Building the New Guinea Research Team
New Guinea is the most mountainous and biodiverse island in the world. However, it remains under-collected and little is known about the geography of endemism and extinction risk. Uniting nearly 80 taxonomic, floristic and monographic experts from across the world (28 from RBG Kew), I am leading the first expert-verified and specimen-driven checklist of vascular plants for the New Guinea biogeographic region. After assembling a large dataset of New Guinea plants –integrating >0.5 million herbarium specimens– we will analyze this ‘big data’ using state-of-the art modelling techniques to map spatio-temporal patterns in botanical exploration, delineate phytogeographical regions, predict species richness and phylogenetic diversity, and quantify the effects of predicted climate and land use change on protected areas’ biodiversity. By 2020 we will identify the most important areas for plant conservation in New Guinea and train the next generation of Papuan conservation biologists.
BENTHAM MOXON TRUST
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