395.

Robertson, A, Rich, T.C.G, Allen, A.M, Houston, L, Roberts, C, Bridle, J.R, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2010) Hybridization and polyploidy as drivers of continuing evolution and speciation in Sorbus Molecular Ecology. 19 (8): pp 1675-1690doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04585.x.

Simon, M.F, Hughes, C.E, Harris, S.A. (2010) Four new species of mimosa (leguminosae) from the central highlands of Brazil Systematic Botany. 35 (2): pp 277-288.

Harris, S.A, Anstey, P.R. (2009) John Locke's seed lists: a case study in botanical exchange Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C. 40 (4): pp 256-264doi:10.1016/j.shpsc.2009.09.003.

Lander, T.A, Harris, S.A, Boshier, D.H. (2009) Flower and fruit production and insect pollination of the endangered Chilean tree, Gomortega keule in native forest, exotic pine plantation and agricultural environments Revista Chilena de Historia Natural. 82 (3): pp 403-412

Thorogood, C.J, Rumsey, F.J, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2009) Gene flow between alien and native races of the holoparasitic angiosperm Orobanche minor (Orobanchaceae) Plant Systematics and Evolution. 282 (1): pp 31-42doi:10.1007/s00606-009-0204-6.

Vinson, C.C, Ribeiro, D.O, Harris, S.A, Sampaio, I, Ciampi, A.Y. (2009) Isolation of polymorphic microsatellite markers for the tetraploid Dipteryx odorata, an intensely exploited Amazonian tree species Molecular Ecology Resources. 9 (6): pp 1542-1544doi:10.1111/j.1755-0998.2009.02694.x.

Fagg, C.W, Harris, S.A. (2008) (1843) Proposal to conserve the name Acacia goetzei against A. andongensis (Leguminosae) Taxon. 57 (3): pp 1001-1002

Thorogood, C.J, Rumsey, F.J, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2008) Host-driven divergence in the parasitic plant Orobanche minor Sm. (Orobanchaceae) Molecular Ecology. 17 (19): pp 4289-4303doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2008.03915.x.

Bebber, D.P, Harris, S.A, Gaston, K.J, Scotland, R.W. (2007) Ethnobotany and the first printed records of British flowering plants Global Ecology and Biogeography. 16 (1): pp 103-108doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2006.00266.x.

Bebber, D.P, Marriott, F.H.C, Gaston, K.J, Harris, S.A, Scotland, R.W. (2007) Predicting unknown species numbers using discovery curves Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 274 (1618): pp 1651-1658doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.0464.

Hughes, C.E, Govindarajulu, R, Robertson, A, Filer, D.L, Harris, S.A, Bailey, C.D. (2007) Serendipitous backyard hybridization and the origin of crops Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of. 104 (36): pp 14389-14389doi:10.1073/pnas.0702193104.

Lander, T.A, Boshier, D.H, Harris, S.A. (2007) Isolation and characterization of eight polymorphic microsatellite loci for the endangered, endemic Chilean tree Gomortega keule (Gomortegaceae) Molecular Ecology Notes. 7 (6): pp 1332-1334doi:10.1111/j.1471-8286.2007.01872.x.

Pushpakumara, D.K.N.G, Harris, S.A. (2007) Potential of RAPD markers for identification of fruit types of Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. (jackfruit) Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka. 35 (3): pp 175-179

Schluter, P.M, Soto, Arenas M.A, Harris, S.A. (2007) Genetic variation in Vanilla planifolia (Orchidaceae) Economic Botany. 61 (4): pp 328-336doi:10.1663/0013-0001(2007)61[328:GVIVPO]2.0.CO;2.

Anstey, P.R, Harris, S.A. (2006) Locke and botany Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C. 37 (2): pp 151-171doi:10.1016/j.shpsc.2006.03.001.

Brennan, A.C, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2006) The population genetics of sporophytic self-incompatibility in Senecio squalidus L. (Asteraceae): The number, frequency, and dominance interactions of S alleles across its british range Evolution. 60 (2): pp 213-224doi:10.1554/05-231.1.

Obbard, D.J, Harris, S.A, Pannell, J.R. (2006) Simple allelic-phenotype diversity and differentiation statistics for allopolyploids Heredity. 97 (4): pp 296-303.

