第1216回生物科学セミナー

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in Asia: species discovery, description and conservation

Professor Timothy M.A. Utteridge(The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

2018年06月07日(Thu)    16:50-18:20  理学部2号館 講堂   

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has grown from in its inception in 1759 to the current organisation with 1000 staff, 8.5 million items in its collections, and over 300 scientists working in more than 100 countries across the globe. Kew’s history in Asia is particularly well-known in India through Hooker’s expeditions, and Malaysia and Singapore with the development of rubber. Scientists from Kew, working in partnership with botanists in Asia, however, are still exploring and discovering new species every year. Expeditions and projects continue across South-East Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, with the poorly known regions of Wallacea and New Guinea a focus for Kew. New species are discovered during expeditions but also in the herbarium, and described with recognised type specimens and usually supplemented by a line illustration. Descriptions and illustrations have always been intimately linked in botanical description, and Kew holds important historic illustrations form Asia that are still important for species identification and naming, such as the Roxburgh’s Icons and Wallich’s Plantae Rariores, whilst amassing contemporary botanical illustration used for modern-day formal species description. Kew Science has recently defined several strategic outputs and research activities currently ongoing on in the region include taxonomy and systematics of taxonomically understudied plant families, a conservation initiative to identify Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs), and a large phylogenomic programme to generate the Plant and Fungal Tree of Life (PaFToL). In this talk I will discuss the historic botanical exploration and research that established Kew as one of the world’s pre-eminent botanic gardens, and outline the current Kew science, especially species discovery and conservation programmes, taking place in Asia.