Kew's Science Projects
Kew scientists are involved in hundreds of scientific projects of varying scales ranging from individual PhD research programmes to large-scale network endeavours involving more than 40 institutional partners, across several continents. These project profiles document all our significant science projects (whether externally or internally funded).
Developing a revised and improved system of morphological fruit classification that leads to the development of interactive identification tools and the publication of a Dictionary of Fruit and Seed Morphological Terms
A comprehensive guide to the families, genera and species of conifers in the world.
A popular science book aimed at an educated general audience dealing with all aspects of conifer natural history.
A network for optimising and promoting the use of indigenous botanical knowledge for food security and poverty alleviation in Africa.
Adapting agriculture to climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time. To meet this challenge we are turning to the wild cousins of the crops we eat for their useful traits which have the power to safeguard our future food security.
Monography, phylogeny and conservation of African Syzygium (Myrtaceae)
Addressing slash and burn agriculture in West Central African Forests by finding an African equivalent to Inga
The African species of Lamiaceae have been studied for three major Flora projects: Flora of East Tropical Africa, Flora of Ethiopia and Flora Zambesiaca
A community-based project in Kenya documenting the use of traditional food plants and promoting their sustainable use and management for diet diversification and improved nutrition.
(project completed 2010)
Promoting sustainable management of botanical resources for food, medicine and crafting.
Project purpose: to assess the conservation status of Madagascar’s species of Aloe, develop and implement a conservation strategy incorporating in-situ and ex-situ measures, and publish an identification guide for workers in the field.
A new atlas of the world’s conifers is being prepared for publication later this year containing an analysis of their distribution, biogeography, diversity and conservation status
An on-demand identification service for wood samples and other fragmentary plant material that requires microscopic examination. This work is supported by our extensive and expanding reference microscope slide collection and staff expertise.
The ongoing monographic volume series Anatomy of the Dicotyledons is a reference work that is edited at Kew, and written by contributors from around the world.
A monographic reference work providing data on vegetative anatomy in a comprehensive range of monocotyledons
The African Plants Initiative (API) is an international project focused on digitization of previously unpublished botanical material of relevance to Africa. This material is made widely accessible for scholarly research purposes through the JSTOR Plant Science online resource.
Using unconventional supporting systems to increase survival rates of micropropagated plantlets of threatened species
An E-Taxonomy of the family Araceae: full taxonomic revisionary content for all genera and species of a major family of Angiosperms.
Kew is providing botanical expertise towards biodiversity assessments of habitats proposed for conservation under the Angolan Protected Areas Expansion Strategy.
Kew is providing expertise and collections-data towards an atlas of this diverse and important family in East Africa. This project will provide a good example of the ways in which accumulated herbarium data on plants can be used and disseminated to increase our knowledge of regional diversity and conservation priorities.
(project completed 2006)
Databasing and imaging of Kew's Australian type and selected historical specimens
Kew has been using a range of analytical methods based on chemical and DNA fingerprinting to identify the species of plants being traded, their quality as well as identifying new uses.
A project providing baseline data for the conservation and sustainability of coffee species, including the crop species, C. arabica (Arabica coffee) and C. canephora (robusta). Outputs include conservation assessments, ecological niche modeling and climate change analyses.
This project aims to understand how nutritional ecology and toxic plant compounds have influenced the decline in pollinator species in Britain.
(project completed 2004)
A transnational network of biological collections of all kinds.
Examine the evolutionary and ecological patterns and processes in the five Mediterranean regions of the world, with a particular focus on the integration of phylogenetic tools in biodiversity science.
Biodiversity inventory and monitoring to conserve critically threatened lowland forest in Sumatra
Biogeography and conservation based on digital Myrtaceae specimen records
(project completed 2010)
A new semi-arid to arid Tethyan Seaway origin is proposed for the family Leguminosae replacing the traditional wet tropical origin hypothesis.
Kew is investigating the processes that lead to the current distribution of the tropical forest and woodland legumes of the tribe Detarieae.
Combining historic knowledge with new data about the potential uses of species
Research to support UK grassland restoration: comparing different methods of reintroducing wild flower species, using seed as the starter medium.
A comprehensive treatment of British club and coral mushrooms, including keys, descriptions, and treatments of all known species.
Applying Kew's botanical expertise to cactus conservation and science in Brazil through research, capacity building and data provision
Providing ongoing advice to government to assist in implementing biodiversity related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs- excluding CITES) and related protocols.
A suite of initiatives which help build, within Kew, and in Kew’s national and international partners the capacity to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity and related protocols and agreements.
Evaluating the biomineral contents of plant cells for their diagnostic, systematic and environmental potential
The Mountains of Central Asia Flora was listed as a biodiversity hotspot by Conservation International in February 2005. The Flora was previously overlooked; 5500 species including 1500 endemic species in 64 genera over an area of 863,362 km2. Only 20% of the flora remains, of which 6.9% is currently protected.
Madagascar Vegetation Mapping project, informing conservation and decision makers.
The first-ever comprehensive checklist and database of the British and Irish Basidiomycota covers more than 3,600 species.
A project to create and maintain a searchable online database of plants of the Arabian Peninsula.
Kew, in collaboration with the University of Khartoum, is in the process of compiling a checklist of the wild plant species of the Republics of Sudan and South Sudan, together with a preliminary list of conservation priority species and habitats in the region.
Investigating the biochemistry and chemosystematics of Myrtaceae
Some of the alkaloids produced by monocots are being studied for systematic reasons or for their potential use.
Investigating the Lamiaceae species that are used traditionally as medicines and to control insects
Research to understand the characteristics of mitotic and meiotic behaviour of chromosomes from an extant early angiosperm family with respect to their potential importance for the general course of chromosome evolution.
A suite of initiatives which help build, within Kew, nationally and internationally the capacity to adequately implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Production of checklists for the major Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) listed plant groups.