Obbard, D.J, Pannell, J.R, Harris, S.A. (2006) Mercurialis canariensis (Euphorbiaceae), a new endemic to the Canary Islands Kew Bulletin. 61 (1): pp 99-106

Obbard, D.J, Harris, S.A, Pannell, J.R. (2006) Sexual systems and population genetic structure in an annual plant: Testing the metapopulation model American Naturalist. 167 (3): pp 354-366

Obbard, D.J, Harris, S.A, Buggs, R.J.A, Pannell, J.R. (2006) Hybridization, polyploidy, and the evolution of sexual systems in Mercurialis (Euphorbiaceae) Evolution. 60 (9): pp 1801-1815doi:10.1554/06-104.1.

Schluter, P.M, Harris, S.A. (2006) Analysis of multilocus fingerprinting data sets containing missing data Molecular Ecology Notes. 6 (2): pp 569-572.

Tite, M.S, Shortland, A, Maniatis, Y, Kavoussanaki, D, Harris, S.A. (2006) The composition of the soda-rich and mixed alkali plant ashes used in the production of glass Journal of Archaeological Science. 33 (9): pp 1284-1292doi:10.1016/j.jas.2006.01.004.

Bianchi, M.B, Harris, S.A, Gibbs, P.E, Prado, D.E. (2005) A study of the mating system in Dolichandra cynanchoides (Bignoniaceae): An Argentinian Chaco woodlands liane with a late-acting self-incompatibility Plant Systematics and Evolution. 251: pp 173-181doi:10.1007/s00606-004-0227-y.

Brennan, A.C, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2005) Modes and rates of selfing and associated inbreeding depression in the self-incompatible plant Senecio squalidus (Asteraceae): A successful colonizing species in the British Isles New Phytologist. 168 (2): pp 475-486doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2005.01517.x.

Bailey, C.D, Hughes, C.E, Harris, S.A. (2004) Using RAPDs to Identify DNA Sequence Loci for Species Level Phylogeny Reconstruction: An Example from Leucaena (Fabaceae) Systematic Botany. 29 (1): pp 4-14

Bhatt, A.M, Zhang, Q, Harris, S.A, White-Cooper, H, Dickinson, H. (2004) Gene structure and molecular analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana ALWAYS EARLY homologs Gene. 336 (2): pp 219-229doi:10.1016/j.gene.2004.03.033.

Starr, J.R, Harris, S.A, Simpson, D.A. (2004) Phylogeny of the unispicate taxa in Cyperaceae tribe Cariceae I: Generic relationships and evolutionary scenarios Systematic Botany. 29 (3): pp 528-544doi:10.1600/0363644041744455.

Bailey, C.D, Carr, T.G, Harris, S.A, Hughes, C.E. (2003) Characterization of angiosperm nrDNA polymorphism, paralogy, and pseudogenes Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 29 (3): pp 435-455doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.08.021.

Brennan, A.C, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2003) Population genetics of sporophytic self-incompatibility in Senecio squalidus L. (Asteraceae) II: A spatial autocorrelation approach to determining mating behaviour in the presence of low S allele diversity Heredity. 91 (5): pp 502-509

Brennan, A.C, Harris, S.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2003) The population genetics of sporophytic self-incompatibility in Senecio squalidus L. (Asteraceae): Avoidance of mating constraints imposed by low S-allele number Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B Biological Sciences. 358 (1434): pp 1047-1050

Starr, J.R, Harris, S.A, Simpson, D.A. (2003) Potential of the 5′ and 3′ ends of the intergenic spacer (IGS) of rDNA in the Cyperaceae: New sequences for lower-level phylogenies in sedges with an example from Uncinia pers. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 164 (2): pp 213-227

Brennan, A.C, Harris, S.A, Tabah, D.A, Hiscock, S.J. (2002) The population genetics of sporophytic self-incompatibility in Senecio squalidus L. (Asteraceae) I: S allele diversity in a natural population Heredity. 89 (6): pp 430-438doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800159.

