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Alastair Culham

Portrait of Alastair Culham
  • Associate Professor of Botany
  • School Director of Academic Tutoring
  • Curator, Reading University Herbarium (RNG)
  • Programme Director for the
  • School Enhanced Learning Coordinator
  • Member of the Catalogue of Life Global Team
  • Catalogue of Life Editorial Team
  • Scientific Coordinator for EU FP7 i4Life Project



  • BI3EN7 Conservation and Biodiversity: Global and Local Scales (10 credits, Level 6)
  • BIMPB12 Diversity and Identification of Plants (20 credits, Level 7)
  • BIMPJ12 Global Biodiversity and Conservation (20 credits, Level 7)
  • BIMPP60 Research Project (60 credits, Level 7)
  • BI1BA1 The Living Cell (10 credits, Level 4)
  • BI2EWEV Biodiversity Field Course (10 credits, Level 5)
  • BI3EM7 Plants, Animals and Climate Change (10 credits, Level 6)

Research centres and groups

Impact, Enterprise and Outreach

  • KTP Promoting RHS Excellence in Science
  • sKTP Climate Change and Gardening
  • Catalogue of Life

Research projects

  • Funding from EU (under Framework 7) for the i4Life (indexing for life) project whose aim is to interlink and harmonise the taxonomic catalogues of six major Global Biodiversity Programmes (GBPs) with the Catalogue of Life to create a Virtual Research Community.
  • Funding from BBSRC, NERC, The Royal Society, Industry
  • Evolutionary relationships in Pelargonium (a collaborative project with Dr Mary Gibby of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh);
  • Phylogenetic history and evolutionary patterns in Drosera
  • Phylogenetic and taxonomic revision of Actaea and Ranunculaceae tribe Actaeeae.
  • A major phylogenetic evaluation of Plectranthus/Coleus ( collaborative project with Alan Paton, Kew).
  • Phylogeny and taxonomy of the genus Cyclamen (with James Compton and The Cyclamen Society)
  • The use of molecular markers to study plant populational variation for conservation purposes, such as establishment of genetic diversity in the rare Easter Island endemic Sophora toromiro and the British native Pyrus cordata
  • The development of molecular markers for identification of Fusarium fungi in soil and powdery mildews on leaves to provide rapid diagnostic approaches for plant pathogens.

Awards and honours

Esteem Factors

  • Associate Editor: Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
  • Project Scientific Coordinator for EU FP7 4D4Life Project (from November 2011) completed in July 2012
  • Project Scientific Coordinator for the current EU FP7 i4Life Project
  • Taxonomic expert for the BSBI
  • Editorial Board ISRN Botany

