Barb Thomas, PhD, MSc, BSc (Agr)

Professor, NSERC/Forest Industry Research Chair in Tree Improvement, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Renewable Resources Dept

Contact

Professor, NSERC/Forest Industry Research Chair in Tree Improvement, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Renewable Resources Dept
Email
bthomas@ualberta.ca
Phone
(780) 492-8016
Address
442 Earth Sciences Building
11223 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E3

Overview

Area of Study / Keywords

tree improvement forest genetics ecophysiology climate resilience


About

Job/Research Area: Applied tree improvement and ecophysiology.

Awards/Board Membership:

  • 2014-2024– Associate NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Tree Improvement
  • 2014-present: Member of the Technical Review & Steering Committees for the 5-year review of the Alberta Forest Genetic Resource Management & Conservation Standards.
  • 2012-present: Elected member of the Executive Committee, International Poplar Commission (FAO). Rome, Italy. 
  • 2012-present: Founding Board member of Tree Improvement Alberta.
  • 2009-present: Member & writer of the technical review committee: AB Afforestation Carbon Credit Protocol.
  • 2009-present: Member of the Genetics Working Group, Poplar & Willow Council of Canada.
  • 2010-2014: Communications Chair of the Alberta Forest Genetic Resources Council (AFGRC).
  • 2009-2014: Chair, Poplar & Willow Council of Canada. 
  • 2002-2014: Industrial Sector Member – Alberta Forest Genetics Resources Council. 
  • 2001-2009: Co-Chair of the Genetics Working Group for the Poplar Council of Canada.

Research

Thomas Tree Improvement Lab Website: https://people.ales.ualberta.ca/barbthomas/

Thomas RES-FOR Website: https://resfor.ualberta.ca/


Major Responsibilities/Research Interests: My interests include addressing both basic and applied questions to enhance conifer seed orchard productivity, assess the impact of elite breeding in white spruce on increasing gain, and understanding trade-offs in selection for growth versus wood quality and drought resistance. Additional interests include integrating genetic gain into growth and yield models and if growth increases can be achieved through disparate population breeding in balsam poplar. A more fundamental research interest is to understand mechanisms underlying the distribution of aspen clones in terms of size and gender on the landscape. 

Students will be given exposure to industrial and government challenges and be expected to develop their research projects while considering both policy implications and industrial application. An evaluation of both the genetic value combined with the social and energy sector pressures on the landbase will also be undertaken through development of a model designed to evaluate tree improvement programs across the province. 

Provincial Industrial & Government Partners: Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Alberta Newsprint Timber Ltd., Canadian Forest Products Ltd., Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., Huallen Seed Orchard Company Ltd., West Fraser Mills Ltd. including: North Central Woodlands, Blue Ridge Lumber, Hinton Wood Products, Sundre Forest Products, and Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. including: Grande Prairie Timberlands & Pembina Timberlands and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. 


Teaching

RenR 368/768 Management and Utilization of Forest Genetic Resources

Announcements

Current positions available for both PhDs and PDFs – Please contact me directly or visithttps://ales-ssl.ales.ualberta.ca/gradpositions 

Courses

REN R 368 - Management and Utilization of Forest Genetic Resources

Basic principles in plant genetics and resource utilization including tree improvement and reclamation will be covered. Regular lectures will be supplemented with guest lectures and one lab exercise or field trip per month, an individual term report and a group project presentation/poster will be assigned. Lab exercises may include field trips.. Requires payment of additional student instructional support fees. Refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations section of the Calendar. Prerequisite: *30.

Winter Term 2022
REN R 402A - Directed Research in Renewable Resources

Directed research, with the intent of preparing the student for graduate studies. Generally undertaken in the fourth year of study, over the course of the fall and winter terms and results in an undergraduate thesis. Students wishing to enrol must obtain permission from an instructor, as well as the Associate Chair, Undergraduate, Department of Renewable Resources. Prerequisite: *60 and consent of instructor.

Fall Term 2021
REN R 402B - Directed Research in Renewable Resources

Directed research, with the intent of preparing the student for graduate studies. Generally undertaken in the fourth year of study, over the course of the fall and winter terms and results in an undergraduate thesis. Students wishing to enrol must obtain permission from an instructor, as well as the Associate Chair, Undergraduate, Department of Renewable Resources. Prerequisite: *60 and consent of instructor.

