Tree of Life

We lead Kew's research to expand and populate the tree of life for plants and fungi.

A phylogenetic tree on a computer screen

Team lead: Dr William Baker

The evolutionary tree of life underpins the biological sciences.

It provides the fundamental roadmap for exploring and predicting patterns of diversity, understanding the drivers behind this diversity and predicting future trends.

Building the tree of life for plants and fungi remains a long-term research priority for Kew.

Our team leads Kew’s Tree of Life Initiative which aims to:

  • Complete the tree of life for plants and fungi.
  • Apply the tree of life to research on taxonomy, evolutionary biology, trait discovery and ecosystem stewardship. 
  • Deliver a dynamic, open tree of life digital platform, providing the most up-to-date view of the tree of life for plants and fungi. 

Team members

Plant Tree of Life

Senior Research Leaders
Dr William Baker
Dr Félix Forest
Dr Ilia Leitch

Deputy Director of Science
Dr Paul Kersey

Future Leader Fellow
Dr Alexandre Zuntini

Post-doctoral Researcher
Dr Tom Carruthers

Data Production Manager
Dr Olivier Maurin

Dr Paul Bailey
Dr Kevin Leempoel

Lab Technician
Robyn Cowan

Scientific Software and Advanced Computing Team Leader
Eduardo Toledo

Lead Science App Developers
Berta Gallego Paramo

Lead Developer
Malcolm Stone

Honorary Research Associate 
Dr Wolf Eiserhardt

Fungal Tree of Life

Senior Research Leader 
Dr Ester Gaya 

Future Leader Fellow
Dr Alexandra Dallaire

Research Assistants
Dr Rosie Woods
Kieran Woof

Outreach Officer
Rich Wright

Darwin Tree of Life Project Manager
Dr Brian Douglas


  • Palm tree leaves in sunlight

    The Tree of Life Initiative

    Expanding and populating the tree of life for plants and fungi.

  • Scientific tree of life on green background with white flowers

    Completing the Plant Tree of Life

    Discovering and disseminating the evolutionary history of all plant genera.

  • Small delicate petal-like blue fungi on a log

    Discovering the Fungal Tree of Life

    Uncovering the evolutionary history of fungi.