Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Who we are:

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a scientific botanic garden with the mission to ‘Explore, Conserve and Explain the World of Plants for a Better Future’. RBGE has an international biodiversity science research programme with projects in more than 35 countries around the world, a herbarium of 3 million preserved specimens, and a living collection of 13,500 plant species. RBGE is also a centre for biodiversity education, a major tourist attraction and public engagement venue, with more than 1 million visitors per year.

What we’re doing in the Darwin Tree of Life Project:

RBGE is a Genome Acquisition Lab (GAL) and focuses on the coordination/delivery of the plant component of DToL. Our work involves curating taxon lists for vascular plants and bryophytes, developing sampling priorities, collecting and identifying plant samples, undertaking plant DNA barcoding, R&D on HMW DNA extraction protocols for plants, and linking the resulting genomic outputs to projects focusing on taxonomy, ecology, evolution and conservation. RBGE is also delivering a citizen science project as part of the Darwin Tree of Life, connecting the work of DToL to the biological recording community in Scotland. 

Why we’re invested in the Darwin Tree of Life Project:

Biodiversity genomics is a priority area for RBGE, and we have a particular interest in linking genomic science with ecology, taxonomy, conservation, and evolutionary biology. The DToL project provides a flagship framework for doing this – and builds on the incredible density of knowledge on the British flora, gathered and assembled over centuries of research on whole organism biology and natural history. A particularly important element of DToL for RBGE is the collaborative network of the project – bringing together complementary skills and infra-structure and achieving economies of scale.

Our people in DToL are:

  • Dr Michelle Hart
  • Dr Peter Hollingsworth
  • Dr Laura Forrest
  • Dr David Bell
  • Dr Rebecca Yahr
  • Dr David Long
  • Dr Markus Ruhsam
  • Dr Neil Bell
  • Dr Mary Gibby
  • Dr Zoe Goodwin
  • Dr Kanae Nishii
  • Dr Alex Twyford