Winter Term 2022
REN R 768 - Management and Utilization of Forest Genetic Resources

Basic principles in plant genetics and resource utilization including tree improvement and reclamation will be covered. Regular lectures will be supplemented with guest lectures and one lab exercise or field trip per month, an individual term report and presentation/discussion lead on a selected paper will be required. Lab exercises may include field trips. May require payment of additional student instructional support fees. Refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations section of the Calendar. Not to be taken if credit received for REN R 368.

Winter Term 2022

Browse more courses taught by Barb Thomas

Publications

An analysis of age-age correlations in white spruce and lodgepole pine and how it applies to the growth and yield projection system (GYPSY) in Alberta
Author(s): Luo, D., and Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2/15/2021
Publication: Forest Ecology and Management
Volume: 482
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118865
Best of both worlds: hybrids of two commercially important pines (Pinus contorta x P. banksiana) combine increased growth potential and high drought tolerance
Author(s): Bockstette, S.W., de la Mata, R., and Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 1/7/2021
Publication: Canadian Journal of Forest Research
External Link: https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjfr-2020-0420
Reforestation policy has constrained options for managing risks on public forests
Author(s): Lieffers, V.J., Pinno, B.D., Beverly, J.L., Thomas, B.R., Nock, C.
Publication Date: 4/30/2020
Publication: Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Page Numbers: 1-7
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2019-0422
Growth parameters and resistance to Sphaerulina musiva-induced canker are more important than wood density for increasing genetic gain from selection of Populus spp. hybrids for northern climates
Author(s): Niemczyk, M., Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 3/19/2020
Publication: Annals of Forest Science
Volume: 77
Issue: 26
Page Numbers: 1-14
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-020-0931-y
Increment coring induced traumatic resin ducts in white spruce but not in lodgepole pine
Author(s): Klutsch, J., Kee, C., Cappa, E., Ratcliffe, B., Thomas, B.R., & Erbilgin, N.
Publication Date: 1/21/2020
Publication: Tree-Ring Research
Volume: 76
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 54-58
External Link: https://doi.org/10.3959/TRR2019-5
Selection of poplar genotypes for adapting to climate change
Author(s): Niemczyk, M., Hu, Y. & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 11/16/2019
Publication: Forests
Volume: 10
Issue: 11
Page Numbers: 1041
External Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111041
Impact of genotype and parent origin on the efficacy and optimal timingof GA4/7 stem injections in a lodgepole pine seed orchard
Author(s): Bockstette, S. & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 8/21/2019
Publication: New Forests
Volume: 51
Page Numbers: 421–434
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-019-09733-w
Differences in drought tolerance revealed in nine North American hybrid poplars
Author(s): Arshad, M., Biswas, K., Bisgrove, S., Schroeder, W., Thomas, B.R., Mansfield, S., Mattson, J. & Plant, A.
Publication Date: 4/5/2019
Publication: Trees
Volume: 33
Page Numbers: 1111–1128
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-019-01846-1
A financial analysis of using improved planting stock or white spruce and lodgepole pine in Alberta, Canada: Genomic selection versus traditional breeding
Author(s): Chang, W-Y, Gaston, C., Cool, J., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 3/30/2019
Publication: Forestry: An International J of For Res.
Volume: 92
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 297-310
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/forestry/cpz011
Hormones and heterosis in hybrid balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.)
Author(s): Hu, Y. & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2/10/2019
Publication: Forests
Volume: 10
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 143
External Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020143
Economic evaluations of tree improvement for planted forests: a systematic review
Author(s): Chang, W-Y., Wang, S., Gaston, C., Cool, J., An, H., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2/1/2019
Publication: BioProducts Business
Volume: 4
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 1-14
External Link: http://biobus.swst.org/index.php/bpbj/article/view/41
Spatial partitioning of competitive effects from neighbouring herbaceous vegetation on establishing hybrid poplars in plantations
Author(s): Goehing, J., Henkel-Johnson, D., Macdonald, E.S., Bork, E.W., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 1/8/2019
