Heidi Dungey



Dr Heidi Dungey specialises in tree breeding and genetic resource characterisation for commercial forestry species including radiata pine, Douglas-fir, cypresses, eucalypts and redwoods. Her research encompasses quantitative and ecological genetics and breeding, including the application of new technologies in tree breeding programmes. As leader of Scion’s genetics research programme, Heidi works closely with New Zealand seed producers and forest growers to ensure breeding strategies are tailored to meet consumer needs.


  • PhD (Plant Science/CRC for Temperate Hardwood Forestry), University of Tasmania, Australia - 1997.
  • BSc (Hons) (Plant Science), University of Tasmania, Australia - 1991.
  • BSc (Major in Botany), University of Tasmania, Australia - 1989.

Research capabilities

  • Forest tree breeding, breeding strategy, hybrid breeding, theory and practice.
  • The interaction of insects and pathogens with genetics.
  • Quantitative and ecological genetics.
  • Seed-to-product research for planted forests in New Zealand, particularly radiata pine, Douglas-fir, cypresses, eucalypts, redwoods.
  • Breeding for carbon sequestration.
  • se of remote sensing for phenotyping in breeding programmes.

Career highlights

  • Science Leader, Genetics, New Forests, Scion 2011-present
  • Scion sabbatical to Oregon, Washington and British Columbia – October 2011.
  • Foundation for Research, Science and Technology funding for Diverse Forests research – species other than radiata pine for production forestry – 1.6 million per year for five years-2008.
  • Pacific Governance Support Program (PBSP) Governance Capacity Building for Socio-economic Change and Ecological Sustainability in Fiji – 2005.

Selected papers

Dungey HS, Dash JP, Pont D, Clinton PW, Watt MS, Telfer EJ. 2018. Phenotyping Whole Forests Will Help to Track Genetic Performance. Trends in plant science. 23:10, 854-864

Klápště J, Suontama M, Dungey HS, Telfer EJ, Graham NJ, Low CB, Stovold GT. 2018. Effect of Hidden Relatedness on Single-Step Genetic Evaluation in an Advanced Open-Pollinated Breeding Program. Journal of Heredity.  https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esy051.

Graham NJ, Suontama M, Pleasants T, Li Y, Bader MKF, Klápště J, Assessing the genetic variation of tolerance to red needle cast in a Pinus radiata breeding population. Tree Genetics & Genomes 14 (4), 55

Suontama M, Klápště J, Telfer E, Graham N, Stovold T, Low C, McKinley R, Dungey H. 2018. Efficiency of genomic prediction across two Eucalyptus nitens seed orchards with different selection histories. Heredity, 1

Klápště J, Suontama M, Telfer E, Graham N, Low C, Stovold T, McKinley R, Dungey H. 2017. Exploration of genetic architecture through sib-ship reconstruction in advanced breeding population of Eucalyptus nitens. PloS one 12 (9), e0185137

Dash JP, Watt MS, Pearse GD, Heaphy M, Dungey HS. 2017. Assessing very high resolution UAV imagery for monitoring forest health during a simulated disease outbreak. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 131, 1-14

Li Y, Suontama M, Burdon RD, Dungey HS. 2017. Genotype by environment interactions in forest tree breeding: review of methodology and perspectives on research and application. Tree Genetics & Genomes 13 (3), 60

Moore JR, Dash JP, Lee JR, McKinley RB, Dungey HS. 2017. Quantifying the influence of seedlot and stand density on growth, wood properties and the economics of growing radiata pine. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research 91 (3), 327-340

Kimberley MO, Moore JR, Dungey HS. 2016. Modelling the effects of genetic improvement on radiata pine wood density. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 46 (1), 8

Meason, DF, Kennedy SG, Dungey HS. 2016. Two New Zealand-based common garden experiments of the range-wide ‘Kuser’clonal collection of Sequoia sempervirens reveal patterns of provenance variation in growth and wood quality. New forests 47 (4), 635-651

Suontama M, Low CB, Stovold GT, Miller MA, Fleet KR, Li Y, Dungey HS 2015. Genetic parameters and genetic gains across three breeding cycles for growth and form traits of Eucalyptus regnans in New Zealand. Tree genetics & genomes 11 (6), 133

Telfer EJ, Stovold GT, Li Y, Silva-Junior OB, Grattapaglia DG, Dungey HS. 2015. Parentage reconstruction in Eucalyptus nitens using SNPs and microsatellite markers: a comparative analysis of marker data power and robustness. PloS one 10 (7), e0130601

Steward GA, Kimberley MO, Mason EG, Dungey HS. 2014. Growth and productivity of New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis (D. Don) Lindl.) in planted forests. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 44 (1), 27

Dungey HS, Williams NM, Low CB, Stovold GT. 2014. First evidence of genetic-based tolerance to red needle cast caused by Phytophthora pluvialis in radiata pine.  New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 44 (1), 31

Suontama M, Low CB, Stovold GT, Miller MA, Fleet KR, Dungey HS. 2014. Genetic parameters and genetic gains across three breeding cycles for growth and form traits of Eucalyptus regnans in New Zealand. Tree genetics & genomes 11 (6), 133

Dungey HS, Russell JH, Costa e Silva, Low CB, Miller MA, Fleet KR, Stovold GT. 2013. The effectiveness of cloning for the genetic improvement of Mexican white cypress Cupressus lusitanica (Mill.). Tree genetics & genomes 9 (2), 443-453

Dungey HS, Low CB, Lee J, Miller M, Fleet K, Yanchuk A . 2012. Developing breeding and deployment options for Douglas-fir in New Zealand: breeding for future forest conditions. Silvae Genetica 61 (1-6), 104-115

Kennedy SK, Dungey HS, Yanchuk AD, Low CB. 2012. Eucalyptus fastigata: its current status in New Zealand and breeding objectives for the future. Silvae Genetica 60: 259-266.

Dungey HS, Low CB, Ledgard NJ, Stovold GT. 2011. Alternatives to Pinus radiata in the New Zealand high-country: Early growth and survival of P. radiata, P. attenuata and their F1 hybrid. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 41: 61-69.

Dungey HS, Brawner JT, Burger F, Carson M, Henson M, Jefferson P, Matheson AC. 2009. A new breeding strategy for Pinus radiata in New Zealand and New South Wales. Silvae Genetica 58: 28-38.

Watt MS, Palmer DJ, Dungey HS, Kimberley MO. 2009. Predicting the spatial distribution of Cupressus lusitanica productivity in New Zealand. Forest Ecology and Management 258: 217-223.

Baltunis BS, Wu HX, Dungey HS, Mullin TJ, Brawner JT. 2009. Comparisons of genetic parameters and clonal value predictions from clonal trials and seedling base population trials of radiata pine. Tree Genetics and Genomes 5: 269-278.

Dungey HS, Matheson AC, Kain D, Evans R. 2006. Genetics of wood stiffness and its component traits in Pinus radiata. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 36: 1165-1178.

Dungey HS, Carson MJ, Low CB, King NG. 2003. Potential and niches for inter-specific hybrids with Pinus radiata in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 33: 295-318.

Dungey HS, Dieters MJ, Nikles DG (Editors) 2000. Hybrid breeding and genetics of forest trees. Proceedings of an international symposium. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Noosa, Queensland, Australia.

Dungey HS, Potts BM, Whitham TG, Li HF. 2000. Plant genetics affects arthropod community richness and composition: Evidence from a synthetic eucalypt hybrid population. Evolution 54: 1938-1946.

Dungey HS, Potts BM, Carnegie AJ, Ades PK. 1997. Mycosphaerella leaf disease: Genetic variation in damage to Eucalyptus nitens, Eucalyptus globulus, and their F1 hybrid. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 27: 750-759.