Dr Jim Provan PhD, BSc

Dr Jim Provan

Reader in Biological Science

Contact Details


My current research is primarily concerned with the evolutionary responses of natural populations to global change. This ranges from using phylogeographic approaches to elucidate the response of species to previous climatic changes through the Ice Ages, through population genetic analyses of the impacts of present-day climate change on populations, to using next-generation sequencing (NGS) approaches to determine the potential for populations to respond to future climate change. I also carry out work in conservation genetics to inform management strategies for rare and threatened species.



Finlay, C., Bradley, C., Preston, J., Provan, J. 2017. (In press) Low genetic diversity and potential inbreeding in an isolated population of alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) following a founder effect. Scientific Reports Cadair

McKendrick, L., Provan, J., Fitzpatrick, Ú., Brown, M.J.F., Murray, T.E., Stolle, E., Paxton, R.J. 2017. Microsatellite analysis supports the existence of three cryptic species within the bumble bee Bombus lucorum sensu lato. Conservation Genetics 18 (3) pp. 573-584.


Brown, J., Beatty, G., Montgomery, I., Provan, J. 2016. Broad-scale genetic homogeneity in natural populations of common hazel (Corylus avellana) in Ireland. Tree Genetics and Genomes 12 122 Cadair

Brown, J.A., Beatty, G., Finlay, C.M.V., Montgomery, W.I., Tosh, D.G., Provan, J. 2016. Genetic analyses reveal high levels of seed and pollen flow in hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.), a key component of hedgerows. Tree Genetics and Genomes 12 (3) 58

Glynn, F., Houghton, J.D.R., Bastian, T., Doyle, T.K., Fuentes, V., Lilley, M.K.S., Provan, J. 2016. High-resolution genetic analysis reveals extensive gene flow within the jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca (Scyphozoa) in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 117 (2) pp. 252-263.

Beatty, G.E., Montgomery, W.I., Spaans, F., Tosh, D.G., Provan, J. 2016. Pure species within a continuum of genetic and morphological variation: sympatric oaks at the edge of their range. Annals of Botany 117 (4) pp. 541-549.

Freeman, M.S., Beatty, G.E., Dick, J.T.A., Reid, N., Provan, J. 2016. The paradox of invasion: Reeves' muntjac deer invade the British Isles from a limited number of founding females. Journal of Zoology 298 (1) pp. 54-63.

Kyle, R., Beatty, G., Roberts, D., Provan, J. 2016. Using genetic monitoring to inform best practice in a captive breeding programme: inbreeding and potential genetic rescue in the freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera. Conservation Genetics 17 pp. 1323-1332.


Beatty, G., Barker, L., Chen, P., Kelleher, C.T., Provan, J. 2015. Cryptic introgression into the kidney saxifrage (Saxifraga hirsuta) from its more abundant sympatric congener Saxifraga spathularis, and the potential risk of genetic assimilation. Annals of Botany 115 (2) pp. 179-186. Cadair

Beatty, G., Montgomery, W.I., Tosh, D.G., Provan, J. 2015. Genetic provenance and best practice woodland management: a case study in native alder (Alnus glutinosa). Tree Genetics and Genomes 11 (5) 92

Beatty, G., Brown, J.A., Cassidy, E.M., Finlay, C.M.V., McKendrick, L., Montgomery, W.I., Reid, N., Tosh, D.G., Provan, J. 2015. Lack of genetic structure and evidence for long-distance dispersal in ash (Fraxinus excelsior) populations under threat from an emergent fungal pathogen: implications for restorative planting. Tree Genetics and Genomes 11 (3) 53

Mineur, F., Provan, J., Arnott, G. 2015. Phylogeographical analyses of shellfish viruses: inferring a geographical origin for ostreid herpesviruses OsHV-1 (Malacoherpesviridae). Marine Biology 162 (1) pp. 181-192.

Glynn, F., Houghton, J.D.R., Provan, J. 2015. Population genetic analyses reveal distinct geographical blooms of the jellyfish Rhizostoma octopus (Scyphozoa). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 116 (3) pp. 582-592.

Beatty, G., Lennon, J.J., O'Sullivan, C.J., Provan, J. 2015. The not-so-Irish spurge: Euphorbia hyberna (Euphorbiaceae) and the Littletonian plant 'steeplechase'. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 114 (2) pp. 249-259. Cadair


Rojo, I., Olabarria, C., Santamaria, M., Provan, J., Gallardo, T., Viejo, R.M. 2014. Coexistence of congeneric native and invasive species: The case of the green algae Codium spp. in northwestern Spain. Marine Environmental Research 101 pp. 135-144.

