Steve Lee, Bsc, PhD

Science Group & Programme Leader

Steve LeeEmail:

Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5900
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5950
Fax: +44 (0)131 445 5124

Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY

Steve joined Forest Research in 1983 to become the project leader for Conifer Breeding and gained a PhD in the quantitative genetics of Sitka spruce in 1997. As well as experience of breeding conifers and broadleaf species in Britain, Steve has spent time studying the breeding of loblolly pine in North Carolina and radiata pine in New Zealand. Steve has been involved in a number of EU contracts and was previously Chair of an IUFRO tree breeding working group and the RSFS Silvicultural Group. He has a wealth of practical Tree Breeding experience including interacting with foresters and others industry stakeholders.

Current role

Science Group Leader and Programme Leader

Responsibilities cover all aspects of work relating to the breeding of conifer (Sitka spruce, Douglas Fir, Scots pine, Corsican pine, Larch) and broadleaf species (Birch, sycamore, ash, oak) in Britain and consideration of emerging new species in the light of climate change. Activities include planning experiments, co-ordinating data collection and analysis, estimation breeding values, composition of breeding populations, promotion and demonstration of genetic gain in the forest, and investigation of new DNA-based and tissue culture-based techniques to speed up the rate of genetic gain getting to the forest

Current programmes

Affiliations and responsibilities

Main recent publications

Fuentes-UtrillaP, Goswami C, Cottrell JE, Pong-Wong R, Law A, A’Hara S, Lee SJ, and Woolliams JA (2017).  QTL analysis and genomic selection using RADseq derived markers in Sitka spruce: the potential utility of within family data. Tree Genetics and Genomes, 13:33. doi: 10.1007/s11295-017-1118-z.

Sáenz-Romero C, Lamy J-B, Ducousso A, Musch B, Ehrenmann F, Delzon S, Cavers S, Chałupka W, Dağdaş S, Hansen JK, Lee SJ, Liesebach M, Rau H-M, Psomas A, Schneck V, Steiner W,  Zimmermann NE and Kremer A (2017)  Adaptive and plastic responses of Quercus petraea populations to climate across Europe  Global Change Biology DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13576

Sollars ESA;  Nature Volume: 541, Pages: 212–216 doi:10.1038/nature20786.

Lee SJ, Connolly T, McG.Wilson SMcG, Malcolm DC, 3, Fonweban J, Worrell JR, Hubert J and Sykes RJ (2015)  Early height growth of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) provenances and implications for choice of planting stock in Britain. Forestry 88 (4): 484-499. doi:10.1093/forestry/cpv018

S.G. Kennedy, A.D. Cameron, S.J. Lee. (2013) Genetic relationships between wood quality traits and diameter growth of juvenile core wood in Sitka spruce. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 2013, 43(1): 1-6, 10.1139/cjfr-2012-0308

Cameron, AD, Kennedy, SG and Lee, SJ (2012) the potential to improve growth rate and quality traits of stem straightness and branching habit when breeding Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. Annals of Forest Science, 69: 363-371. Doi: 10.1007/s13595-011-0167-y

Lee SJ and Watt G (2012) Improved Sitka spruce planting stock; seedling from a clonal seed orchard or cuttings from full-sibling families? Scottish Forestry V66 N 2 18-25

Brothestone, S.,  White, I.M.S., Sykes, R., Thompson, R., Connolly, T., Lee, S. and Woolliams, J. (2011). Competition Effects in a Young Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis, Bong. Carr) Clonal Trial. Silvae Genetica 60, 3–4 pp149-155.

Lee, SJ., and Connolly, T. (2010). Finalizing the selection of parents for the Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr) breeding population in Britain using Mixed Model Analysis. Forestry, Vol. 83, No. 4, 423-431. 

Book and book chapters
Lee, SJ and Woolliams JA (2013) ‘Novel Tree Breeding’ Editors. Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA) No23-2013, 89pp

Lee SJ, Thompson D, Hansen JK (2013) Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong. Carr). Chapter in: Forest Tree Breeding in Europe: Current state of the art and Perspectives, Ed. Luc Paques. Springer. Managing Forest Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-6146-9_1

Mullin TJ and Lee SJ (2013) Best Practice for Tree Breeding in Europe. Editors. Skogforsk, Uppsalla Science Park, Sweden. IBSN: 978-91-977649-6-4.

Mullin, T.J., Andersson, B.,Bastien, J.-C., Beaulieu, J., Burdon, R.D., Dvorak, W.S.,King, J.N., Kondo, T., Krakowski, J., Lee, S.J., McKeand, S.E., Pâques, L., Raffin, A., Russell, J.H., Skrøppa, T., Stoehre, M. and Yanchuk, A. (2011). Chapter 2: Economic Importance, Breeding Objectives and Achievements. Pp. 40-127 In: Genetics, Genomics and Breeding of Conifers.  Edited by: C. Plomion, J. Bousquet and C. Kole.  Science Publishers, Inc., Enfield, NH; Edenbridge Ltd., UK

Major Presentations
Lee, SJ, Fuentes-Utrilla P,  Goswami C, Cottrell J, Blaxter M, Woolliams JA and Law A (2013)  Sitka spruce Breeding in Britain: Dawn of a New Era. Forest Genetics 2013: Joint Meeting of WFGA, CFGA, and IUFRO Working Groups 2.04.01 and 2.02.05. Invited speaker.

FC Publications
Lee, SJ and Watt G (2012) Choosing Sitka spruce planting stick. Forestry Commission Practice Note No 18, Forestry Commission, Scotland.

Lee SJ (in press) Choice of Birch planting stock for Commercial Woodlands. Forestry Commission Research Note.

Harper AL, Kelly LJ, Sambles CM, Ramirez-Gonzalez RH, Swarbreck D, Kaithakottil

G, Cooper ED,   Uauy C,  Havlickova L, Worswick G, Studholme DJ, JZohren J,  Salmon DL,  Clavijo BJ, Zhesi YL He, Fellgett A, McKinney LV, Rostgaard Nielsen L, Douglas GC, Kjær ED, Downie JA, Boshier D, Lee SJ  et al (2016).  Genome sequence and genetic diversity of European ash trees.