Professional bodies/affiliations

International Collaborators

  • Dr. FT (Freek) Bakker, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Dr Mike Maunder, The National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Hawaii
  • Dr Prashant Mishra, University of California
  • Mr. Markus Döring, Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Dr. Pedro Crous, CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Dr Ir. Vincent A. Robert, CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Dr Wieslaw Bogdanowicz, MIZPAS, Warsaw, Poland
  • Prof. Dr. Walter G. Berendsohn, Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem (BGBM) Berlin, Germany
  • Mr. Anton Güntsch, Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem (BGBM) Berlin, Germany
  • Dr. Peter H Schalk, Manager ETI Bionformatics, Naturalis, Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Dr. Nicolas Bailly, FishBase Information and Research Group Inc (FIN), Los Banos, Philippines
  • Prof. Thierry Bourgoin, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN), Paris, France
  • Dr. Heimo Rainer, Naturhistorisches Musem Wien (NHMW), Vienna, Austria
  • Dr. Alexander Kroupa, Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity (MfN, Berlin) Germany
  • Dr. Christoph Häuser, Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity (MfN, Berlin) Germany
  • PD Dr. Michael Ohl Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity (MfN, Berlin) Germany
  • Dr. Christian Schmidd-Egger, Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity (MfN, Berlin) Germany
  • Dr. Quentin Groom, Nationale Plantentuin van Belgie (NBGB), Brussels Belgium
  • Dr. Cyrille Chatelain, Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques Ville de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Mr. Paul Schoolmeesters, TSJ BVBA, Belgium
  • Dr. Luca Bartolozzi, Museum of Natural History, University of Florence, Italy
  • Sujeevan Ratnasingham, University of Gelph, Canada
  • Dr. Jiri Kvacek, National Museum Prague, Czech Republic
  • Prof. Jan van Tol, Naturalis, Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Dr Rafael Govaerts, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
  • Dr Frans Jongejan, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Prof. Rainer Froese, Helmholtz Zentrum Fuer Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR) Kiel Germany
  • Mr Michael Malicky, Linz Museum, Austria
  • Dr Gerard Tavaklian, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Marseille (IRD) &Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN), Paris, France
  • Dr Miguel Alonso-Zarazaga, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC, Madrid, Spain
  • Dr Carlos Aedo, Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid CSIC, Spain
  • Dr Carlos Lado, Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid CSIC, Spain
  • Dr Joerg Spelda, Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns Generaldirektion, Munich, Germany
  • Dr Dagmar Treibel, Botanische Staatssammlung München, Germany
  • Prof. Alessandro Minellli, Universita Degli Studi Di Padova, Italy
  • Dr Hendrik Segers, Institut Royal Des Sciences Naturelles De Belgique, (RBINS) Brussels, Belgium
  • Dr Thomas Pape, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen
  • Prof. Keping Ma, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Dr Liqiang Ji, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Dr Vanderlei Perez Canhos, Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental (CRIA), Campinas, Brazil
  • Tony Rees, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Canberra, Australia
  • Greg Whitbread, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Australian National Herbarium,
  • Jerry Cooper, LandCare Research, New Zealand
  • Mark Costello, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • David Eades, Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Patricia Mergen, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Brussels, Belgium
  • Mr. Richard Pyle, Bishops Museum, Hawaii
  • Dr. Thomas Orrell, Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Mr. D Nicholson, Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Mr. Mike Ruggerio, Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Dr. David Schindel, Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) ), Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Ms. Cynthia Simms Parr, Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC

National Collaborators

  • Dr. Guy Cochrane, European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge
  • Mr. Craig Hilton-Taylor, IUCN, Global Species Programme, Cambridge
  • Prof. William Alexander Gray, Cardiff University
  • Dr. Andrew Jones, Cardiff University
  • Mr Alex Hardisty, Cardiff University
  • Dr. Alan Paton, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
  • Dr David Simpson, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
  • Dr. Paul Kirk, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
  • Dr Bob Allkin, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
  • Professor Peter Hollingsworth, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
  • Dr Mark Watson, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
  • Prof. Mary Gibby, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
  • Dr. Christopher H C Lyal, Natural History Museum, London
  • Dr Andrew Polaszek, Natural History Museum, London
  • Dr. Vincent S Smith, Natural History Museum, London
  • Dr Ellinor Michel, ICZN, Natural History Museum, London
  • Sara Oldfield, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), Kew, London
  • Dr Jeyaraney Kathirithamby, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
  • Dr Johan David, RHS Wisley
  • Dr Alistair Griffiths, RHS Wisley



