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.
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.
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.
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.