Montgomery, W.I., Provan, J., McCabe, A.M., Yalden, D.W. 2014. Origin of British and Irish mammals: disparate post-glacial colonisation and species introductions. Quaternary Science Reviews 98 pp. 144-165.

Beatty, G., Provan, J. 2014. Phylogeographical analysis of two cold-tolerant plants with disjunct Lusitanian distributions does not support in situ survival during the last glaciation. Journal of Biogeography 41 (11) pp. 2185-2193.

Beatty, G., Reid, N., Provan, J. 2014. Retrospective genetic monitoring of the threatened Yellow marsh saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) reveals genetic erosion but provides valuable insights for conservation strategies. Diversity and Distributions 20 (5) pp. 529-537.

Brennan, G., Kregting, L., Beatty, G., Cole, C., Elsäßer, B., Savidge, G., Provan, J. 2014. Understanding macroalgal dispersal in a complex hydrodynamic environment: a combined population genetic and physical modelling approach. Interface 11 (95) 20140197


Bradley, C.R., Duignan, C., Preston, S.J., Provan, J. 2013. Conservation genetics of Ireland's sole population of the River water crowfoot (Ranunculus fluitans Lam.). Aquatic Botany 107 pp. 54-58.

Maggs, C.A., Le Gall, L., Mineur, F., Provan, J., Saunders, G.W. 2013. Fredericqia deveauniensis, gen. et sp. nov. (Phyllophoraceae, Rhodophyta), a new cryptogenic species. Cryptogamie, Algologie 34 (3) pp. 273-296.

Love, H.M., Maggs, C.A., Murray, T.E., Provan, J. 2013. Genetic evidence for predominantly hydrochoric gene flow in the invasive riparian plant Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam). Annals of Botany 112 (9) pp. 1743-1750.

Liu, J., Moeller, M., Provan, J., Gao, L., Poudel, R.C., Li, D. 2013. Geological and ecological factors drive cryptic speciation of yews in a biodiversity hotspot. New Phytologist 199 (4) pp. 1093-1108.

Provan, J., Glendinning, K., Kelly, R., Maggs, C.A. 2013. Levels and patterns of population genetic diversity in the red seaweed Chondrus crispus (Florideophyceae): a direct comparison of single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellites. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 108 (2) pp. 251-262.

Beatty, G., Provan, J. 2013. Post-glacial dispersal, rather than in situ glacial survival, best explains the disjunct distribution of the Lusitanian plant species Daboecia cantabrica (Ericaceae). Journal of Biogeography 40 (2) pp. 335-344.

Anisimova, M., Liberles, D.A., Philippe, H., Provan, J., Pupko, T., von Haeseler, A. 2013. State-of the art methodologies dictate new standards for phylogenetic analysis. BMC Evolutionary Biology 13 161 Cadair

Provan, J. 2013. The effects of past, present and future climate change on range-wide genetic diversity in northern North Atlantic marine species. Frontiers of Biogeography 5 pp. 60-66.


Doonan, J., Beatty, G., Sigwart, J.D., Provan, J. 2012. Extensive local-scale gene flow and long-term population stability in the intertidal mollusc Katharina tunicata (Mollusca Polyplacophora). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 106 (3) pp. 589-597.

Liu, J., Provan, J., Gao, L., Li, D. 2012. Sampling Strategy and Potential Utility of Indels for DNA Barcoding of Closely Related Plant Species: A Case Study in Taxus. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 13 (7) pp. 8740-8751. Cadair

Wilson, C.D., Beatty, G.E., Bradley, C.R., Clarke, H.C., Preston, S.J., Roberts, D., Provan, J. 2012. The importance of population genetic information in formulating ex situ conservation strategies for the freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera L.) in Northern Ireland. Animal Conservation 15 (6) pp. 593-602.

Provan, J., Maggs, C.A. 2012. Unique genetic variation at a species' rear edge is under threat from global climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279 (1726) pp. 39-47.


Beatty, G., Provan, J. 2011. Comparative phylogeography of two related plant species with overlapping ranges in Europe, and the potential effects of climate change on their intraspecific genetic diversity. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11 (29) 29 Cadair

Beatty, G.E., Provan, J. 2011. High clonal diversity in threatened peripheral populations of the yellow bird's nest (Hypopitys monotropa; syn. Monotropa hypopitys). Annals of Botany 107 (4) pp. 663-670.

