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Mark Young

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Recent publications

Staff picture: Mark Young
Ecological Sciences
+44 (0)844 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK

Current technical activities

  • Database development, administration and management e.g. EU AMIGA, EU PURE, EU Legume Futures, EU SIGMEA and Agroecology.
  • Programming and development of bespoke software solutions for Agroecology.
  • Development of a compartment and flow model to simulate the flow of energy and carbon through arable and hill farming systems.
  • Development and maintenance of physiological measurement equipment and data loggers.
  • Provide expertise, training and support in GPS and GIS to Agroecology.


Current research interests 

  • Monotoring of greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Centre for Sustainable Cropping at Balruddery.
  • Examination of machine learning and datamining techniques for data analyses.
  • Development of a compartment and flow model to simulate the flow of energy and carbon through arable and hill farming systems.
  • Examination of nitrogen budgets within crop systems incorporating legumes.


Past research 

  • Geneflow as part of the SIGMEA project with various European Partners.
  • Ecotyping of barley and Capsella bursa-pastoris.
  • GIS analyses of European datasets in collaboration with workers from the Josef Stafan Institute, Slovenia.
  • Geneflow between Brassica napus and Brassica rapa.
  • Image analysis of graded potatoes.
  • A predictive model of potato tuber size distribution and procedures to optimise its operation.
  • Optimisation of nitrogen and water use in the potato crop.
  • An investigation of the factors associated with different patterns of reducing sugar accumulation in stored potato tubers.


  • Iannetta PPM, Begg G, James EK, Smith B, Davies C, Karley K, Lopez Del Egido, L, Hawes C, Young M, Ramsay G, Birch ANE, Valentine TA, Warburton-Brown C, Goldring A, Hughes T, Sprent J, Wolfe M and Rees RM. 2013. Sustainable intensification: a pivotal role for legume supported cropped systems. Aspects of Applied Biology 121, 2013

  • Begg, G.S., Wishart, J., Young, M.W., Squire, G.R. and Iannetta, P.P.M. 2012. Genetic structure among arable populations of Capsella bursa-pastoris L. is linked to functional traits and in-field conditions. Ecography 34 (published online: doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.07030.x)

  • Valentine, T.A., Hallett, P.D., Binnie, K., Young, M.W., Squire, G.R., Hawes, C. and Bengough, G.A. 2012 Soil strength and macropore volume limit root elongation rates in many UK agricultural soils. Annals of Botany 110(2) 259-270. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcs118

  • Sausse, C., Colbach, N,, Squire, G.R., and Young, M.W. 2012. How to manage the impact of gene flow on oilseed rape grain quality? Simulation case studies of three contrasted landscapes. European Journal of Agronomy 38, 32-42. doi:10.1016/j.eja.2011.12.002

  • Begg, G.S., Hawes, C., Birch, A.N.E., Iannetta, P.P.M., Squire, G.R., and Young, M.W.  2011. Managing landscape cropping patterns in support of arable biodiversity.  Aspects of Applied Biology 109: 47-52.

  • Karley, A.J., Hawes, C., Valentine, T.A., Johnson, S.N., Toorop, P.E., Squire, G.R., Young, M.W., and Iannetta, P.P.M. 2011. Can arable weeds contribute to ecosystem service provision? Functional diversity in shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris L. Medik.).  Aspects of Applied Biology 109:31-38.

  • Karley, A.J., Iannetta, P.P.M., Valentine, T.A., Bingham, I.J., Hoad, S., Young, M.W. and Squire G.R. 2011 Impact of plant traits on nitrogen-efficiency and compartmentation in arable systems.  Aspects of Applied Biology 105: 89-96.

  • Young, M.W., Hawes, C., Iannetta, P.P.M., James, E.K., Karley, A.J., and Squire, G.R. 2011  Increasing the sustainability of arable yield and reducing the dependence on chemical N fertilisers. Aspects of Applied Biology 109: 81-86.