  • Paton, A. , Mwanyambo, M. , Culham, A. (2018) Phylogenetic study of Plectranthus, Coleus and allies (Lamiaceae): taxonomy, distribution and medicinal use. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society , 188 (4). pp. 355-376. ISSN: 0024-4074 | doi:
  • Christodoulou, M. , Battey, N. , Culham, A. (2018) Can you make morphometrics work when you know the right answer? Pick and mix approaches for apple identification. PLoS ONE , 13 (10). ISSN: 1932-6203 | doi:
  • Könyves, K. , Bilsborrow, J. , David, J. , Culham, A. (2018) The complete chloroplast genome of Narcissus poeticus L. (Amaryllidaceae: Amaryllidoideae). Mitochondrial DNA Part B , 3 (2). pp. 1137-1138. ISSN: 2380-2359 | doi:
  • Gawhari, A. , Jury, S. , Culham, A. (2018) Towards an updated checklist of the Libyan flora. Phytotaxa , 338 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN: 1179-3155 | doi:
  • Thomson, S. , Pyle, R. , Ahyong, S. , Alonso-Zarazaga, M. , Ammirati, J. , Araya, J. , Ascher, J. , Audisio, T. , Azevedo-Santos, V. , Bailly, N. , Baker, W. , Balke, M. , Barclay, M. , Barrett, R. , Benine, R. , Bickerstaff, J. , Bouchard, P. , Bour, R. , Bourgoin, T. , Boyko, C. , Breure, A. , Brothers, D. , Byng, J. , Campbell, D. , Ceríaco, L. , Cernák, I. , Cerretti, P. , Chang, C. , Cho, S. , Copus, J. , Costello, M. , Cseh, A. , Csuzdi, C. , Culham, A. , D'Elía, G. , d'Udekem d'Acoz, C. , Daneliya, M. , Dekker, R. , Dickinson, E. , Dickinson, T. , van Dijk, P. , Dijkstra, K. , Dima, B. , Dmitriev, D. , Duistermaat, L. , Dumbacher, J. , Eiserhardt, W. , Ekrem, T. , Evenhuis, N. , Faille, A. , Fernández-Triana, J. , Fiesler, E. , Fishbein, M. , Fordham, B. , Freitas, A. , Friol, N. , Fritz, U. , Frøslev, T. , Funk, V. , Gaimari, S. , Garbino, G. , Garraffoni, A. , Geml, J. , Gill, A. , Gray, A. , Grazziotin, F. , Greenslade, P. , Gutiérrez, E. , Harvey, M. , Hazevoet, C. , He, K. , He, X. , Helfer, S. , Helgen, K. , van Heteren, A. , Hita Garcia, F. , Holstein, N. , Horváth, M. , Hovenkamp, P. , Hwang, W. , Hyvönen, J. , Islam, M. , Iverson, J. , Ivie, M. , Jaafar, Z. , Jackson, M. , Jayat, J. , Johnson, N. , Kaiser, H. , Klitgård, B. , Knapp, D. , Kojima, J. , Kõljalg, U. , Kontschán, J. , Krell, F. , Krisai-Greilhuber, I. , Kullander, S. , Latella, L. , Lattke, J. , Lencioni, V. , Lewis, G. , Lhano, M. , Lujan, N. , Luksenburg, J. , Mariaux, J. , Marinho-Filho, J. , Marshall, C. , Mate, J. , McDonough, M. , Michel, E. , Miranda, V. , Mitroiu, M. , Molinari, J. , Monks, S. , Moore, A. , Moratelli, R. , Murányi, D. , Nakano, T. , Nikolaeva, S. , Noyes, J. , Ohl, M. , Oleas, N. , Orrell, T. , Páll-Gergely, B. , Pape, T. , Papp, V. , Parenti, L. , Patterson, D. , Pavlinov, I. , Pine, R. , Poczai, P. , Prado, J. , Prathapan, D. , Rabeler, R. , Randall, J. , Rheindt, F. , Rhodin, A. , Rodríguez, S. , Rogers, D. , Roque, F. , Rowe, K. , Ruedas, L. , Salazar-Bravo, J. , Salvador, R. , Sangster, G. , Sarmiento, C. , Schigel, D. , Schmidt, S. , Schueler, F. , Segers, H. , Snow, N. , Souza-Dias, P. , Stals, R. , Stenroos, S. , Stone, R. , Sturm, C. , Štys, P. , Teta, P. , Thomas, D. , Timm, R. , Tindall, B. , Todd, J. , Triebel, D. , Valdecasas, A. , Vizzini, A. , Vorontsova, M. , de Vos, J. , Wagner, P. , Watling, L. , Weakley, A. , Welter-Schultes, F. , Whitmore, D. , Wilding, N. , Will, K. , Williams, J. , Wilson, K. , Winston, J. , Wüster, W. , Yanega, D. , Yeates, D. , Zaher, H. , Zhang, G. , Zhang, Z. , Zhou, H. (2018) Taxonomy based on science is necessary for global conservation. PLoS biology , 16 (3). ISSN: 1545-7885 | doi: