Dr Maria S Vorontsova

Research Leader


Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology


Integrated Monography


Africa, classification, ecology, grass, grassland, Madagascar, monocot, monography, Poaceae, Poales, savanna, taxonomy, tropics

Biography Plus

I study grasses and everything about them, with a particular focus on tropical African diversity and poorly known lineages, their evolutionary history, and the history of tropical grasslands and savannas. I use herbarium based alpha taxonomy to enrich our understanding of ecosystems and their function. My main research direction is a full taxonomic treatment of Poaceae for the Flora of Madagascar, a long term project incorporating a range of ecological, phylogenetic, ethnobotanical, and horticultural work. I am also interested in the history and development of classifications and in botanical nomenclature and bibliography. I look after GrassBase and develop it to bring together global taxonomic knowledge across all Poaceae and to build it into a broad research utility. If it is about grasses, I would like to hear about it.

Qualifications and appointments Plus
  • PhD, Open University, sponsored by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2008
  • MA, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2003
  • BA, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2000
  • Book Reviews Editor of the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 2011 onwards
  • Systematics Association Council 2010 onwards
  • Editor of Phytotaxa 2009 onwards
  • Fellow of the Linnean Society of London
Selected publications Plus

Nanjarisoa, O.P., Besnard, G., Ralimanana, H., Jeannoda, V. & Vorontsova, M.S. (2017)

Grass survey of the Itremo Massif records endemic central highland grasses

Madagascar Conservation & Development, 12

Vorontsova, M.S., Clark, L.G., Dransfield, J., Govaerts, R., Baker, W.J. (2016)

World Checklist of Bamboos and Rattans

International Network of Bamboo and Rattan & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 454 pp

Vorontsova, M.S., Besnard, G., Forest, F., Malakasi, P., Moat, J., Clayton, W.D., Ficinski, P., Savva, G.M., Nanjarisoa, O.P., Razanatsoa, J., Randriatsara, F.O., Kimeu, J.M., Luke, W.R.Q., Kayombo, C. & Linder H.P. (2016)

Madagascar’s grasses and grasslands: anthropogenic or natural? 

Proc. R. Soc. B 2016 283 20152262; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2262

Sandel, B., Monnet, A-C., Govaerts, R. & Vorontsova, M.S. (2016 publ. 2017)

Late Quaternary climate stability and the origins and future of global grass endemism

Annals of Botany 119: 279–288

Vorontsova, M.S. & Rakotoarisoa, S.E. (2014)

Endemic non-bambusoid genera of grasses (Poaceae) in Madagascar: review of current knowledge

Malagasy Nature 8: 14-34

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Maria S. Vorontsova