Tree of Life

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

Palm tree leaves in sunlight

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. 

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 Fellows
Dr Alexandre Zuntini
Dr Benedikt Kuhnhäuser

Senior Researcher (PAFTOL Data Production)
Dr Olivier Maurin

Data Production Officer
Raquel Negrao

Laboratory Technicians
Catherine McGinnie 
Katherin Restrepo-Sulez
Robyn Cowan

Dr Paul Bailey
Dr Berta Gallego

Developer (Biodiversity informatics)
Emile Loveday

UX/UI Designer
Jeff Cook

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

The Tree of Life initiative is actively working with other projects and programmes that share our goals:


Accelerated Taxonomy
Trait Diversity and Function


Dr William J Baker

Fungal Tree of Life lead

Dr Ester Gaya

Our Tree of Life publications are listed in our Research Repository.

Explore the tree of life and access the genomic data that underpin them in Kew Tree of Life Explorer.

Data are currently available for flowering plants only. Research on fungi is underway and will be released in due course.