Gardd Fotaneg Genedlaethol CymruNational Botanic Garden of WalesNational Botanic Garden of Wales

Research team

Head of Science

Dr Natasha de Vere is responsible for coordinating the Garden’s scientific research programme. The department’s research concentrates on biodiversity conservation with current areas including DNA barcoding the UK flora, DNA metabarcoding to understand honeybee and wild pollinator foraging and conservation genetics of threatened plants. She is widely involved in public engagement with science, including developing art-science collaborations. She supervises a team of undergraduate and postgraduate researchers and is responsible for the Garden’s molecular lab, library, archives, herbarium and apiary.

Postgraduate Students

Laura Jones (PhD) Bangor University (2015-). Understanding the foraging preferences of honey bees.

Andrew Lucas (PhD) Swansea University (P/T 2010-). What are the foraging preferences of hoverflies in semi-natural grasslands?

Jenny Hawkins (PhD) Cardiff University (2011-2015). Investigating antibacterial plant-derived compounds from natural honey.

Hannah Garbett (PhD) University of South Wales (2011-2015). Developing bioinformatic data analysis methods to support plant DNA barcoding.

Tracey Hamston (PhD) (P/T 2008-), University of Exeter. Investigating the evolutionary origins and reproductive ecology of the genus Sorbus (Whitebeams, Wild service tree and Rowans) within Devon and north Somerset.

Sam Thomas (PhD) Aberystwyth University (2013-). Investigating species composition, ecology, and population genetics of glasshouse weeds, using study species in the genera Oxalis and Cardamine.

Will McCully (PhD) Cardiff University (2010-2014). The antibacterial effects of Camellia sinensis extracts on the hospital pathogens Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Undergraduate Interns

As part of our commitment to training the next generation of plant scientists, we offer year placements to undergraduate students.

Lucy Bidgood University of Nottingham (2016-2017)

Alice Hope University of Manchester (2016-2017)

Tim Foster University of Bath (2015-2016). How can DNA barcoding be used to assess the successional state of tropical rainforest in the Lower Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary?

Zara Riches University of Manchester (2015-2016).

Tegan Gilmore University of Manchester (2014-2015). Can DNA barcodes be used to map the foraging patterns of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.)?

Jake Moscrop University of Durham (2014-2015). The foraging habits of Apis mellifera L. explored through DNA barcoding.

Abi Lowe University of Southampton (2014-2015). A meta-analysis on the floral preferences of the Western honeybee, Apis mellifera L., in Europe.

Elizabeth Chapman University of Birmingham (2013-2014). Do protected area designations consider the evolutionary potential of Welsh grasslands?

Alicia Thew Cardiff University (2013-2014). Ecological and phylogenetic community analysis on Bornean botanical plots.

Ellie Brittain University of Bath, (2012-2013). Creating a plant DNA barcode reference library using the ITS2 marker.

Aoife Sweeney University of Manchester (2012-2013). Can we use genetics to inform conservation strategies for the arctic alpines Saxifraga cespitosa and Saxifraga rosacea ssp. rosacea in Wales?

Helena Davies University of Manchester (2011-2012). Can the nuclear internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) increase the discrimination power of the standard land plant DNA barcode loci rbcL & matK in a temperate flora?

Laura Jones Cardiff University (2011-2012). Comparison of genetic diversity between living and historical material of the critically endangered plant Campanula patula, using microsatellites developed with next generation DNA sequencing.

Adelaide Griffith University of Liverpool (2011-2012). The applications of DNA barcoding: Honey.

Joseph Moughan University of Manchester (2011-2012). Biology and ecology of the rare perennial plant species Salvia pratensis (L.) and the implications for its conservation in England and Wales.

Charlie Long University of Durham (2010-2011). Barcode Wales: the creation of a complete reference database for a nation’s flowering plants and conifers.

Sarah Trinder University of York (2010-2011). Creation and utilization of a nation’s angiosperm phylogeny from DNA barcodes.

Chris Moore Cardiff University (2009-2010). Faster and cheaper answers to conservation genetics questions: A case study using the critically endangered endemic Cotoneaster cambricus. 

Danielle Satterthwaite University of Manchester (2008-2009). DNA barcoding the Welsh flora.