Geissler, P.W, Harris, S.A, Prince, R.J, Olsen, A, Odhiambo, R.A, Oketch-Rabah, H, Madiega, P.A, Andersen, A, Molgaard, P. (2002) Medicinal plants used by Luo mothers and children in Bondo district, Kenya Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 83: pp 39-54doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00191-5.

Harris, S.A, Robinson, J.P, Juniper, B.E. (2002) Genetic clues to the origin of the apple Trends in Genetics. 18 (8): pp 426-430doi:10.1016/S0168-9525(02)02689-6.

Hughes, C.E, Donovan, Bailey C, Harris, S.A. (2002) Divergent and reticulate species relationships in Leucaena (Fabaceae) inferred from multiple data sources: Insights into polyploid origins and nrDNA polymorphism American Journal of Botany. 89 (7): pp 1057-1073

Robinson, J.P, Harris, S.A, Juniper, B.E. (2001) Taxonomy of the genus Malus mill. (Rosaceae) with emphasis on the cultivated apple, Malus domestica Borkh Plant Systematics and Evolution. 226: pp 35-58.

Robinson, J, Harris, S.A. (2000) A plastid DNA phylogeny of the genus Acacia miller (Acacieae, Leguminoseae) Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 132 (3): pp 195-222doi:10.1006/bojl.1999.0301.

Harris, S.A. (1999) DNA in systematics International Forestry Review. 1 (1): pp 45-46

Hawkins, J.A, Harris, S.A. (1998) RAPD characterisation of two neotropical hybrid legumes Plant Systematics and Evolution. 213: pp 43-55

Hughes, C.E, Harris, S.A. (1998) A second spontaneous hybrid in the genus Leucaena (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae) Plant Systematics and Evolution. 212: pp 53-77

Juniper, B.E, Watkins, R, Harris, S.A. (1998) The origin of the apple Acta Horticulturae. 484: pp 27-33

Brain, P, Harris, S.A, Barnes, R.D. (1997) Leaf peroxidase types in Acacia karroo HAYNE (Acacieae, Leguminosae): A range-wide study Silvae Genetica. 46: pp 88-94

Harris, S.A, Fagg, C.W, Barnes, R.D. (1997) Isozyme variation in Faidherbia albida (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae) Plant Systematics and Evolution. 207: pp 119-132

Harris, S.A, Abbott, R.J. (1997) Isozyme analysis of the reported origin of a new hybrid, orchid species, Epipactis youngiana (Young's helleborine), in the British Isles Heredity. 79 (4): pp 402-407doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6882310.

Ibrahim, A.M, Fagg, C.W, Harris, S.A. (1997) Seed and seedling variation amongst provenances in Faidherbia albida Forest Ecology and Management. 97 (2): pp 197-205doi:10.1016/S0378-1127(97)00100-X.

Kanashiro, M, Harris, S.A, Simons, A. (1997) RAPD diversity in Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa Humb. and Bonpl., Lecythidaceae) Silvae Genetica. 46 (4): pp 219-223

Myburg, H, Harris, S.A. (1997) Genetic variation across the natural distribution of the south east Asian pine, Pinus kesiya ROYLE ex GORDON (Pinaceae) Silvae Genetica. 46 (5): pp 295-301

Pushpakumara, D.K.N.G, Boshier, D.H, Harris, S.A. (1997) Mating system in Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam Tropical Agricultural Research. 9: pp 1-14

Harris, S.A. (1995) Systematics and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA in the genus Leucaena (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae) Plant Systematics and Evolution. 197: pp 195-208

Perez, de la Rosa J, Harris, S.A, Farjon, A. (1995) Noncoding chloroplast DNA variation in Mexican pines Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 91: pp 1101-1106.

Harris, S.A, Hughes, C.E, Abbott, R.J, Ingram, R. (1994) Genetic variation in Leucaena leucocephala (Lam) de Wit (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) Silvae Genetica. 43: pp 159-166

Harris, S.A, Hughes, C.E, Ingram, R, Abbott, R.J. (1994) A phylogenetic analysis of Leucaena (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) Plant Systematics and Evolution. 191: pp 1-26

Hughes, C.E, Harris, S.A. (1994) The characterisation and identification of a naturally occurring hybrid in the genus Leucaena (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) Plant Systematics and Evolution. 192: pp 177-197

List of site pages