I am interested in interactions among Saccharomyces yeasts, other yeasts, and the environment. The genus Saccharomyces includes seven species (including S. cerevisiae) and many hybrids. Mycologists also use the word "yeast" to describe many other groups of single-celled organisms in the kingdom Fungi. Yeasts can interact with one another in a variety of habitats, including soils, plants, wine, and fruit. My project examines the ecological and evolutionary consequences of yeast diversity.
I am particularly interested the qualities that make individual Saccharomyces strains successful in domesticated and wild environments. For example, S. cerevisiae often dominates uninoculated wine fermentations, even in the presence of many other yeast species. What qualities make a particular S. cerevisiae strain successful in wine? What is the influence of total yeast diversity on the winemaking process? Saccharomyces can be found in forests, including forests close to wineries. Are individual strains adapted to wine or forests? What kinds of local selection pressures (e.g., environmental conditions, other microbes) select for individual Saccharomyces strains? How are selection pressures different in domesticated and wild environments?Publications
Boynton PJ & Greig D (2014) The ecology and evolution of non-domesticated Saccharomyces species. Yeast DOI: 10.1002/yea.3040 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/yea.3040/abstract