Primrose J. Boynton


I am interested in interactions among Saccharomyces yeasts, other yeasts, and the environment. The genus Saccharomyces contains seven species (including S. cerevisiae) and many hybrids (see figure). Mycologists also use the word "yeast" to describe other single-celled organisms in the kingdom Fungi. Yeasts can interact with one another in a variety of habitats, including soils, plants, wine, and fruit. My project examines the ecological and evolutionary consequences of yeast diversity.

I am particularly interested the qualities that make individual Saccharomyces strains successful in domesticated and wild environments. For example, S. cerevisiae often dominates uninoculated wine fermentations, even in the presence of many other yeast species. What qualities make a particular S. cerevisiae strain successful in wine? What is the influence of yeast diversity on the winemaking process? Saccharomyces can be found in forests, including forests close to wineries. Are individual strains adapted to wine or forests? What kinds of local selection pressures (e.g., environmental conditions, other microbes) select for individual Saccharomyces strains? How are selection pressures different in domesticated and wild environments?


Boynton PJ, Stelkens RB, Kowallik V, Greig D (2016) Measuring microbial fitness in a field reciprocal transplant.

DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12562

Boynton PJ, Greig D (2016) Species richness influences wine ecosystem function through a dominant species. Fungal Ecology 22:61-72.

DOI: 10.1016/j.funeco.2016.04.008

Boynton PJ, Greig D (2016) Fungal diversity and ecosystem function data from wine fermentation vats and microcosms. Data in Brief 8:225-229.

DOI: 10.1016/j.dib.2016.05.038

Gruber H, Wessels W, Boynton P, Xu J, Wohlgemuth S, Leeuwenburgh C, Qi W, Austad SN, Schaible R, Philipp EER (2015) Age-related cellular changes in the long-lived bivalve A. islandica. Age 37:90.

DOI: 10.1007/s11357-015-9831-8

Boynton PJ, Greig D. (2014) The ecology and evolution of non-domesticated Saccharomyces species. Yeast 31:449-462. 

DOI: 10.1002/yea.3040

Bruns TD, Peay KG, Boynton PJ, Grubisha LC, Hynson NA, Nguyen NH, Rosenstock NP (2009) Inoculum potential of Rhizopogon spores increases with time over the first 4 yr of a 99-yr spore burial experiment. New Phytologist 181:463-470.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02652.x


Current Research

Name: Primrose J. Boynton

Position: Postdoc

Joined group: 2012

Phone: +49 (4522) 763 261

E-mail: pboynton[at]

Office: 117


  PhD: Harvard University

  (2006 - 2012)

  BSc: University of

  California, Berkeley

  (1998 - 2002)

Research Interests:

  fungal biology

  community ecology


  microbial diversity


  local adaptation

Cladogram showing seven known Saccharomyces species. Coloured lines indicate well-known hybrids. From Boynton & Greig (2014).