Beatty, G., Provan, J. 2011. Phylogeographic analysis of North American populations of the parasitic herbaceous plant Monotropa hypopitys L. reveals a complex history of range expansion from multiple late glacial refugia. Journal of Biogeography 38 (8) pp. 1585-1599.


Provan, J. 2010. Population genetics of microalgae. In J. Xu. (ed) Microbial Population Genetics. Horizon Scientific Press pp. 109-123.

Beatty, G., Provan, J. 2010. Refugial persistence and postglacial recolonization of North America by the cold-tolerant herbaceous plant Orthilia secunda. Molecular Ecology 19 (22) pp. 5009-5021.

Beatty, G., Philipp, M., Provan, J. 2010. Unidirectional hybridization at a species' range boundary: implications for habitat tracking. Diversity and Distributions 16 (1) pp. 1-9.


Provan, J., Beatty, G., Keating, S.L., Maggs, C.A., Savidge, G. 2009. High dispersal potential has maintained long-term population stability in the North Atlantic copepod Calanus finmarchicus. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276 (1655) pp. 301-307.


Henry, P., Provan, J., Goudet, J., Guisan, A., Jahodova, S., Besnard, G. 2008. A set of primers for plastid indels and nuclear microsatellites in the invasive plant Heracleum mantegazzianum (Apiaceae) and their transferability to Heracleum sphondylium. Molecular Ecology Notes 8 (1) pp. 161-163.

Provan, J., Bennett, K.D. 2008. Phylogeographic insights into cryptic glacial refugia. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23 (10) pp. 564-571.

Beatty, G., McEvoy, P.M., Sweeney, O., Provan, J. 2008. Range-edge effects promote clonal growth in peripheral populations of the one-sided wintergreen Orthilia secunda. Diversity and Distributions 14 (3) pp. 546-555.

Provan, J., Beatty, G., Hunter, A.M., McDonald, R.A., McLaughlin, E., Preston, S.J., Wilson, S. 2008. Restricted gene flow in fragmented populations of a wind-pollinated tree. Conservation Genetics 9 (6) pp. 1521-1532.

Provan, J., Wilson, S., Portig, A.A., Maggs, C.A. 2008. The importance of reproductive strategies in population genetic approaches to conservation: an example from the marine angiosperm genus Zostera. Conservation Genetics 9 (2) pp. 271-280.

Provan, J., Booth, D., Todd, N.P., Beatty, G., Maggs, C.A. 2008. Tracking biological invasions in space and time: elucidating the invasive history of the green alga Codium fragile using old DNA. Diversity and Distributions 14 (2) pp. 343-354.

Bennett, K.D., Provan, J. 2008. What do we mean by 'refugia? Quaternary Science Reviews 27 (27-28) pp. 2449-2455.


Provan, J., Love, H.M., Maggs, C.A. 2007. Development of microsatellites for the invasive riparian plant Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam) using intersimple sequence repeat cloning. Molecular Ecology Notes 7 (3) pp. 451-453.

Provan, J., Wilson, P.J. 2007. Development of microsatellites for the peat moss Sphagnum capillifolium using ISSR cloning. Molecular Ecology Notes 7 (2) pp. 254-256.

Provan, J., Beatty, G., Maggs, C.A., Savidge, G. 2007. Expressed sequence tag-derived microsatellites for the cool-water marine copepod Calanus finmarchicus. Molecular Ecology Notes 7 (6) pp. 1369-1371.

Booth, D., Provan, J., Maggs, C.A. 2007. Molecular approaches to the study of invasive seaweeds. Botanica Marina 50 (5-6) pp. 385-396.

Verbruggen, H., Leliaert, F., Maggs, C.A., Shimada, S., Schils, T., Provan, J., Booth, D., Murphy, S., De Clerck, O., Littler, D.S., Littler, M.M., Coppejans, E. 2007. Species boundaries and phylogenetic relationships within the green algal genus Codium (Bryopsidales) based on plastid DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44 (1) pp. 240-254.


Cardoso, S.R.S., Provan, J., Lira, C.D.F., Pereira, L.D.O.R., Ferreira, P.C.G., Cardoso, M.A. 2005. High levels of genetic structuring as a result of population fragmentation in the tropical tree species Caesalpinia echinata Lam. Biodiversity and Conservation 14 (5) pp. 1047-1057.

Provan, J., Wattier, R.A., Maggs, C.A. 2005. Phylogeographic analysis of the red seaweed Palmaria palmata reveals a Pleistocene marine glacial refugium in the English Channel. Molecular Ecology 14 (3) pp. 793-803.

