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Banks, Hannah

Photo of Hannah Banks
Job title: 

Palynologist

Department: 
Jodrell Laboratory
Section: 
Micromorphology
Joined Kew: 
1992
Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc, Environmental Biology, Swansea Univ.
  • PhD, Oxford Brookes Univ.
Role: 

Research into pollen morphology and development, to assist identification, taxonomy, systematics and the understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes.

Research is carried out on the pollen of monocots and eudicots, with a primary focus on the Fabales clade as part of the legume team. Pollen has been sampled and data published for every genus in the legume subfamily Caesalpinioideae, plus the putative sister families Quillajaceae, Surianaceae and Polygalaceae. Current focus groups include the legume subfamily Mimosoideae, and the Cercideae (subfamily Caesalpinioideae). Collaborations are carried out with members of the pollen evolution team, legume team, and international collaborators on all aspects of pollen identification, taxonomy, systematics, development, ecology and evolution.

New techniques to examine pollen development using confocal microscopy have been developed to understand the unique pollen of the enigmatic legume Duparquetia, and other studies include research into the development and evolution of ‘Zwischenkörper’ (structures associated with pollen apertures and the germination of pollen tubes), polyads (highly evolved grouped pollen parcels) in mimosoid legumes, structure of the highly varied pollen of Bauhinia (Cercideae; Caesalpininoideae; Leguminosae), pollen characters in Alismatales (a large group of early-diverging monocots), and the pollen apertures and development of pollen in the eudicot Nelumbo (which was previously reported to have two fundamentally different pollen developmental types).

Support duties involve the preparation and curation of pollen collections, maintenance of the palynological specimen database, input of pollen bibliographic references into the plant micromorphology bibliographical database (PMBD), and answering palynological enquiries. Technical duties include laboratory maintenance, providing training in laboratory procedures and in the use of electron microscopes, and carrying out health and safety duties for the Palynology laboratory.

Selected publications: 

Banks, H., Forest, F. & Lewis, G. (2014). Evolution and diversity of pollen morphology in tribe Cercideae (Leguminosae). Taxon 63: 299-314.

Banks, H., Forest F. & Lewis, G. (2013). Palynological contribution to the systematics and taxonomy of Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae: Cercideae). Available online

Banks, H., Himanen, I. & Lewis, G.P. (2010). Evolution of pollen, stigmas and ovule numbers at the caesalpinioid-mimosoid interface (Fabaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 162: 594-615. Available online

Furness, C.A. & Banks, H. (2010). Pollen evolution in the early-divergent monocot order Alismatales. International Journal of Plant Sciences 171: 713-739.

Banks, H., Feist-Burkhardt, S. & Klitgaard, B. (2006). The unique pollen morphology of Duparquetia (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae): developmental evidence of aperture orientation using confocal microscopy. Annals of Botany 98 (1): 107-115.

Title

Banks, Hannah