Alexandre Antonelli, professor of biodiversity at the University of Gothenburg and director of the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, is now becoming research director of Kew Gardens.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in western London has more than 1,000 employees and 500 volunteers. The gardens, which have existed for 259 years, have the world’s most comprehensive collection of plants and fungi. They have 30,000 species under cultivation, more than seven million herbarium plants, 1.2 million fungi, 50,000 DNA samples and two billion seeds from 36,000 species.
“It is an incredible honour and a great opportunity to head such an important operation,” says Professor Antonelli. “The loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest threats to humankind, and botanical and mycological research can provide decision-makers with the information they need to ensure sustainable development.”