Science

Here at Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, we are developing a vibrant research portfolio focusing on evolutionary genetics, speciation and ex situ conservation linked to botanical survey work carried out in botanical hotspots around the world. We also work closely with the University of Oxford’s Plant Sciences Department and partners further afield, including the University of Bristol, the Linnean Society of London and the BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International). Our public engagement programme is intrinsically linked to the research we do.

Collections

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum hold unique and internationally important species, some of which now exist nowhere else. Our collections centre on four core key scientific themes.

Research Projects

Scientists at Oxford Botanic Garden work on a broad portfolio of collections-based and interdisciplinary research. Our work explores fundamental processes in plant evolution and reproduction using genetics and genomics, and examines potential applications of plants in technology. Our research is carried out in close collaboration with other scientists at the University of Oxford’s Plant Sciences Department, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and other institutions around the world.

In particular, our research at Oxford Botanic Garden focusses on the evolution of new species in ragworts (Senecio spp.) and carnivorous pitcher plants (Nepenthes spp.), as well as taxonomically complex parasitic plant groups (for example Orobanche, Cistanche and Hydnora). Working with botanists internationally, we are developing ex situ conservation and research collections of species from biodiversity hotspots – areas with high plant species richness. Meanwhile our conservation-related research focuses on the Mediterranean Basin, the Canary Islands, Ethiopia and Japan.

Conservation

Conservation at Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum

Botanic Gardens play a crucial role in the conservation of the world’s flora at a time when this has never been more important: two in five plant species are threatened with extinction worldwide. The living plant collection at Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum (OBGA) contains about 5,000 different types of plant and holds significant conservation value. As part of our commitment to delivering against the strategy set by the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, OBGA works with partners in Oxfordshire and across the globe to conserve rare plants. Indeed some of those grown in our collections can be found nowhere else in the world.

Biodiversity hotspots

Working with botanists around the world, we are developing ex situ conservation plant collections of species from biodiversity hotspots – areas with high plant species richness. Our research collectively focuses on the Mediterranean Basin, Ethiopian and Japanese floristic regions.