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).
The Plant DNA C-values database provides an internet resource where DNA C-values (genome size) for plant species can be accessed and compared.
Promoting sustainable development and conservation through the development and delivery of key information resources
Understanding how plant compounds influence insect behahiour
A comprehensive database of the literature on plant anatomy
The Cercideae is basally branching in the Leguminosae, and is a highly varied and complex group which has undergone many taxonomic re-organisations and contains many unresolved relationships. The pollen is correspondingly varied and complex, and is being studied to add characters to broader systematic studies as well as to understand pollination systems, ecology and evolution.
Research on the morphology and development of pollen and tapetum has contributed to understanding the evolution of these characters and elucidating phylogenetic relationships among seed plants.
(project completed 2008)
This project provides pollen data to assist systematic studies and the resolution of the closest relatives to family Leguminosae. It also provide baseline data to support further evolutionary research.
Due to the rarity of many species, UK orchids are a main focus of activity for Kew’s Conservation Genetics Group.
Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (PROTA) is an international documentation programme aimed at improving access to interdisciplinary data on approximately 7,000 useful plants of tropical Africa. Kew has been a collaborating partner in PROTA since its inception in 2000.
Changes in legumin content in recalcitrant seeds of Magnolia ovata reflect their physiological status.
Developing micropropagation and cryopreservation protocols for the conservation of threatened plants
(project completed 2006)
Publication of the proceedings of the 17th Congress of the Association pour l'Etude Taxonomique de la Flore d'Afrique Tropicale, held in Addis Ababa in 2003.
In April 2011, the 'Red Data Book of the Flowering Plants of Cameroon: IUCN Global Assessments' and 'Red Data Plants Species in Cameroon: A Guide for Secondary School Teachers' were launched in Cameroon.
Mobilising Kew’s Brazilian specimen data and building capacity for conservation and research in one of the world’s megadiverse countries
An interdisciplinary restoration ecology project focusing on understanding the cophylogenetic patterns of vascular plants and their mutualistic ectomycorrhizal fungi in Malagasy littoral forest
Providing technical support for community-based agroforestry and ecological restoration in the southern Brazilian Amazon
A project to write, publish and distribute a global generic guide to facilitate tropical forest restoration for biodiversity recovery.
Making historic collection data from the Amazon available online
Floristics and phylogeny of one of the world's largest plant families in the world's most biodiverse country
A project describing and understanding the Rubiaceae (coffee family) flora of Africa. Rubiaceae are key indicators of forest type and condition.
The Rubiaceae comprises about 8% of the flora of Madagascar and remains the largest family without a modern treatment. It represents a major component of most vegetation types, particularly humid forests, and this project will facilitate diversity studies and conservation management across the island.
Helping to conserve British and European orchids through propagation and re-establishment.
Studying the uses and biological activity of Salvia; demonstrating its horticultural value through the Salvia border
Making baseline taxonomic Myrteae (Myrtaceae) data available online.
Monitoring conservation status and global trends for plant species worldwide
(project completed 2009)
Through farmer surveys this project identified the most popular plant species used for pest control by poor farmers in Southern Africa, validated their activity in laboratory and field trials and developed protocols for those tree species most threatened by over harvesting.
Plant conservation of the native species from Sardinia through seed banking and research supporting their ex situ and in situ conservation
Seed ageing and viability can be defined by the half-cell reduction potentials of glutathione and other low-molecular-weight thiols
Part of institutional IT and DM Strategy Programme, charged with a comprehensive overhaul of science and horticulture information systems at Kew. The project underpins Kew’s ability to effectively and efficiently manage and analyse plant and fungal data.
The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) is the world’s worst pest of coffee, causing losses exceeding US $500 million annually. We are searching for the hosts of coffee berry borer in order to open up new and innovative possibilities for the control of this pest.
A conservation partnership between Kenya Seed Conservation Agencies and the RBG Kew Millennium Seed Bank Project.
SEPASAL is the world’s most comprehensive online source of information on useful ‘wild’ and semi-domesticated tropical and subtropical dryland plants, with a focus on Africa.
Sierra Leone is now stable after years of civil unrest and loss of institutional capacity, including its herbaria and botanists. In late 2009 we began collaborative surveys in the Sula Mountains with the National Herbarium and Fourah Bay College. To date 2560 specimens have resulted and five new species to science, all threatened, are in the course of publication.
Projects which build capacity in CITES Parties to make effective Non-Detriment Findings for CITES plants in trade.
The UKOTs Online Herbarium is a species and specimens database containing plant diversity information for all UK Overseas Territories. The core of the project is a virtual herbarium which provides easy access to specimen level data that can be viewed and queried as well as links to botanical resources including species checklists.
This project assesses the occurrence and distribution of two lichen species in the UK that were separated by molecular data and are of conservation concern.
RBG Kew, Natural England and Cardiff University are using a combined molecular and morphological approach to resolve the taxonomy of British stipitate hydnoids. These mycorrhizal mushrooms, which have teeth or spines instead of gills, are of conservation concern across Europe and listed as Biodiversity Action Plan species in the UK.
Investigating the structural bases for colour and iridescence in flowers
Is speciation possibly in sympatry? Using Lord Howe Island as a natural laboratory, this project has yielded important new insights into this controversial evolutionary question.