Gail Taylor

Gail Taylor

Position Title
Professor and Department Chair, Department of Plant Sciences

Department Chair
Plant Sciences Executive Committee - Chair

1210 PES
UC Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis CA 95616

Research interests and expertise: 

  • Plant adaptation to the changing environment, particularly high CO­2 using naturally high CO2 springs as a proxy for future change, unravelling plastic and adaptive mechanisms using the wide genomics toolbox linked to phenotypic analysis.
  • Developing sustainable solutions for a future low-carbon society using green plants. We focus on fast-growing woody feedstocks, such as poplar, to deliver the biomass required globally to ensure Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). Our interest spans functions genomics, gene editing, through to greenhouse gas balance and sustainability of the supply chain. We work on ecosystem services, to value the true impact of the move to a low carbon economy.
  • Improvement and sustainable intensification of leafy green crops, particularly watercress and lettuce. We have developed the world’s first mapping population of watercress and use quantitative genomics to unravel the complexity of traits for nutrient densification, anti-cancer properties, plant architecture for mechanical harvesting, and vertical indoor urban farming.

Current projects:

Current teaching: 

  • Botany and Physiology of Cultivated Plants, PLS 002 (winter quarter)
  • Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Teaching

External activities that contribute to scholarship:

  • Member of the board, Californian Crop Improvement Association
  • Trustee and owner of Annals of Botany Company, responsible for the development of journals that support Plant Sciences – Annals of Botany, Botany One, Botany Too, AOB Plants, Plants in-silico
  • Member of Expert Advisory Group, Committee on Climate Change (CCC), Bioenergy Strategy, UK
  • Professor, Plant and Environmental Science, University of Southampton, UK
  • Chair and Director, Vitacress Conservation Trust
  • Member of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) Assessment Panel to assess UK research quality, sub-panel 5, Biological Sciences

Prizes, Awards, Honors:

  • Fellow of The Royal Society of Biology – FRSB, 2014

Google Scholar



Social media links: 



  • Poplar
  • Trees
  • Plant breeding
  • Lettuce
  • Leafy greens
  • Stress biology
  • Watercress
  • Bioenergy sustainability
  • DNA
  • GWAS
  • Genomics
  • Ecosystem services
  • Water relations
  • Bioenergy crops
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Postharvest
  • Transcriptomics
  • Leaf microbiome
  • Soil microbiome
  • Sustainable intensification