Publication: Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume: 49
Issue: 6
Page Numbers: 595-605
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2018-0410
Variation in aquaporin and physiological responses among Pinus contorta families under different moisture conditions
Author(s): Khan, S., Thomas, B.R., de la Mata, R., Randall, M.J., Zhang, W. & Zwiazek, J.J.
Publication Date: 1/6/2019
Publication: Plants
Volume: 8
Issue: 13
External Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8010013
Accelerating the selection process for Populus and Salix clones using short-term photosynthetic acclimation responses under greenhouse conditions
Author(s): Mamashita, T., Larocque, G. R., DesRochers, A., Beaulieu, J., Thomas, B. R., Mosseler, A., Major, J. and Sidders, D.
Publication Date: 8/11/2017
Publication: Écoscience
Volume: 24
Issue: 1-2
Page Numbers: 59-73
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/11956860.2017.1361508
Forest industry investment in tree improvement–a wise business decision or a bottomless pit? Answers from a new tree improvement valuation model for Alberta, Canada
Author(s): Schreiber, S. G., & Thomas, B. R.
Publication Date: 3/14/2017
Publication: The Forestry Chronicle
Volume: 93
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 38-43
External Link: https://doi.org/10.5558/tfc2017-009
Effects of alternative establishment systems on resource availability, understorey, composition, and tree performance in juvenile hybrid poplar plantations
Author(s): Goehing, J., Thomas, B.R., Macdonald, and S.E., Bork, E.W.
Publication Date: 3/7/2017
Publication: Forestry
Volume: 90
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 515-529
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/forestry/cpx005
Biomass from young hardwood stands on marginal lands: Allometric equations and sampling methods
Author(s): Lupi, C., Larocque, G. R., DesRochers, A., Labrecque, M., Mosseler, A., Major, J., Beaulieu, J., Tremblay, F., Gordon, A. M., Thomas, B. R., Vézina, A., Bouafif, H., Cormier, D., Sidders, D., Krygier, R.
Publication Date: 1/24/2017
Publication: Biomass and Bioenergy
Volume: 98
Page Numbers: 172-181
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.01.023
Relationships between understory vegetation and hybrid poplar growth and size in an operational plantation
Author(s): Grenke, J. S., Macdonald, S. E., Thomas, B. R., Moore, C. A., & Bork, E. W.
Publication Date: 12/9/2016
Publication: The Forestry Chronicle
Volume: 92
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 469-476
External Link: https://doi.org/10.5558/tfc2016-083
Impact of planting container type on growth and survival of three hybrid poplar clones in central Alberta, Canada
Author(s): Thomas, B.R., Schreiber S.G., Kamelchuk, D.P.
Publication Date: 7/15/2016
Publication: New Forests
Volume: 47
Page Numbers: 815-827
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-016-9546-4
Climate change risk management in tree improvement programs:selection and movement of genotypes
Author(s): Gray L.K., Hamann A., John S., Rweyongeza D., Barnhardt L., Thomas B.R.
Publication Date: 3/14/2016
Publication: Tree Genetics & Genomes
Volume: 12
Page Numbers: 23
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11295-016-0983-1
Influence of weed composition, abundance, and spatial proximity on growth in young hybrid poplar plantations
Author(s): Henkel-Johnson, D., Macdonald, S. E., Bork, E. W., & Thomas, B. R.
Publication Date: 2/15/2016
Publication: Forest Ecology and Management
Volume: 362
Page Numbers: 55-68
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2015.11.010
Evaluating sampling designs and deriving biomass equations for young plantations of poplar and willow clones
Author(s): Lupi, C., Larocque, G., DesRochers, A., Labrecque, M., Mosseler, A., Major, J., Beaulieu, J., Tremblay, F., Gordon, A.M., Thomas, B.R., Vézina, A., Bouafif, H., Cormier, D., Sidders, D., Krygier, R., Thevathasan, N., Riopel, M., Ferland-Raymond, B.
Publication Date: 12/1/2015
Publication: Biomass and Bioenergy
Volume: 83
Page Numbers: 196-205
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2015.09.019
Short-term growth and morphological responses to nitrogen availability and plant density in hybrid poplars and willows
Author(s): Mamashita, T., Larocque, G.R., DesRochers, A., Beaulieu, J., Thomas, B.R., Mosseler, A., Major, J., Sidders, D.
Publication Date: 10/1/2015
Publication: Biomass and Bioenergy
Volume: 81
Page Numbers: 88-97
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2015.06.003
Leaf size serves as a proxy for xylem vulnerability to cavitation in plantation trees
Author(s): Schreiber, S.G., Hacke, U.G., Chamberland, S., Lowe, C.W., Kamelchuk, D., Bräutigam, K., Campbell, M.M., Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 7/15/2015
Publication: Plant, Cell and Environment
Volume: 39
Page Numbers: 272–281
