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kew.org > Kew Science > Who we are and what we do > Departments > Biodiversity Informatics and Spatial Analysis

Biodiversity Informatics and Spatial Analysis

The vast amounts of data held in Kew's collections and associated databases represent a huge, often untapped resource.

Head, Biodiversity Informatics and Spatial Analysis: Dr Abigail Barker


Over the next five years, the Biodiversity Informatics and Spatial Analysis department will use the power of newly emerging computational techniques to edit, curate, organise and mine these data and to evaluate trends and patterns through time and space (geographical, meteorological and ecological) to enable a new level of use of the collections.

Key research and departmental priorities include:

  • Plants of the World Online portal – an online global resource for disseminating Kew’s plant and fungal data to a wide range of audiences, maximising its impact. 
  • Developing a plant and fungal names backbone to link databases and improve access to the vault of information held in Kew’s collections and nomenclatural and taxonomic databases, and providing critical evidence to meet policy and operational needs – both for the UK and international agenda.
  • Curating key global plant and fungal nomenclatural and taxonomic resources, including the International Plant Names Index, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, The Plant List and Index Fungorum.
  • Applying sophisticated spatial and analytical tools, and providing associated services, to greatly enhance our ability to address critical knowledge gaps.
  • Expanding the capacity for powerful spatial analyses, ecological modelling and the analysis of genomic data in order to develop the tools and web-based platforms for the display of plant data alongside satellite imagery and climatic data. 

Mapping and analysing plant populations and communities at greatest environmental risk and identifying those that display remarkable resilience and persistence to environmental perturbations – information that is critical to identify and understand potential opportunities and threats to the vast natural capital provided by plants.