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Conservation Science

The Conservation Science department undertakes rigorous, evidence-based research and conservation activities to improve the global outlook for biodiversity.

Head, Conservation Science: Dr Colin Clubbe


Working with partners in the UK and overseas, the Conservation Science department generates evidence to enable monitoring, conservation and evaluation of the status of the world’s plants, fungi and protected areas. 

The Conservation Science department has four interlinked conservation research foci: 

  • Islands – prioritising UK, UK Overseas Territories and Madagascar. Provision of baseline science to underpin conservation policies for plants and fungi. Key activities comprise baseline inventories, conservation assessments, collections and recommendations for in situ and ex situ conservation management.
  • Seed conservation. Working with our international partners to undertake geographically-focused seed collecting to bank 25% of the world’s bankable plant species at the Millennium Seed Bank and partner seed banks worldwide by 2020.
  • Conservation genetics. Undertaking studies in population genetics, phylogenetics and genome size, using high-throughput sequencing technology and other relevant techniques to ensure that conservation actions are based on sound genetic evidence.
  • Conservation assessment and analysis. Initially focusing at the species level, utilising Kew’s collections (particularly herbarium specimens) and employing novel techniques to scale-up the production of plant Red List assessments to better understand extinction risks in plants. Along with data on habitats, protected area networks and future climate scenarios, we will employ relevant analytical methods to enable more effective conservation prioritisation of plants and ultimately a better understanding of the status of the world’s plants.