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Science & Conservation

A pilot for discovering plant diversity

Trolleys containing green boxes.
Wed, 2015-01-21 17:30

Plants preserved as herbarium specimens provide the evidence of what plants there are, where they grow and when they were collected. They provide the basis for modelling plant distribution over time, act as evidence that ensures plants are named consistently, and are a source of material for analyses of anatomy, disease and disease control, biochemistry and evolutionary relationships. Together, the herbaria at Kew and the Natural History Museum, London, contain more than 12 million specimens and are consulted by many visitors from around the world.

Useful Plants Project – workshop held at Kew

Delegates at UPP workshop
Mon, 2015-01-19 10:04

Evaluation of work to conserve plants and support livelihoods

From 22 to 24 July 2014, after seven years of activities of Project MGU-the Useful Plants Project (UPP), the 2nd project review workshop was successfully held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Kew). The main objectives of the workshop were:

Mycorrhizas in forest monitoring

Mycorrhizas in forest monitoring
Mon, 2015-01-12 15:59

Ectomycorrhizas play a pivotal role in temperate, boreal and some tropical forests by facilitating the uptake of water and nutrients from soil, enhancing drought resistance, and protecting roots from attackers. Changes in forest mycorrhizal communities are likely to affect the resilience of forest ecosystems to environmental changes, especially if the functions provided by these fungi are altered or disappear. Despite this, mycorrhizal fungi are rarely used in measures of forest status because large-scale, high-resolution, standardized and replicated belowground data are scarce.

Botanists ensure safety of South American tree

Aextoxicon punctatum
Tue, 2014-12-23 11:54

The team from Kew’s 500-acre country estate at Ardingly ventured to Chile in 2009 and encountered smoking volcanoes and leech-infested forests in their hunt to save highly endangered plant species of the area. They brought back over half a million seeds from the most vital plant species they discovered, climbing mountains and volcanoes, crossing rivers, and even collecting by boat in a fjord surrounded by dense temperate rainforest while dolphins and sea lions swam alongside.

PhD studentships in ‘Science & Solutions for a Changing Planet’

Wolfson Wing of Jodrell Laboratory
Tue, 2014-12-16 08:48

The Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) Doctoral Training Partnership is a unique, world-class, multidisciplinary PhD training opportunity. Kew is a partner in this programme, helping to train and inspire a new generation of environmental experts and leaders to tackle some of the toughest challenges of our time. Students have the opportunity to be based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for their research projects, utilising our world-class collections, facilities and expertise.

Projects based at Kew come under two themes:

Digitising Kew's weeds

Bluebell wood at Kew
Tue, 2014-12-02 13:35

The Wild Flora of Kew Gardens: A Cumulative Checklist from 1759 compiled by Tom Cope (Kew’s Grass Systematist until 2010, and now an Honorary Research Associate) was published by Kew in 2009. This publication combines historical records of plant species recorded growing wild in the 300 acres of Kew Gardens with Tom’s own observations made over the course of 35 years.