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Scientific Meeting: Growing the Grass Classification

Image showing a grass dominated ecosystem on the Horombe plateau in central Madagascar occupy 20– 40% of Earth.
Thu, 2016-02-04 10:22

Why are grasses important?

The grass family is one of the largest families of flowering plants with around 12,000 species. Grasses feed the world and grasslands cover 20– 40% of the planet. They are more important for mankind than any other group of plants, but are difficult to identify because they have small flowering parts and complex floral morphology which is usually studied by dedicated specialists.

Student placements in IT

Information Technology student placements

Sandwich course placements are available in Science Applications Development and PC Systems Support. Among the applications supported by Science Applications Development team are the Electronic Plant Information Centre (ePIC) and the International Plant Names Index (IPNI). 

The student placements support Kew’s scientific, horticultural and administrative activities. Students gain valuable technical and non-technical skills and experience. The placements are funded by Kew and students are temporary salaried staff members.

Madagascar's rich and ancient grass flora

Image showing that Madagascar’s pastures are viewed as degraded anthropogenic vegetation but this disturbed ecosystem in Ankaramy Be is dominated by native and endemic grasses.
Thu, 2016-01-28 16:42

Cataloguing grasses of Madagascar shows natural diversity

A new assessment of the grass species of Madagascar has shown a rich and ancient grass flora that evolved on the island. Maria Vorontsova, a taxonomist specialising on tropical grasses (botanical family Poaceae) identified 541 species, including 217 endemics (those found only in Madagascar). A similar number of endemics can be found on other subtropical islands, and different endemic species are restricted to specialised habitats across Madagascar, as expected for natural ecosystems.

More than 140 new species discovered by Kew scientists in 2015

Image showing The top new species scorers at Kew for 2015 all with over 20 species published. Left to right: John Wood, 25 new convolvulaceae; Ian Darbyshire, >20 African acanthaceae, and Eve Lucas, >20 Brazilian myrtaceae.
Wed, 2016-01-06 11:50

Not only is this a great achievement in its own right (documenting global plant and fungal diversity is a strategic priority for Kew) but the benefits of these new species could be huge. With potentially new chemical properties and other important characteristics, these species could contribute to new medicines, crops and essential oils, or be important in their resilience to environmental change.

Sheila Thompson awarded MBE

Photo of Sheila Thompson
Thu, 2015-12-31 12:00

Over 700 hours donated to Kew each year

Sheila has given exemplary unpaid volunteer service to Kew for over 20 years. During this time she has donated over 700 hours of her time and talent to Kew each year and Kew would like to thank her and celebrate this monumental achievement. If one was to quantify her contribution then it would represent a total of about ten years of full time service to Kew and all of it unpaid! 

Kew scientist presents taxonomic checklist work at COP21

Mon, 2015-12-21 14:22

Maria was invited to participate in the UNFCCC COP21, where she gave a presentation and sat on the panel at the Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan Programme side event in Paris on the 9 December 2015.

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