Ruth Bone

International Projects Officer (Pacific)


Job title: 
International Projects Officer (Pacific)
Conservation Science
Foreign languages: 
Conversational French


Picture of Ruth Bone

I lead the Pacific regional programme for the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership.

Developed over the past five years, the Pacific regional programme (Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia) is among the Millennium Seed Bank’s newest network of collaborators. Established partnerships and new collaborations are underway in Aotearoa New Zealand (the New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch botanical gardens, and Te Tira Whakamātaki (the Māori Biosecurity Network), Fiji (the Pacific Community), Hawai’i (Laukahi and the Hawai’i Seed Bank Partnership) and New Caledonia (Institut Agronomique Néo-Calédonien). 

The programme is very much partner-driven, responding to conservation needs identified by our colleagues in the region. The Myrtle family (Myrtaceae) has become a top priority for the programme due to the spread of two fungal pathogens, Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD; Ceratocystis fimbriata) and Myrtle Rust (Austropuccinia psidii). I am also keen to support my colleagues with development of sustainable native tree seed supplies, to reduce risk of invasive species incursion and improve ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change.

In addition to the Pacific programme, I am Project Leader for the Darwin Initiative and Ferguson Trust funded project “Edible wild orchid trade: sustaining livelihoods and biodiversity in Zambia” that seeks to cultivate and conserve wild orchids commonly used to make Chikanda cake in Zambia and the region.

My position and the Pacific Programme are currently funded by the Shafran Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation as part of the Global Tree Seed Bank Project.


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • Botanist and grant PI for 'Floristic Inventory of the Coastal Savannas of French Guiana' funded by an NGS/Waitt Grant 2010 (7 months)
  • PhD Botany, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin 2006-2009
  • Freelance writer for the Eden Foundation and volunteer for the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Mauritius 2005 (1yr)
  • Horticulture Coordinator (nursery manager), the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Mauritius 2003-2004 (1yr)
  • MSc Taxonomy & Biodiversity of Plants, RBG Edinburgh & the University of Edinburgh 2002- 2003 (1yr)
  • Kew Diploma in Horticulture, School of Horticulture, RBG Kew 1999-2002


Selected publications: 

Bone, R.E., Arrigo, N., Smith, J.A.C. & Buerki, S. (2015). A macro-ecological perspective on CAM photosynthesis evolution in Afro-Madagascan drylands: Eulophiinae orchids as a case study. New Phytologist. 208 (2) 469-481 DOI.10.1111/nph.13572. Available online

Bone, R.E., Phillip J. Cribb & Buerki, S. (2015). Phylogeny of Eulophiinae (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae): evolutionary patterns and implications for generic delimitation. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 179 (1) 43-56 DOI.10.1111/boj.12299. Available online

Bone, R.E., Sanz, E. & Buerki, S. (2014). Notes on the flora of Madagascar, 38. The transfer of Eulophia beravensis Rchb. f. to Oeceoclades Lindl., a genus with its centre of diversity in Madagascar (Eulophiinae, Orchidaceae). Candollea 69(2): 189-193.

Strijk, J. S., Bone, R. E., Thébaud, C., Buerki, S., Fritsch, P., Hodkinson, W., Trevor R. & Strasberg, D. (2014). Timing and tempo of evolutionary diversification in a biodiversity hotspot: Primulaceae on Indian Ocean islands. Journal of Biogeography. 41 (4): 810-822. Available online

Bone, R. E. & Atkins, H. J. (2013). Four new species of Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) from the Latimojong Mountains, South Sulawesi. Edinburgh Journal of Botany. 70 (30): 455-468. Available online

Bone, R. E., Strijk, J. S., Fritsch, P. W., Buerki, S., Strasberg, D., Thebaud, C., & Hodkinson, T. H. (2012). Phylogenetic inference of Badula (Primulaceae), a rare and threatened genus endemic to the Mascarene Archipelago. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 169: 284-296. Available online