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Julie Hawkins

Portrait of Julie Hawkins
  • Professor of Plant Systemics and Evolution
  • Deputy Head of School
  • Head of Evolution research group
  • Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Chair of Athena Swan Self Assessment Team
  • Admissions Tutor MSc Plant Diversity 

Areas of interest

  • Plant taxonomy and evolution
  • Ethnobotany and evolutionary ethnobotany
  • Wildlife trade and conservation.

Postgraduate supervision

Post docs

PhD Students

  • Elspeth Haston (2003) ) A phylogenetic investigation of the Peltophorum group (Caesalpinieae, Leguminosae) and taxonomic revision of the genus Conzattia Rose.
  • Neil Bell (2003) Research Database Tuhat: phylogenetic analysis of taxa critical for the understanding of relationships and the evolution of morphological characters (first supervisor Angela Newton, Natural History Museum, London).
  • Felix Forest (2004) Systematics of Fabales and Polygalaceae with emphasis on Muraltia and the origin of the Cape flora (first supervisor Peter Crane, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)
  • John Galey (2004) Linking developmental process & evolutionary pattern: evolution of leaf morphology in the Leguminoseae.
  • Rolando Bárcenas Luna (2004) Systematics of Grusonia F. Rchb. Ex Britton and Rose (Opuntioideae: Cactaceae).
  • Dawn Edwards (2005) Systematic studies of the South African Endemic Aspalathus (Fabaceae) and the Genistoid s.l. clade. RHS Staff page
  • Alistair Griffiths (2006) The role of ex-situ management in the conservation of the critically endangered Seychelles endemic Impatiens gordonii (first supervisor Peter Whitbread-Abrutat, Eden Project, Cornwall). Dr. Alistair Griffiths (RHS)
  • Dion Devey (2007) Systematics and conservation of Mediterranean insect-mimicking orchids (Ophrys) (first supervisor Richard Bateman, Kew/Natural History Museum, London).Dr. Dion Devey (Kew Gardens)
  • Martyn Powell (2007) - Neotropical diversity - insights from phylogeny, ecology and cellular biology in Oncidioid orchids (first supervisor Vincent Savolainen, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). Martyn Powell (Kew Gardens)
  • Maria Angelica Bello Gutierrez (2008) - Evolution of the floral traits of Polygalaceae: an evolutionary developmental genetics approach (co-supervisor Dr Paula Rudall, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) Angelica Bello Gutierrez (RJB)
  • Dhafer A-Zahrani (2010) Systematics of Saudi Arabian Burseraceae.
  • Victor Rodriguez (2011) Molecular Ecology and Evolution of Ariocarpus (Cacataceae). Victor Manuel Rodriguez Garcia
  • Charilaos Saslis-Lagoudakis (2011) Evolutionary Origin of Medicinal Properties in Plants (co-supervised by Vincent Savolainen, Imperial College and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Elizabeth Williamson, University of Reading).Dr. Haris Saslis-Lagoudakis


  • Part 1: Plant Diversity, Structure and Utilisation
  • Part 2: Evolution
  • Part 3: Plants, Animals and Climate Change
  • MSc: Research and Professional Skills, Molecular Systematics, Critical Discussion of Literature in Plant Diversity Science

Research projects

  • Phylogeny and evolution of flowering plants: Fabales, Cactaceae, Orchidaceae, Commiphora
  • Phylogenetic patterns in traditional medicinal plant use
  • Molecular marker data to determine identity, parentage or provenance of economically important plant species
  • Herbarium specimen data and past environments
  • Funded by The Leverhulme Trust, John Spedan Lewis Foundation, BBSRC/NERC (CoSyst), DEFRA (Darwin Initiative), EU FP7


Member of:

  • Centre for Plant Diversity and Systematics
  • Evolution Research Group

Esteem Factors:

  • 2010-2012 Research Council of Norway Biological Sciences Research Grants review panel.
  • 2010 -2012 Panel member for BBSRC/NERC Systematics and Taxonomy (SynTax) scheme
  • Chair of BBRSC Collaborative Scheme for Systematics Research (2006-2009), responsible for
    • Designing and implementing an online applications procedure
    • Appointing the five scientific members of the review panel, convening meetings and chairing the meetings
    • Determining if applications received lie outside the expertise of panel members, and recruiting additional (virtual) assessors
  • Elected member of the Systematics Association Council 1998-2001 and 2004-2008
  • Member of the Scientific Meetings Committee of the Systematics Association Council 2004-2006
  • Chair of the Systematics Association Grants and Awards Committee 2006-2008
  • Chair of the joint Linnaean Society/Systematics Association Systematics Research Fund (SRF) responsible for the distribution of NERC, Linnaean Society and Systematics Association funds, 2006-2008
  • Member of the Consortium for the Barcoding of Life

Selected publications

Robbirt, KM, Roberts, DL and Hawkins, JA (2006) Comparing IUCN and probabilistic assessments of threat: do IUCN red list criteria conflate rarity and threat? Biodiversity and Conservation 15:1903–1912

Hawkins, JA, White, L, Hughes, CE, Contreras-Jiménez, JL, Mercado, P (1999) Investigation and documentation of hybridisation between Parkinsonia aculeata and Cercidium praecox (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 216: 49-68.

Hawkins, JA and Harris, SA (1998) RAPD markers and the characterisation of putative hybrids: two case studies in neotropical legumes. Plant Systematics and Evolution 213: 43-55.

Hawkins, JA, Hughes, CE and Scotland, RW (1997) Primary homology, characters and character states. Cladistics 13: 275-283.

Impact, Enterprise and Outreach

  • Member of management team for MEDPLANT EU ITN, a network including seven industrial partners
  • Funded to work with British Pharmacopoeia Laboratory at the MHRA, to incorporate DNA barcoding in their monographs of medicinal plant products available in the UK
  • National and international coverage of DNA certification of cacti Certification of Endangered Mexican Cacti (See 'Publications/In the News') and medicinal plant phylogeny (See 'Coverage')
  • Developed computer-based evolution teaching materials for schools for the Wellcome Trust