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Newton, Rosemary J.

Photo of Rosemary Newton
Job title: 

Seed Ecologist

Seed Conservation
Joined Kew: 


Foreign languages: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc, Univ. Witwatersrand, 1995.
  • BSc (Hons) Botany, Univ. Cape Town, 1996.
  • MSc Botany, Univ. Cape Town, 2000.
  • PhD, Univ. Reading, 2012.

Conducting high quality research into the ecological parameters affecting the developmental switch in seeds from the dormant to the germinating state, with particular emphasis on comparative studies on threatened species.

Research interests include investigating patterns in seed development, dormancy, germination, storage behaviour and longevity, and the development and application of predictive models, in support of ex-situ conservation and restoration.  My PhD research focused on seed development, dormancy, germination and ex-situ survival of selected Amaryllidaceae species, especially in European species Narcissus pseudonarcissus (wild daffodil) and Galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop). Current projects comprise, inter alia, research into factors (e.g. fire, alien invasive species) affecting seed germination and seedling survival in critically endangered sand fynbos and shale renosterveld habitats, in collaboration with South African partners at the University of Cape Town, City of Cape Town and University of Stellenbosch.  Threatened species studies include investigations into reproductive, recruitment and establishment behaviour of the threatened Mulanje cedar (Widdringtonia whytei) and Clanwilliam cedar (W. cedarbergensis), in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Cape Town.  Examining the status of seed dormancy in the Orchidaceae family is a future research objective.

Selected publications: 

Newton, R. J., Hay, F. R. & Ellis, R. H. (2013). Seed development and maturation in early spring-flowering Galanthus nivalis and Narcissus pseudonarcissus continues post-shedding with little evidence of maturation in planta. Annals of Botany111: 945-955.

February, E. C., Higgins, S. I., Newton, R. & West, A. G. (2007). Tree distribution on a steep environmental gradient in an arid savanna. Journal of Biogeography 34: 270-278.

Newton, R. J., Bond, W. J. & Farrant, J. M. (2006). Effects of seed storage and fire on germination in the nut-fruited Restionaceae species, Cannomois virgata. South African Journal of Botany 72: 177-180.

Holmes, P. M. & Newton, R. J. (2004). Patterns of seed persistence in South African fynbos. Plant Ecology 172: 143-158.

Newton, R. J., Bond, W. J. & Farrant, J. M. (2002). Seed development, morphology and quality testing in selected species of the nut-fruited Restionaceae. South African Journal of Botany 68: 226-230.