Dr Félix Forest

Senior Research Leader


Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology (CPFB)


Analytical Methods


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

Biography Plus

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.

Qualifications and appointments Plus
  • 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
Selected publications Plus

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. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-24365-4. Available online

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. Available online

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 Botany113: 357-371. Available online

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. Available online

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. Available online

Projects Plus

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