Dr Félix Forest

Senior Research Leader


Ecosystem Stewardship


Spatial Phylogenetics


Plant evolutionary biology, biodiversity, conservation, and pollination, particularly in the Cape of South Africa

I lead the Analytical Methods section, which comprises a team of ten laboratory managers and technicians responsible for the operation and maintenance of Kew’s laboratory facilities (molecular, biochemistry, imaging, seed biology). The team is also involved in training staff, student and visitors, supporting the technical aspects of project design and developing and implementing new methodologies.

I am a plant evolutionary biologist with a wide range of interests. I have worked on the molecular systematics of numerous plant families such as Leguminosae, Polygalaceae, Betulaceae, Myrtaceae, Santalaceae and Sapindaceae, but my main current interest is the Iridaceae family, more specifically the species found in the Cape of South Africa and the evolution of pollination syndromes in this group. I am also interested in biogeographical patterns and processes and the factors promoting diversification and speciation. The application of phylogenetics to conservation planning in biodiversity hotspots and the integration of evolutionary approaches in conservation are also topics that I have focused on in recent years.

  • BSc, Univ of Montréal, Canada, 1995
  • MSc, Univ. of Montréal, Canada, 1999
  • PhD, Univ. of Reading, UK, 2004
  • Editorial Board, Kew Bulletin
  • Associate Editor, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
  • Associate Editor, International Journal of Plant Sciences
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Biogeography
  • Co-Chair, bioGENESIS Scientific Committee
  • Member of the Advisory Group of the Environmental ‘Omics Synthesis (EOS) Centre

Forest, F., Moat, J., Baloch, E., Brummitt, N.A., Bachman, S.P., Ickert-Bond, S., Hollingsworth, P.M., Liston, A., Little, D.P., Mathews, S., Rai, H., Rydin, C., Stevenson, D.W., Thomas, P. & Buerki, S. (2018).

Gymnosperms on the EDGE. 

Scientific Reports 8: 6053. 

Forest, F., Crandall, K. A., Chase, M. W. & Faith, D. P. (2015).

Phylogeny, extinction and conservation: embracing uncertainties in a time of urgency.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 20140002. 

Forest, F., Goldblatt, P., Manning, J. C., Baker, D., Colville, J. F., Devey, D. S., Jose, S., Kaye, M. & Buerki, S. (2014).

Pollinator shifts as triggers of speciation in painted petal irises (Lapeirousia: Iridaceae).

Annals of Botany 113: 357-371. 

Forest, F., Chase, M. W., Persson, C., Crane, P. R. & Hawkins, J. A. (2007) 

The role of biotic and abiotic factors in the evolution of ant-dispersal in the milkworth family (Polygalaceae)

Evolution 61: 1675–1694.

Forest, F., Grenyer, R., Rouget, M., Davies, T. J., Cowling, R. M., Balmford, A., Faith, D. P., Manning, J. C., Procheş, Ş., van der Bank, M., Reeves, G., Hedderson, T. A. J. & Savolainen, V. (2007)

Preserving the evolutionary potential of floras in biodiversity hotspots.   

Nature 445: 757-760.  

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