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Kirkup, Donald W. [Don]

Job title: 

Senior Botanist

Herbarium Library Art and Archives
Biodiversity, Information and Conventions
Joined Kew: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Joint Hons), Botany and Geography, Univ. Hull, 1980
  • MSc, Pure and Applied Plant Taxonomy, Univ. Reading, 1983
  • PhD, Univ. Reading, 1993. 'The Structual Basis of Pollination in African Loranthaceae'
  • Editorial Board, Flora Malesiana

Team leader: Numerical taxonomy and morphometrics specialist; Functional morphological plant traits; e-taxonomy.

To deliver RBG Kew’s mission by enhancing the scientific reputation and maximising the impact of Kew's biodiversity information as applied to production of novel identification tools such as web-based floras and mobile applications (Breathing Planet Programme 1) and the research and integration of information such as the identification and successful use of locally-appropriate plant species under changing climatic regimes (Breathing Planet Programme 4). To act as a point of expertise and leadership within Kew for numerical taxonomy, morphometric methods, and identification tools and to collaborate on innovative and high impact research outputs.

The key areas of work are: to act as the focal point at Kew for all activities related to digital botanical texts; to lead initiation, fundraising, development and the implementation of projects either alone or in collaboration with EU partners; and lead at Kew the development of information standards relating to efloras, including the development of morphological plant traits databases; to investigate requirements for users of Kew's information beyond the taxonomic community and to safeguard intellectual property rights (IPR) by driving development of protocols within the context of collaborative projects.

Selected publications: 

Kattge et al (2011) "TRY - A Global Plant Traits Database" Global Change Biology, Vol. 17, Issue 9.

Soares, M.L.C. , Mayo, S.J. , Gribel, R., Kirkup, D. (ined.) Elliptic Fourier Analysis of leaf outlines in five species of Heteropsis (Araceae) from the Reserva Florestal Adolpho Ducke, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

Andrade, I.M., Mayo, S.J., Kirkup, D. & Van den Berg, C. (in press). Elliptic Fourier Analysis of leaf outline shape in forest fragment populations of Anthurium sinuatum and A. pentaphyllum (Araceae) from Northeast Brazil. Kew Bulletin.

Lexer, C., Joseph, J., van Loo, M., Prenner, G., Heinze, B., Chase, M.W. & Kirkup, D. (2009). The use of digital image-based morphometrics to study the phenotypic mosaic in taxa with porous genomes. Taxon 58: 349 – 364.

Andrade, I.M., Mayo, S.J. Van den Berg, C.,Fay, M.F., Chester, M., Lexer, C. and Kirkup, D. (2009). Genetic variation in natural populations of Anthurium sinuatum and A. pentaphyllum var. pentaphyllum (Araceae) from north-east Brazil using AFLP molecular markers. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 159, 88–105.

Andrade, I.M., Mayo, S.J., Kirkup, D. & Van den Berg, C. (2008). Comparative morphology of populations of Monstera (Araceae) from natural forest fragments in Northeast Brazil using elliptic Fourier Analysis of leaf outlines. Kew Bulletin 63: 193 – 211.