Provan, J., Murphy, S., Maggs, C.A. 2005. Tracking the invasive history of the green alga Codium fragile ssp tomentosoides. Molecular Ecology 14 (1) pp. 189-194.


Provan, J., Wolters, P., Caldwell, K., Powell, W. 2004. High-resolution organellar genome analysis of Triticum and Aegilops sheds new light on cytoplasm evolution in wheat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 108 (6) pp. 1182-1190. Cadair

Provan, J., Murphy, S., Maggs, C.A. 2004. Universal plastid primers for chlorophyta and rhodophyta. European Journal of Phycology 39 (1) pp. 43-50.

Provan, J., Biss, P.M., McMeel, D., Mathews, S. 2004. Universal primers for the amplification of chloroplast microsatellites in grasses (Poaceae). Molecular Ecology Notes 4 (2) pp. 262-264.


Wilson, P.J., Provan, J. 2003. Effect of habitat fragmentation on levels and patterns of genetic diversity in natural populations of the peat moss Polytrichum commune. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 270 (1517) pp. 881-886.

Lira, C.F., Cardoso, S.R.S., Ferreira, P.C.G., Cardoso, M.A., Provan, J. 2003. Long-term population isolation in the endangered tropical tree species Caesalpinia echinata Lam. revealed by chloroplast microsatellites. Molecular Ecology 12 (12) pp. 3219-3225.

Provan, J., Campanella, J.J. 2003. Patterns of cytoplasmic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae) revealed by polymorphic chloroplast microsatellites. Systematic Botany 28 (3) pp. 578-583.

Perera, L., Russell, J.R., Provan, J., Powell, W. 2003. Studying genetic relationships among coconut varieties/populations using microsatellite markers. Euphytica 132 (1) pp. 121-128.


Provan, J., Powell, W., Hollingsworth, P.M. 2001. Chloroplast microsatellites: new tools for studies in plant ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16 (3) pp. 142-147.

Perera, L., Russell, J.R., Provan, J., Powell, W. 2001. Levels and distribution of genetic diversity in coconut (Cocos nucifera L., var. Typica form typica) from Sri Lanka assessed by microsatellite markers. Euphytica 122 (2) pp. 381-389.

McIvor, L., Maggs, C.A., Provan, J., Stanhope, M.J. 2001. rbcL sequences reveal multiple cryptic introductions of the Japanese red alga Polysiphonia harveyi. Molecular Ecology 10 (4) pp. 911-919.


Russell, J.R., Ellis, R.P., Thomas, W.T.B., Waugh, R., Provan, J., Booth, A., Fuller, J., Lawrence, P., Young, G., Powell, W. 2000. A retrospective analysis of spring barley germplasm development from 'foundation genotypes' to currently successful cultivars. Molecular Breeding 6 (6) pp. 553-568.

Cardoso, S.R.S., Eloy, N.B., Provan, J., Cardoso, M.A., Ferreira, P.G.C. 2000. Genetic differentiation of Euterpe edulis Mart. populations estimated by AFLP analysis. Molecular Ecology 9 (11) pp. 1753-1760.

Provan, J. 2000. Novel chloroplast microsatellites reveal cytoplasmic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Molecular Ecology 9 (12) pp. 2183-2185.

Soranzo, N., Alia, R., Provan, J., Powell, W. 2000. Patterns of variation at a mitochondrial sequence-tagged-site locus provides new insights into the postglacial history of European Pinus sylvestris populations. Molecular Ecology 9 (9) pp. 1205-1211.

Perera, L., Russell, J.R., Provan, J., Powell, W. 2000. Use of microsatellite DNA markers to investigate the level of genetic diversity and population genetic structure of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.). Genome 43 (1) pp. 15-21.


Provan, J., Soranzo, N., Wilson, N.J., Goldstein, D.B., Powell, W. 1999. A low mutation rate for chloroplast microsatellites. Genetics 153 (2) pp. 943-947.

Muluvi, G.M., Sprent, J.I., Soranzo, N., Provan, J., Odee, D., Folkard, G., McNicol, J.W., Powell, W. 1999. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis of genetic variation in Moringa oleifera Lam. Molecular Ecology 8 (3) pp. 463-470.

Soranzo, N., Provan, J., Powell, W. 1999. An example of microsatellite length variation in the mitochondrial genome of conifers. Genome 42 (1) pp. 158-161.

