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).
Using morphometric techniques to deliver enhanced understanding of lilioid & alismatid monocot diversity to inform conservation
Kew has developed Millennium Seed Bank partnerships in all States and the Northern Territory of Australia. Outputs concern ex situ conservation of native species, (further) development of conservation facilities, and the promotion of use of the collections in restoration activities and scientific and applied research.
Ex situ conservation of the wild flora of Jordan has been carried out since 1996 with a total of 760 collections made in the review period 2006-11, representing 293 unique species, now conserved. Partners NCARE are currently developing a dry room with advice from the MSBP while a cold storage room is in operation.
Ex situ conservation of the wild flora of Lebanon has been carried out since 1996 with a total of 1293 collections made in the review period 2006-11, representing 471 unique species, now conserved. Partners LARI are currently developing a dry room and seed bank with advice from the MSBP.
The MSB partnership seeks to collect, conserve and sustainably use seeds of wild species of Madagascar and Southern Africa, including Botswana and Malawi.
A large portfolio of seed conservation collaborations developed between 2006 and 2009 which together contributed about 15% of the total species intake under MSB-1.
The purpose of this project is to conduct joint seed research leading to enhanced opportunities for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources of Brazil, including through knowledge exchange.
The MSB partnership seeks to collect, conserve and sustainably use seeds of wild species of West Africa, including Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mali.
The MSB China Programme is one of the strategic regional seed conservation programmes within the MSB Partnership and makes a major contribution to the overall success of the MSB. It helped establish the largest wild plant conservation facility in Asia, the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Yunnan.
Project purpose: to conserve in seed-bank collections in Madagascar and the UK, the most threatened and economically useful species of Madagascar’s orthodox flora (mostly sub-arid, dry and montane habitats) and to promote and facilitate their sustainable utilisation and restoration in the wild.
(Main project completed 2010; small-scale collaboration continuing till 2020)
A long-term collaborative project with the purpose of enhancing ex situ conservation and sustainable utilisation of plant genetic resources indigenous to Namibia.
Ex situ conservation of the wild flora of South Africa has been carried out since 1997. Partners SANBI have upgraded the dry room facility at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens with advice from the MSBP, while long-term cold storage of the collections is arranged with the National Plant Genetic Resources Centre in Roodeplaat, near Pretoria. Several species re-introduction projects have been undertaken.
Ex situ conservation of indigenous plants from the dryland regions of Tanzania
The purpose of this project is to coordinate seed collection of native plant populations in the United States for conservation of native plant species and for habitat restoration.
Mushroom mimicry is a bizarre example of a deceptive pollination strategy that exploits an intimate relationship between fungi and insects. This project explores the ecology and evolution of this phenomenon in the best-known group of fungal mimics: Dracula orchids.
Revealing the diversity, geographic ranges and environmental drivers of mycorrhizas in European forests.
A new classification for Myrcia s.l. and ongoing Floristic revision.
Supporting sustainable management of the botanical resources of BVI's National Parks
A comprehensive illustrated reference source for cacti of the world
The legume subfamily Caesalpinioideae (as currently circumscribed) comprises 171 genera, a number of which form the basally branching lineage within the legume phylogeny. Using a combination of molecular and morphological data the project aims to reveal inter-generic relationships within the study group that lead to a new phylogeny (and ultimately a new classification) of the Caesalpinioideae in its broadest sense.
Research on Neotropical Lamiaceae concentrates on monographic work on Tribe Ocimeae, subtribe Hyptidinae and general floristic work on Lamiaceae.
This project aims to contribute towards an integrated understanding of the special biogeographic, evolutionary and conservation aspects of OCBILs (old, climatically buffered, infertile landscapes).
OpenUp! is an EC-funded project which aims to unite over one million natural history multimedia objects within Europeana, Europe’s digital library for cultural and natural history heritage.
To create and manage a global orchid conservation network to conserve, as seed, species from diverse habitats of varying levels of threat. To utilise biotechnological approaches to re-introduce threatened plants; enhance institutional and country capacity for orchid conservation, and serve as a global access point for integrated orchid conservation programmes.
Orchids from the island of the lemurs - a biodiversity hotspot
A series of publications on the orchid flora of New Guinea, including CD-ROMs and a book covering selected species
The Kew team in collaboration with international researchers is investigating the origin and evolution of the New Caledonian flora.
Research into the mechanisms of seed death caused by oxidative damage and programmed cell death during ageing of orthodox seeds or desiccation of recalcitrant seeds will improve our understanding of why seeds die during storage and enable better prediction of seed lifespan.
A floristic account of the palms of Thailand for the Flora of Thailand project.
A regional monograph of the most poorly known palm diversity hotspot in the world.
An innovative internet portal for biodiversity information on all of the world’s palms.
Laying the foundations for an updated formal classification of the Araceae by characterizing the major molecular clades with phenotypic characters, where possible.
The project aims to assess the phylogenetic diversity (PD) of the Malagasy legumes. For the first time genetic and taxonomic evidence are combined to define conservation priorities for the Malagasy flora.
Understanding generic limits in Eria s.l., the third largest orchid genus in tropical Asia.
Molecular systematics of Psidium and Campomansia, including genome size evolution.
Phylogeny of South American genera with homogenous embryos – the ‘Eugenia’ and ‘Plinia’ groups.
Phylogenetic relationships within Myrcia s.l. (including Myrcia, Marlierea, Gomidesia and Calyptranthes).
Phylogeny of the generically richest tribe of Myrtaceae
Physiological seed dormancy and bud dormancy are compared in different species to understand the shared molecular pathways that are essential for plant dormancy in general and seed dormancy specifically.