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Powell, Martyn P.

Job title: 

DNA Sequencing Specialist

Molecular Systematics
Joined Kew: 
Qualifications and appointments: 

BSc (Hons), Univ. Surrey, 1997.


Floral mimicry; speciation in Neotropical orchids; molecular phylogenetics; South African biodiversity.

The research on floral mimicry will help understand evolution of floral colour and address whether mimicry operates (and drives speciation) in plant communities that include deceptive orchids. This work utilises high-tech image analysis equipment to measure colour spectral reflectance of flowers and a model of insect vision to calculate convergence/divergence indices between species as seen through insect's eyes. Molecular phylogenetic studies of South African Iridaceae (at both generic and species-levels) aim to enhance understanding of the evolutionary processes that took place within this family. Research on Meso-american orchids includes a project to monitor biodiversity within this region and produce DNA barcodes for Costa Rican orchids.

Selected recent publications: 

Powell, M. P., Pupulin, F., Warner, J., Chase, M. W., & Savolainen, V. (2003). Floral mimicry in oncidioid orchids. Lankesteriana 7: 109-110.

Smith, J. F., Hileman, L. C., Powell, M. P. & Baum, D. A. (2004). Evolution of GCYC, a Gesneriaceae homolog of CYCLOIDEA, within Gesnerioideae (Gesneriaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31: 765-779.

Savolainen, V., Heard, S.B., Powell, M.P., Davies, T.J. & Mooers, A.Ø. (2002). Is cladogenesis heritable? Systematic Biology 51: 835-843.

Goldblatt, P., Savolainen, V., Porteous, O., Sostaric, I., Powell, M., Reeves, G., Manning, J.C., Barraclough, T.G. & Chase, M.W. (2002). Radiation in the Cape flora and the phylogeny of peacock irises Moraea (Iridaceae) based on four plastid DNA regions. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 25: 341-360.


Powell, Martyn P.