  • Squire, G.R., Breckling, B., Pfeilstetter, A.D., Jorgensen, R.B., Lecomte, J., Pivard, S., Reuter, H., and Young, M.W.  2011. Status of feral oilseed rape in Europe: its minor role as a GM impurity and its potential as a reservoir of transgene persistence. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 18:111-115.

  • Hawes, C., Squire, G.R., Hallett, P.D., Watson, C. and Young, M.W. 2010.  Arable plant communities as indicators of farming practice.  Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment 138, 17-26.

  • Squire, G.R., Hawes, C., Begg, G.S. and Young, M.W. 2009.  Cumulative impact of GM herbicide-tolerant cropping on arable plants assessed through species-based and functional taxonomies.  Environmental Science and Pollution Research 16, 85-94.

  • Cullen, D.W., Squire, G.R., McNicol, J.W., Jacobs, J.H., Osborne, J.L., Ford, L., Ramsay, G., Scrimgeour, C.M. and Young, M.W. 2008.  Development and validation of gas chromatography and real-time quantitative PCR for the quantification of landscape-scale gene flow from varieties of high erucic acid (HEAR) oilseed rape.  Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 88, 2253-2264.

  • Debeljak, M., Squire, G.R., Demšar, D., Young, M.W. and Džeroski, S. 2008.  Relations between the oilseed rape volunteer seedbank, and soil factors, weed functional groups and geographical location in the UK.  Ecological Modelling 212, 138-146.

  • Iannetta, P.P.M., Begg, G.S., Hawes, C., Young, M.W., Russell, J.R. and Squire, G.R. 2007. Variation in Capsella (shepherd's purse): an example of intra-specific functional diversity. Physiologia Plantarum 129 (3), 542-554.
  • Debeljak, M., Squire, G.R., Demsar, D., Young, M.W. and Džeroski, S. 2006. Data mining methods reveal soil-related and community-dependent factors in the presence and abundance of weedy oilseed rape before GM crop trials. Ecological Modelling (in press).
  • Begg, G.S., Young, M.W., Hawes, C. and Squire, G.R. 2004. Persistence and potential impact of a GMHT trait in oilseed rape. Aspects of Applied Biology 73, 211-218.
  • Marshall, B. and Young, M.W. 2003. Automated on-farm assessment of tuber size distribution. EAPR 3rd Modelling Workshop, Invergowrie, Dundee, March 2003.
  • Hawes, C., Brooks, D.R., Bohan, D.A., Champion, G.T., Clark, S.J., Daniels, R.E., Dewar, A.M., Firbank, L.G., Haughton, A.J., Heard, M.S., Osborne, J.L., Parish, A.M., Perry, J.N., Rothery, P., Roy, D.B., Scott, R.J., Woiwod, I.P., Young, M.W. and Squire, G.R. 2003. Responses of plants and invertebrate trophic groups to contrasting herbicide regimes in the Farm Scale Evaluations of Genetically-Modified Herbicide-Tolerant crops. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 358, 1899-1913.
  • Haase, N.U., Goffart, J.P., MacKerron, D.K.L. and Young, M.W. 2000. Determination of crop nitrogen status using invasive methods. In: Management of nitrogen and water in potato production. Eds, Haverkort, A.J. and MacKerron, D.K.L., Wageningen Academic Publishers, ISBN: 90-74134-77-7.
  • Young, M.W., Groves, S.J., MacKerron, D.K.L., Marshall, B., McNicol, J.W., Turley, D., and Wiltshire, J.J.J. 1999. Defining the factors influencing the parameters of tuber size distribution. In: Abstracts of Conference Papers, Posters and Demonstrations. 14th Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research, Sorrento, Italy, 2-7 May 1999.
  • Marshall, B., MacKerron, D.K.L., Young, M.W., McNicol, J.W. and Wiltshire, J. 1998. Managing tuber size distributions in potato crop. Aspects of Applied Biology.
  • Young, M.W., MacKerron, D.K.L., and Davies, H.V. 1997. Factors influencing the calibration of near infrared reflectometry (NIR) applied to the assessment of total nitrogen in potato. 2. Operator, Moisture and Maturity Class. The Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy.

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  • Invergowrie Dundee DD2 5DA Scotland
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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.