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International Conservation Policy internship

Thu, 2016-02-25 15:17

Cactus specimens (Ferocactus spp.) smuggled into the UK (Photo: N.Smyth)

How sensitive are global ecosystems to climatic variability?

Image showing a global snapshot of the Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI), a new indicator of vegetation sensitivity to climate variability using satellite data between 2000-2013 at 5km resolution
Wed, 2016-02-17 18:00

Identifying sensitive ecosystems

Projected changes in climate in the 21st century are likely to have profound impacts on global ecosystems and it is essential to identify those regions that are most sensitive to these changes. In this study, the authors use a novel approach to characterise ecosystem responses to climate variability across global terrestrial systems. The new metric designed by the team is called the Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI) and measures the sensitivity of vegetation to air temperature, water availability and cloud cover.

Scholarship for QMUL Kew MSc

Mon, 2016-02-15 16:09

The National Parks Board, Singapore, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are seeking a Lee Botany and Biodiversity Scholar to undertake the MSc course Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, starting in September 2016.

Kew's Director of Science to give Michael Faraday Prize Lecture

Photo of Kathy Willis
Wed, 2016-02-10 17:12

Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture

Professor Katherine Willis was awarded the 2015 Michael Faraday Prize for her excellent work in science communication. Kathy’s award reflects, amongst other things, the BBC radio series last year ‘From Roots to Riches’ and the book of the same name. Previous winners of the prize include David Attenborough, Brian Cox and Robert Winston. Each year, the recipient of the prize gives a lecture at the Royal Society.

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.