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).
Sustainable management of fuelwood trees in the caatinga of Northeast Brazil
DNA barcoding projects at Kew include harvesting sequences from fungarium specimens to populate publicly accessible sequence databases, identification of mycorrhizal fungi on plant roots, and diversity surveys of tropical macrofungi.
Chemical analyses of fungi aid identification and classification of fungi, and predict, select and explore fungal species and strains in solving problems facing ecosystems, environment and industries.
Fungi are one of the most diverse organism groups, with an estimated 12000 species known from Great Britain and Ireland. The identification of many is difficult due to inadequate and inaccessible information and lack of reliable illustrations. This project brings together two large unpublished data sets as a freely accessible web resource.
Understanding what stress in seeds is, and developing analytical methods in the search for potential markers of seed viability.
Non-invasive approaches are being developed to enable diagnosis of seed viability without the need for germination testing.
Morphological and molecular studies giving new insights of the enigmatic and economically important genus Cyperus.
A new generic account of the large important monocot family Cyperaceae using a DNA-based classification to be published online and in hard copy.
An award winning, benchmark monograph of the palm family.
Producing an rbcL sequence for every genus of seed plants
Northern populations of Aesculus hippocastanum are not more genetically depleted than southern populations, thus suggesting that diversity for this species is not correlated with latitudinal distribution.
Using a range of DNA ‘fingerprinting’ techniques to inform the conservation strategy of threatened plants in the UK Overseas Territories.
Helping to elucidate the existence of hybridization zones
Barriers to gene flow between divergent populations or species result from selection on divergent phenotypes and from negative genomic interactions in hybrids. The recent sequencing of the Populus genome has created the opportunity to address the genetics of barriers to gene flow in a tree genus of immense ecological and economic importance.
This project aims to investigate the causes, consequences and evolutionary significance of the striking genome diversity encountered in angiosperms.
The project is aimed at documenting and understanding the evolutionary significance of the extensive genomic diversity encountered in monocots using a range of traditional and molecular cytogenetic methods to probe the genome.
GeoCAT is a web tool that harnesses primary biological data for semi-automated IUCN Red List assessment and analysis.
A taxonomic study of a group of rare rainforest trees
The Global Plants Initiative (GPI) is an international project focused on digitization of previously unpublished botanical material. This material is made widely accessible for scholarly research purposes through the JSTOR Plant Science online resource.
The World Checklist of Lamiaceae and Verbenaceae covers 7550 species of Lamiaceae and 1005 species of Verbenaceae
Combining phylogenetic, morphological, geographical and ecological data, global patterns and processes of plant diversity are being disentangled.
This project focuses on granite outcrops in the southwest Western Australian and Greater Cape biodiversity hotspots, using them as a system to investigate biogeographical and evolutionary questions.
A taxonomic treatment of Madagascan grasses is needed to assess the country's grassland biodiversity and its origins
A multi-authored floristic account of a major plant family in Thailand.
Updating two handbooks of the Botanical Society of the British Isles
The Guide to the Alpine and Subalpine Flora of Mt Jaya project has studied the flora of Mt Jaya, which at 4,884 m is the highest peak in Southeast Asia.
Project to develop botanical capacity, a National Herbarium and a Red Data book of the plants of Guinea (Conakry).
Providing a scientific basis for guinea yam conservation in Ethiopia through generating understanding of their diversity, domestication and ethnobotany.
Habitat restoration, conservation and sustainable plant use in southern Peru
Phylogenetic studies have provided insights into the biogeography and evolutionary history of Haemodoraceae.
(project completed 2008)
Comparing the evolutionary history of the three Mediterranean hotspots
A multi-site Host fellowship programme for Early Stage Research Training of the European Commission to study the world's biodiversity hotspots
Hybridisation and polyploidy have been major factors in angiosperm evolution; to study these phenomena, case studies must be undertaken, and the focus in this instance is the genus Nicotiana (Solanaceae).
Indigenous species are being screened for seed oil content to identify alternative oilseed crops for sustainable agriculture.
Seed priming improves germination and seedling establishment through reducing dormancy, improving desiccation tolerance and enhancing seedling growth. This technology, which has been used in the seed industry for decades, can be applied to wild species for use in in situ restoration.
The chemistry of economically important legumes is being studied to understand better the role that natural compounds play in traditional and new uses of legumes by humans.
Capacity building, seed banking and plant propagation for the conservation of the plant genetic diversity in the Insular Caribbean.
This project will develop a single online interactive key to the genera of Euphorbiaceae, Centroplacaceae, Pandaceae, Peraceae, Phyllanthaceae, Picrodendraceae, Putranjivaceae, Salicaceae, Achariaceae and Gerrardinaceae. The group is large (c. 400 genera) and widespread. Identification of genera is difficult both within and between families.
Guidance and support for Kew staff in setting up formal agreements with third parties in other countries.
Gateway to Africa Plants - un outil décisif vers l'identification des plantes africaines.
An Interactive Key to the genera of Lamiaceae facilitates identification of this large (7500 spp.) and commonly encountered plant family.
A project to expand the already successful Interactive Key to the Malesian Seed Plants so as to include further data, distribution information and generic characters for selected families.
Providing web-based information and identification resources for the flowering plants of the Neotropics.
A range of accessions of species from the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA were characterized for seed functional traits as influenced by seasonal variation in environment.
New insights in the phylogenetic relationships, paleobotany and paleogeography of angiosperms allow Kew researchers to investigate the spatial origin of early lineages of angiosperms, using sate-of-the-art parametric biogeographic methods.