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Seal, Charlotte

Charlotte Seal
Job title: 

Research Leader, Comparative Seed Biology

Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology
Joined Kew: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • D.Phil (Plant Biology), Univ. Sussex, 2003
  • BSc (Hons) Biology, Univ. Sussex, 1999
  • Editorial board of South African Journal of Botany, 2015 – present

My research is focused on the plasticity of seeds to tolerate abiotic stress factors (such as temperature, salt and drought) through the germination phenotype. I am interested in the mechanisms underlying stress tolerance in seeds (for example oxidative stress) to understand to function, and energetics to identify environmental stress thresholds (i.e. minimum, optimum and maximum) to germination, through inter- and intra-species comparisons. I also use mathematical approaches to develop models to enable the prediction of germination performance within the context of climate change. I have a research network across Europe, Asia and the America’s, and supervise a number of visiting scientists in addition to a PhD student based at Kew. I am also a member of the editorial board for South African Journal of Botany, and regularly review scientific articles for peer-review journals and grant proposals.

Selected publications: 

Fernández-Pascual, E., Seal, C. E. & Pritchard, H. W. (2015). Simulating the germination response to diurnally alternating temperatures under climate change scenarios: comparative studies on Carex diandra seeds. Annals of Botany doi:10.1093/aob/mcu234.

Stevens, N., Seal, C. E., Archibald, S. & Bond, W. (2014). Increasing temperatures can improve seedling establishment in arid adapted trees. Oecologia 175: 1029-1040.

Alhdad, G. M., Seal, C. E., Al-Azzawi, J. & Flowers, T. J. (2013). The effect of combined salinity and waterlogging on the halophyte Suaeda maritima: the role of antioxidants. Environmental and Experimental Botany 87: 120-125.

Kranner, I., & Seal, C. E. (2013). Salt stress, signalling and redox control in seeds. Functional Plant Biology 40: 848-859. Available online

Kranner, I., Minibayeva, F. V., Beckett, R. P. & Seal, C. E. (2010). What is stress? Concepts, definitions and applications in seed science. New Phytologist 188: 655-673. Available online