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/pce.12611
Testing the ‘hybrid susceptibility’ and ‘phenological sink’ hypotheses using the P. balsamifera – P. deltoides hybrid zone and Septoria leaf spot [Septoria musiva]
Author(s): LeBoldus, J. M., Isabel, N., Floate, K.D., Blenis, P., and Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 12/27/2013
Publication: PLOS ONE
Volume: 18
Issue: 12
Page Numbers: e84437
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084437
Wood quality and growth characterization across intra- and inter-specific hybrid aspen clones
Author(s): Hart, J.F., deAraujo, F. Thomas, B.R., and Mansfield, S.D.
Publication Date: 9/30/2013
Publication: Forests
Volume: 4
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 786-807
External Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/f4040786
Frost hardiness vs. growth performance in trembling aspen: an experimental test of assisted migration
Author(s): Schreiber, S.G., Ding, C., Hamann, D, Hacke, W.G., Thomas, B.R., and Brouard, J.S.
Publication Date: 5/9/2013
Publication: Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume: 50
Page Numbers: 939-949
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12102
Research on hybrid poplars and willow species for fast-growing tree plantations: its importance for growth and yield, silviculture, policy making and industrial applications
Author(s): Larocque, G.R., Desrochers, A., Lacheveque, M., Tremblay, F., Beaulieu, J., Mosseler, A., Major, J., Gaussiran, S., Thomas, B.R., Sidders, D., Perinet, P., Kort, J., Labrecque, M., Savoie, P., Masse, S., Bouman, O.T., Kamelchuk, D., Benomar, L., Mamashita, T., Gagne, P.
Publication Date: 2/1/2013
Publication: Forestry Chronicle
Volume: 89
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 32-41
External Link: https://doi.org/10.5558/tfc2013-009
From the Arctic Circle to the prairies – a case study of silver birch acclimation capacity
Author(s): Rousi, M, Possen, B.J.H.M., Hagqvist, R., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 12/31/2012
Publication: Silva Fennica
Volume: 46
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 355-364
External Link: https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.46
The potential of aspen clonal forestry in Alberta: breeding regions and estimates of genetic gain from selection
Author(s): Gylander, T., Hamann, A., Brouard, J.S., and Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 8/30/2012
Publication: PLoSONE
Volume: 7
Issue: 8
Page Numbers: e44303
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044303
Sixteen years of winter stress: An assessment of cold hardiness, growth performance and survival of hybrid poplar clones at a boreal planting site
Author(s): Schreiber, S.G., Hamann, A., Hacke, U.G., Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 8/16/2012
Publication: Plant, Cell and Environment
Volume: 36
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 419-428
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3040.2012.02583.x
Drought induces alterations in the stomatal development program in Populus
Author(s): Hamanishi, E., Thomas, B.R., & Campbell, M.M.
Publication Date: 7/6/2012
Publication: Journal of Experimental Botany
Volume: 63
Issue: 13
Page Numbers: 4959-4971
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/ers177
Clone history shapes Populus drought responses
Author(s): Raj, S., Bräutigam, K., Hamanishi, E., Wilkins, O., Thomas, B.R., Schroeder, W., Mansfield, S.D., Plant, A.L., & Campbell, M.M.
Publication Date: 7/26/2011
Publication: PNAS
Volume: 108
Issue: 30
Page Numbers: 12521-12526
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1103341108
Stomatal factors and vulnerability of stem xylem to cavitation in poplars
Author(s): Arango-Velez, A., Zwiazek, J.J., Thomas, B.R., & Tyree, M.T.
Publication Date: 5/30/2011
Publication: Physiologia Plantarum
Volume: 143
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 154-165
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-3054.2011.01489.x
Carbon, water, and energy exchanges of a hybrid poplar plantation during the first five years following planting
Author(s): Cai, T., Price, D., Orchansky, A., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 4/12/2011
Publication: Ecosystems
Volume: 14
Page Numbers: 658-671
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-011-9436-8
Genetic variation of hydraulic and wood anatomical traits in hybrid poplar and trembling aspen
Author(s): Schreiber, S., Hacke, U., Hamann, A., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 1/11/2011
Publication: New Phytologist
Volume: 190
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 150-160
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03594.x
A method for successfully inoculating unwounded Populus clones with Septoria musiva
Author(s): LeBoldus, J., Blenis, P. & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Plant Disease
Volume: 94
Issue: 10
Page Numbers: 1238-1242

