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Cold-driven extinctions

Wed, 2015-03-11 11:49

Effect of extinctions on ecosystems

Species extinction is one of the fundamental processes shaping biodiversity as well as the appearance and function of ecosystems. Extinction of entire groups of related organisms is more likely to have drastic ecosystem consequences than species losses that are spread evenly across the tree of life and is less easily amended by the evolution of new species. Understanding what circumstances lead to the loss of entire branches from the tree of life is crucial.

Homoglutathione in legumes

Centrosema pubescens
Tue, 2015-03-10 13:52

Glutathione (γ-glutamylcysteinylglycine), a tripeptide found in all higher eukaryotes, has antioxidant properties and plays a key role in maintaining cellular redox homeostasis. A glutathione homologue, homoglutathione, is found only in some species of Leguminosae and is believed to have arisen as a result of gene duplication after divergence of the orders Fabales, Solanales and Brassicales.

Mapping and monitoring mycorrhizal fungi on a European scale… why and how?

Mycorrhizal sampling
Mon, 2015-03-09 11:19

Pressing need for large-scale studies

Fungi play critical functional roles in our changing ecosystems and represent a considerable proportion of terrestrial biodiversity. Mycorrhizal fungi are increasingly viewed as a major functional guild that controls the interactions of plants with soils across ecosystems. Even though our ability to study them is expanding rapidly, it has been severely constrained by the lack of information on fungal distribution at large scales and the availability of robust long-term environmental datasets.

An amazing new project is taking place to redesign the Broad Walk

Fri, 2015-03-06 16:30

Kew is embarking on a major new project to create the longest double herbaceous borders in the UK. Stretching for over 300 metres along either side of the Broad Walk from the Orangery to the Palm House Pond, these borders will be planted with swathes of vibrant summer flowering perennials, grasses and bulbs to form a spectacular new horticultural feature. Selected plants from Kew’s botanical collections will also be incorporated into the planting design. The first phase of this project is the resurfacing of the Broad Walk path with a resin bound gravel surface, edged with brick.

Large-scale digitisation by Kew and Natural History Museum

Pictures shows four people standing around a conveyor belt. One person is leaning over the conveyor belt, placing pressed plant specimens onto it. Another person is operating a device that delivers barcode labels.
Fri, 2015-02-27 17:36

As previously reported, Kew and the Natural History Museum, London (NHM) have combined forces to carry out a pilot project for the mass digitisation of their herbarium specimens.

Science Strategy reveals reinvigorated vision for Kew’s science

Mon, 2015-02-23 16:28

Kew’s Science Strategy is published today. The strategy reveals a range of exciting new initiatives to be delivered by Kew, including:

New format for a traditional Flora

Cunoniaceae account for Flora of New Caledonia
Mon, 2015-02-23 10:39

New audiences may be crucial for conservation

Darwin's Birthday: 12 February

Wed, 2015-02-11 17:51

The orchid Chloraea magellanica was collected by Charles Darwin on 30 January 1834, during his famous Voyage of the Beagle, on Elizabeth Island (now Isla Isabel) in the Strait of Magellan. The great botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker used Darwin's specimen to name and describe this attractive plant in his Flora Antarctica of 1846. He wrote: "A perfectly distinct and very handsome species, confined in its habitat to that eastern portion of the Straits of Magalhaens, where, as Mr.