Professor Alexandre Antonelli

Director of Science




Biodiversity assessments, biogeography, evolution, genomics, meta-barcoding, methods development, molecular phylogenetics, tropical biology.

Reporting to the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, I provide leadership and management of the Science Directorate. My overall aim is to strengthen and further develop Kew as a global centre of excellence in plant and fungal knowledge and to promote evidence-based solutions to major challenges.

My main tasks are to:

  1. Drive excellence in Kew’s science, attract globally leading scientists, promote career development among staff, and steer performance and operational delivery of science programmes and projects.
  2. Be an advocate and spokesperson for Kew’s science internally and externally, including promoting Kew’s research portfolio and partnerships in the scientific and policy communities nationally and internationally.
  3. Provide effective leadership as a member of the Executive Board.
  4. Increase fundraising, including the generation of income for science consultancy and Kew’s Intellectual Property.
  5. Lead and further develop a research programme including current and future students and early career researchers reporting directly to me.

Awards and distinctions

  • Elected Foreign Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • Awarded the 2022 Senckenberg Prize for Nature Research
  • Featured on Web of Science/Clarivate ‘Highly Cited Researchers’ list, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Elected member of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg, 2016-
  • Elected member of the Young Academy of Sweden, 2016-19
  • Future Research Leader, 2016
  • The Faculty of Science Research Award, 2015
  • Wallenberg Academy Fellow, 2014
  • Elected member of the Young Academy of Europe, 2013-

Professorships and advisory groups

  • Visiting Professor, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2023-2028
  • Visiting Professor, University of Oxford, 2020-
  • Full Professor in Systematics and Biodiversity. University of Gothenburg, 2015-
  • Member of the CBD Informal Advisory Group on Technical and Scientific Cooperation, 2023-

Previous positions

  • Founder and Director, Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, 2017-19
  • Scientific Curator, Gothenburg Botanical Garden, 2010-19
  • Science Advisor, Universeum Science Centre, 2016-18
  • Cisneros Visiting Scholar, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 2018
  • Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 2014-15
  • Researcher, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 2012-14
  • Associate staff member, Panama Canal Project, 2011-16
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, 2009-10


  • PhD Systematics and Biodiversity, University of Gothenburg, 2008
  • MSc Biology, University of Gothenburg, 2003
  • Biology, University of Campinas, 1996


  • Associate editor, Systematic Biology, 2015-
  • Associate editor, Journal of Biogeography, 2015-
  • Associate editor, Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 2014-

A full CV is available on the Antonelli Lab website.

Antonelli, A., Smith, R.J., Perrigo, A. … Ralimanana, H. (2022). 

Madagascar’s extraordinary biodiversity: Evolution, distribution, and use.

Science 378: eabf8069. 

Ralimanana, H., Perrigo, A., Smith, R.J. … Antonelli, A. (2022).

Madagascar’s extraordinary biodiversity: Threats and opportunities.

Science 378: eadf1466. 

Di Sacco, A., Hardwick, K., Blakesley, D., Brancalion, P.H.S., Breman, E., Cecilio Rebola, L., Chomba, S., Dixon, K., Elliott, S., Ruyonga, G., Shaw, K., Smith, P., Smith, R.J., Antonelli, A. (2021).

Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimize carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits.

Global Change Biology 27:1328–1348.

Grace, O.M., Pérez-Escobar, O.A., Lucas, E.J., Vorontsova, M.S., Lewis, G.P., Walker, B.E., Lohmann, Lúcia G., Knapp, S., Wilkie, P., Sarkinen, T., Darbyshire, I., Nic Lughadha, E., Monro, A., Woudstra, Y., Demissew, S., Muasya, A. M., Díaz, S., Baker, W. J., Antonelli, A., Grace et al. (2021).

Botanical monography in the Anthropocene.

Trends in Plant Science 26: 433–441

Condamine, F.L., Silvestro, D., Koppelhus, E.B. & Antonelli, A. (2020).

The rise of angiosperms pushed conifers to decline during global cooling.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 117: 28867–28875.

Zizka, A., Antunes Carvalho, F., Calvente, A., Rocio Baez-Lizarazo, M., Cabral, A., Coelho, J.F.R., Colli-Silva, M., Fantinati, M.R., Fernandes, M.F., Ferreira-Araújo, T., Gondim Lambert Moreira, F., Santos, N.M.C., Santos, T.A.B., dos Santos-Costa, R.C., Serrano, F.C., Alves da Silva, A.P., de Souza Soares, A., Cavalcante de Souza, P.G., Calisto Tomaz, E., Vale, V.F., Vieira, T.L. & Antonelli, A. (2020).

No one-size-fits-all solution to clean GBIF.

PeerJ 8: e9916.

Farooq, H., Anderson, J., Belluardo, F., Nanvonamuquitxo, C., Bennett, D., Moat, J., Soarse, A., Faurby, S. & Antonelli, A. (2020).

Wege: A new metric for ranking locations for biodiversity conservation.

Diversity and Distributions 26: 1456–1466.

Antonelli, A., Zizka, A., Antunes Carvalho, F., Scharn, R., Bacon, C.D., Silvestro, D., Condamine, F.L. (2018).

Amazonia is the primary source of Neotropical biodiversity.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 115: 6034–6039.

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Alexandre Antonelli