Skip to main content

You are here

Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Entwisle, Tim

Job title: 

Director Conservation, Living Collections and Estates

Conservation, Living Collections and Estates
Joined Kew: 

April 2011

Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Hons), Univ. Melbourne (Australia)
  • PhD, La Trobe University (Australia)
  • Fellow, Australian Institute of Landscape Design and Management
  • Adjunct Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney

Freshwater algal systematics, biogeography and ecology; botanical phenology and seasonality; science communication

Heading the Conservation, Living Collections and Estates Directorate, with responsibility for research and scientific policy in Seed Conservation (Millennium Seed Bank Partnership), Conventions and Conservation (including UK Overseas Territories, Conventions and Policy), horticultural propagation and conservation, and in situ restoration at Kew Gardens and Wakehurst Place. My personal research and science extension falls into three areas:

The variety, origins and conservation of freshwater and terrestrial algae

My personal research programme is primarily concerned with the systematic of freshwater algae, particularly red algae (Rhodophyta). The programme includes the discovery, classification and description of new species of algae, an assessment of their conservation status, and investigations into their phylogeny and biogeography. The key elements over the next few years will be:

  • Distribution and origins of exemplar groups such as the red algae and perhaps some green macro-algae or blue-green bacteria; date phylogenies. Continuation of existing research.
  • Collecting types of freshwater red algae from Europe (primarily UK, France & Portugal) for DNA sequencing to help resolve major taxonomic impediments worldwide
  • Collect in Madagascar and Africa (and further in Europe) for types and endemic species to resolve relationships and distributions of freshwater red algae around the world ('mid-deep' phylogeny), to: resolve conservation importance of particular species and regions; better understand the diversity of life through algal groups; and contribute to mapping floras of Madagascar and elsewhere.
  • Novel taxa and taxonomic resolution projects in Australia and other Southern Hemisphere regions.
  • Possible research on the conservation of the 'forgotten flora' (cryptogams, algae, fungi), and/or aquatic flora, in Europe, including spore banking

Pulse of the Planet: seasons and seasonality of plants

Research project to be initiated, including: visitor engagement and research (which species trigger response to seasonal change and what triggers them); historical and contemporary social research on seasons; link with phenology projects at Kew, Edinburgh and mainland Europe; consideration of ‘phenocams’ at Kew and Wakehurst Place for research and public engagement in environmental change issues; possible meadow and/or glasshouse experiments at Wakehurst Place; scientific testing of cyclic patterns reported (e.g. moon effect on germination); testing the ‘species tolerance envelope’ for key species in gardens across environmental gradients in Europe (not just tolerance but robustness, e.g. ability to outcompete weeds and pests, and flowering peaks and duration, not just first flowering, which may be due to changes in population size. I will also continue work on my book ‘In Due Season’ researching information on ‘classical’ seasonal change to compare with Australia and other regions with different seasonal changes.

Science promotion

Promoting plants, science and gardening through blogging (, Twitter (@TimEntwisle), and radio, print & TV opportunities as they arise.


At this stage my research is not aligned with existing projects or science teams at Royal Botanic Garden Kew, but I will make these connections following the 2011 Science Review. My focus on algae creates a potentially strong connection with the Natural History Museum and I am in the formative stages of a research relationship with Durham University.

Selected publications: 

Entwisle, T.J., Vis, M.L., Chaisson, W., Necchi O. Jr & Sherwood, A. (2009). Systematics of the Batrachospermales (Rhodophyta) – a synthesis. Journal of Phycology 45: 704–715.

Sherwood, A.R., Vis, M.L., Entwisle, T.J., Necchi, O. Jr. & Presting, G.G. (2008) Contrasting intra versus interspecies DNA sequence variation for representatives of the Batrachospermales (Rhodophyta): insights from a DNA barcoding approach. Phycological Research 56: 269–279.

Entwisle, T.J., Skinner, S., Lewis, S.H. & Foard, H.J. (2007). Algae of Australia: Batrachospermales, Thoreales, Oedogoniales and Zygnemaceae. (ABRS: Canberra; CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.)

Entwisle, T.J. (2007). Biogeography of freshwater macroalgae. Algae of Australia: Introduction 566-579.

Entwisle, T.J. (2007). Glaucocystophyta and Xanthophyceae. Algae of Australia: Introduction 207-208, 255-256.