Aaron P. Davis

Senior Research Leader, Plant Resources


My role at Kew is Senior Research Leader of Plant Resources. The Plant Resources team investigates the value and use of plant diversity for provisioning humankind with key resources, including food, beverages, timber, fuels, fibres and medicines.

My research background is in taxonomy and systematics but I cover other areas, including climate change, resilience and sustainability. I work mainly on coffee (Coffea) with a regional focus on tropical Africa, Madagascar and Asia.

My main activity for 2015/16 is the project 'Building a climate resilient coffee economy for Ethiopia', which aims to improve the capacity of Ethiopia’s coffee sector to deal with climate change. This is a Strategic Climate Institutions Programme (SCIP) – SCIP Fund – project, backed by governments of the UK (DFID), Norway and Denmark.


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Hons), University of Reading, 1990
  • PhD, University of Reading, 1994
  • Technical Advisory Committee member for World Coffee Research (WCR)


Selected publications: 

Moat, J., Williams, J., Baena, S., Wilkinson, T., Gole, T.W., Challa, Z.K., Demissew, S., & Davis, A.P. (2017). Resilience potential of the Ethiopian coffee sector under climate change. Nature Plants 3: 17081 (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nplants.2017.81. Available online

Moat, J., Williams, J., Baena, S., Wilkinson, Demissew, S., Challa, Z.K., T., Gole, T.W. & Davis, A.P. (2017). Coffee Farming and Climate Change in Ethiopia: Impacts, Forecasts, Resilience and Opportunities. Summary Report 2017. The Strategic Climate Institutions Programme (SCIP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK). Pp. 37. Download pdf

Davis, A. P., Gole, T. W. Baena, S. & Moat, J. (2012). The impact of climate change on natural populations of Arabica coffee: predicting future trends and identifying priorities. PLoS ONE 7(11): .e47981. Available online

Davis, A. P., Tosh, J., Ruch, N. & Fay, M. F. (2011). Growing coffee: Psilanthus (Rubiaceae) subsumed on the basis of molecular and morphological data: implications for the size, morphology, distribution and evolutionary history of CoffeaBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society 167: 357–377. Available online

Davis, A. P., Govaerts, R., Bridson, D. M., Ruhsam, M., Moat, J. & Brummitt, N. A. (2009). A global assessment of distribution, diversity, endemism, and taxonomic effort in the Rubiaceae. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 96: 68–78. Available online

Davis, A.P., Chester, M., Maurin, O. & Fay, M.F. (2007). Searching for the relatives of Coffea (Rubiaceae, Ixoroideae): the circumscription and phylogeny of Coffeeae based on plastid sequence data and morphology. American Journal of Botany 94: 313–329. Available online

Davis, A. P., Govaerts, R., Bridson, D. M. & Stoffelen, P. (2006). An annotated taxonomic conspectus of the genus Coffea (Rubiaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 152: 465–512. Available online