Intraspecific variation in the Populus balsamifera drought transcriptome
Author(s): Hamanishi, E., Raj, S., Wilkins, O., Thomas, B.R., Mansfield, S.D., Plant, A.L., & Campbell, M.M.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Plant, Cell & Environment

Predicting the productivity of a young hybrid poplar clone under intensive plantation management in northern Alberta, Canada using soil and site characteristics
Author(s): Pinno, B.D., Thomas, B.R. & Bélanger, N.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: New Forests
Volume: 39
Page Numbers: 89-103

Susceptibility of Populus balsamifera to Septoria musiva: A field study and greenhouse experiment
Author(s): LeBoldus, J., Blenis, P., Thomas, B., Feau, N., & Bernier, L.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Plant Disease
Volume: 93
Page Numbers: 1146-1150

Autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration rates across a chronosequence of hybrid poplar plantations in northern Alberta
Author(s): Saurette, D.D., Chang, S.X., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: CJSS
Volume: 88
Page Numbers: 261-272

Clone by isolate interaction in the hybrid poplar-Septoria musiva pathosystem
Author(s): LeBoldus, J., Blenis, P. & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: Can. J. For. Res.
Volume: 38
Page Numbers: 1888-1896

Effects of N, NP, & NPKS fertilizers applied to four-year old hybrid poplar plantations
Author(s): van den Driessche, R., Thomas, B.R., & Kamelchuk, D
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: New Forests
Volume: 35
Page Numbers: 221-233

Land-use conversion effects on CO2 emissions: from agricultural to hybrid poplar plantation
Author(s): Saurette, D.D., Chang, S.X., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: Ecological Research
Volume: 23
Page Numbers: 623-633

Evaluating the interaction between genotype and water stress in the hybrid poplar-Septoria musiva pathosystem
Author(s): LeBoldus, J., Blenis, P. & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2007
Publication: Can. J. Bot.
Volume: 85
Page Numbers: 1098-1102

Flowering phenology and seed viability of native and non-native poplars in north-central Alberta
Author(s): Huybregts, A., Thomas, B.R., & Dancik, B.
Publication Date: 2007
Publication: Forestry Chronicle
Volume: 83
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 239-246

My Grandfather would roll over in his grave: Public perceptions of poplar plantations
Author(s): Neumann, P. Krahn, H., Krogman, N., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2007
Publication: Rural Sociology
Volume: 72
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 111-135

Poplar research in Canada – a historical perspective with a view to the future
Author(s): Richardson, J., Cooke, J.E.K., Isebrands, J.G., Thomas, B.R., & Van Rees, K.C.J.
Publication Date: 2007
Publication: Special Issue Can. J. Bot.
Volume: 85
Page Numbers: 1136-1146

Public perceptions of hybrid poplar plantations: Trees as an alternative crop
Author(s): Neumann, P., Krogman, N., & Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2007
Publication: International Journal of Biotechnology
Volume: 9
Page Numbers: 468-483

The interaction between nitrogen source, soil pH and drought in the growth and physiology of three poplar clones
Author(s): DesRochers, A., van den Driessche, R., and Thomas, B.R.
Publication Date: 2007
Publication: Special Issue Can. J. Bot.
Volume: 85
Page Numbers: 1046-1057