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Jonathan Cope

Jonathan Cope
Jonathan Cope is a researcher in cereal crops, looking at Genotype x Environment interactions. Previous work has included identification of genetic regions involved in tolerances to different biotic (e.g. fungal diseases) and abiotic (e.g. salt stress and nutrient differences). The current focus of his work is on the importance of the root system, and how this interacts with the nutrient cycle and microbial community to affect yield.


I am currently co-course leader for the BSc level course "Sustainable food production - challenges and cropping system solutions" (MX0146) as of 2024.

I am also a guest lecturer on the MSc level courses:


My main research is on the Grogrund funded project "HeRo - Healthy Roots: Development of tools for the selection of robust cultivars in Swedish plant breeding, with focus on the root system", which assesses the root system architecture (RSA) of predominantly winter wheat (but also spring wheat, oats, OSR, and beans). We assess how the environment (the region and the preceding crop) affects the RSA of these plants, and how that, in turn, affects the nutirent accumulation and the microbial community.

A new project I am involved in is the Ekhagastiftelsen funded "DIVERSOW- Increasing crop genetic DIVERSity to close the yield gap in Organic Wheat farming" which holistically assesses the reduced input benefits of incorporating landrace material in inter- and intra-cropping systems.

Additionally I am involved in the "Nutrient Efficient Wheat partnership (NEWp)" and the "N2CROP" projects. 


I have been working at the SLU (Department of Crop Production Ecology) as a Postdoktor/Forskare since Oct 2020. Prior to SLU I undertook my PhD at University of Aberdeen & The James Hutton Institute (2015-2019) with my dissertation entitled “Characterising Resilience and Resource Use Efficiency Traits from Scots Bere and Additional Landraces for Development of Stress Tolerant Barley”.

My MSc was undertaken at the University of East Anglia & The John Innes Centre (2013-2014), with my thesis evaluating pathogen interactions on Brachypodium. My BSc (Hons) was at the University of St Andrews (2009-2013), with my thesis investigating signiling activity of self-cleaving proteins in plant cells.


2020-Ongoing: PhD Student, Lorena Guardia Velarde, Co-supervisor  

2020-2022: MSc Student, Co-supervisor

Ongoing: BSc and MSc level internships

Selected publications


Guardia-Velarde L, Liu H, Cope JE, Westerbergh A, Weih M (2023). Differential breeding targets in wheat influence non-target traits related to grain quality, but not crop nitrogen requirement. Frontiers in Agronomy, 5.


Cope JE, Norton GJ, George TS, and Newton AC (2022). Evaluating Variation in Germination and Growth of Landraces of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Under Salinity Stress. Frontiers in Plant Science,  13:863069.

Cope JE, Norton GJ, George TS, and Newton AC (2021). Identifying potential novel resistance to the foliar disease ‘Scald’ (Rhynchosporium commune) in a population of Scottish Bere barley landrace (Hordeum vulgare L.). Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection, 128: 999–1012.

Cope JE, Russell J, Norton GJ, George TS, and Newton AC (2020). Assessing the variation in Manganese Use Efficiency Traits in Scottish Barley Landrace Bere (Hordeum vulgare L.). Annals of Botany, 126: 289-300.


Roulston C, Luke GA, Felipe P, Ruan L, Cope J, Nicholson J, Sukhodub A, Tilsner J, and Ryan MD (2016). ‘2A‐Like’ Signal Sequences Mediating Translational Recoding: A Novel Form of Dual Protein Targeting. Traffic, 17: 923-939.


Researcher at the Department of Crop Production Ecology; Plant Ecology
Telephone: +4618672249, +46733135277
Postal address:
Inst för växtproduktionsekologi, Box 7043
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls väg 16, Uppsala