Provan, J., Powell, W., Dewar, H., Bryan, G., Machray, G.C., Waugh, R. 1999. An extreme cytoplasmic bottleneck in the modern European cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum) is not reflected in decreased levels of nuclear diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 266 (1419) pp. 633-639.

Provan, J., Lawrence, P., Young, G., Wright, F., Bird, R., Paglia, G., Cattonaro, F., Morgante, M., Powell, W. 1999. Analysis of the genus Zea (Poaceae) using polymorphic chloroplast simple sequence repeats. Plant Systematics and Evolution 218 (3-4) pp. 245-256.

Provan, J., Thomas, W.T.B., Forster, B.P., Powell, W. 1999. Copia-SSR: A simple marker technique which can be used on total genomic DNA. Genome 42 (2) pp. 363-366.

Perera, L., Russell, C.T., Provan, J., Powell, W. 1999. Identification and characterization of microsatellite loci in coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) and the analysis of coconut populations in Sri Lanka. Molecular Ecology 8 (2) pp. 344-346.

Provan, J., Russell, J.R., Booth, A., Powell, W. 1999. Polymorphic chloroplast simple sequence repeat primers for systematic and population studies in the genus Hordeum. Molecular Ecology 8 (3) pp. 505-511.

Provan, J., Soranzo, N., Wilson, N., McNicol, J., Morgante, M., Powell, W. 1999. The use of uniparentally inherited simple sequence repeat markers in plant population studies and systematics. In P. Hollingsworth., R. Bateman., R. Gornall. (eds) Molecular Systematics and Plant Evolution. Taylor & Francis pp. 35-50.


Soranzo, N., Provan, J., Powell, W. 1998. Characterization of microsatellite loci in Pinus sylvestris L. Molecular Ecology 7 (9) pp. 1260-1261.

Perera, L., Russell, J.R., Provan, J., McNicol, J.W., Powell, W. 1998. Evaluating genetic relationships between indigenous coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) accessions from Sri Lanka by means of AFLP profiling. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 96 (3-4) pp. 545-550.

Provan, J., Soranzo, N., Wilson, N., McNicol, J., Forrest, G., Cottrell, J., Powell, W. 1998. Gene-pool variation in Caledonian and European Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) revealed by chloroplast simple-sequence repeats. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 265 (1407) pp. 1697-1705.

Cardoso, M., Provan, J., Powell, W., Ferreira, P.C.G., De Oliveira, D.E. 1998. High genetic differentiation among remnant populations of the endangered Caesalpinia echinata Lam. (Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae). Molecular Ecology 7 (5) pp. 601-608.


Provan, J., Corbett, G., McNicol, J.W., Powell, W. 1997. Chloroplast DNA variability in wild and cultivated rice (Oryza spp.) revealed by polymorphic chloroplast simple sequence repeats. Genome 40 (1) pp. 104-110.

Milbourne, D., Meyer, R., Bradshaw, J.E., Baird, E., Bonar, N., Provan, J., Powell, W., Waugh, R. 1997. Comparison of PCR-based marker systems for the analysis of genetic relationships in cultivated potato. Molecular Breeding 3 (2) pp. 127-136.


Provan, J., Powell, W., Waugh, R. 1996. Analysis of cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum) using intermicrosatellite amplification. Genome 39 (4) pp. 767-769.

Provan, J., Kumar, A., Shepherd, L., Powell, W., Waugh, R. 1996. Analysis of intra-specific somatic hybrids of potato (Solanum tuberosum) using simple sequence repeats. Plant Cell Reports 16 (3-4) pp. 196-199.

Provan, J., Corbett, G., Waugh, R., McNicol, J.W., Morgante, M., Powell, W. 1996. DNA fingerprints of rice (Oryza sativa) obtained from hypervariable chloroplast simple sequence repeats. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 263 (1375) pp. 1275-1281.

Provan, J., Powell, W., Waugh, R. 1996. Microsatellite analysis of relationships within cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 92 (8) pp. 1078-1084.

Powell, W., Machray, G.C., Provan, J. 1996. Polymorphism revealed by simple sequence repeats. Trends in Plant Science 1 (7) pp. 215-222.


Powell, W., Orozco-Castillo, C., Chalmers, K.J., Provan, J., Waugh, R. 1995. Polymerase chain reaction-based assays for the characterisation of plant genetic resources. Electrophoresis 16 (9) 3rd International Conference on DNA Fingerprinting, India, 13/12/1994 - 16/12/1994. pp. 1726-1730.