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Kew Latin American Research Fellowships

Building capacity for botanical research and conservation in Latin America

The Kew Latin American Research Fellowships (KLARF) programme provided support, over a ten-year period, for 87 scientists from Latin America (including the West Indies and the Guianas), allowing them to consult collections or conduct botanical research at Kew or the Natural History Museum. Fellowships often included visits to other European research institutes. This capacity-building programme has served as an important mechanism for promoting active collaboration between UK and Latin American scientists.

The KLARF programme was established in 1998 with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and ran for an initial three years. In 2002 a further donation enabled it to continue for an additional three years (Phase 2: 2003-2006). The Weston Foundation also made a generous donation to Kew in 2002, specifically to fund a programme of fellowships (2003-2008) in recognition of the outstanding contributions made to botanical science and conservation by Professor Sir Ghillean Prance during his 11 years as Director of RBG Kew. These resources have been administered jointly.

KLARF Fellowships focused on developing capacity for plant science research in Latin America. Particular emphasis was given to projects fostering one-to-one research collaboration between European and Latin American botanical scientists. Proposals were also invited from those wishing primarily to consult European botanical reference collections for the purpose of advancing their own research.

Supported research fields included morphology-based taxonomy, biogeography, micromorphology (including anatomy and palynology), cytogenetics, biochemistry, molecular systematics and phylogeny, horticultural science, comparative developmental studies and related fields, capacity-building, repatriation of knowledge to Neotropical countries, and building collaborations and partnerships with RBG Kew in conservation and the sustainable use of plant biodiversity. More information on the fellowships awarded is available on the programme website KLARF - past fellows.

The programme held its last funding round in 2008 and the final fellowships have now been completed. We are seeking funds to re-initiate this highly productive scheme.

Key papers published since 2006

  • Andrade, M., Mayo, S.J., Van Den Berg, C., Fay, M. F., Chester, M., Lexer, C. & Kirkup, D. (2007). A preliminary study of genetic variation in populations of Monstera adansonii var. klotzschiana (Araceae) from North-East Brazil, Estimated with AFLP molecular markers. Ann. Bot. 100(6): 1146 – 1154.
  • González F. & Rudall, P.J. (2010). Flower and fruit characters in the early-divergent lamiid family Metteniusaceae, with particular reference to the evolution of pseudomonomery. Amer. J. Bot. 97: 191 – 206.
  • Leme, C.L., Cartwright, C. & Gasson, P. (2010). Anatomical Changes to the Wood of Mimosa tenuiflora when charred at different temperatures. IAWA J. 31 (3): 333 – 351
  • Mello-Silva, R., Santos, D. Y., Salatino, M. L. F., Motta, L.B., Cattai, M. B., Sasaki, D., Lovo, J., Pita, P.B., Rocini, C., Rodrigues, C.D.N., Zarrei, M. & Chase, M. W. (2011). Five vicarious genera from Gondwana: the Velloziaceae as shown by molecules and morphology. Ann. Bot. 108(1): 87–102.
  • Milliken, W. & Baracat, A. (2007) Kew Latin America Research Fellowships Programme Review 1998-2007. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://www.kew.org/science/tropamerica/klarfreview.pdf.
  • Prenner, G., Vergara-Silva, F. & Rudall, P. J. 2009. The key role of morphology in modelling inflorescence architecture. Trends Pl. Sci. 14: 302 – 309.
  • Sajo M.G., Longhi-Wagner, H. & Rudall, P. J. 2008. Reproductive morphology of the early-divergent grass Streptochaeta and its bearing on the homologies of the grass spikelet. Pl. Syst. Evol. 275: 245 – 255.
  • Vieira, C. V., Silva, E.A.A. da, Alvarenga A.A. de, Castro, E.M. de & Toorop, P.E. 2010. Stress-associated factors increase after desiccation of germinated seeds of Tabebuia impetiginosa Mart. Pl. Growth Regul. 62: 257 – 263.

Project partners and collaborators

UK
The Natural History Museum