Hannah Atkins

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh


I am a member of staff  in the Tropical Diversity section interested in the taxonomy, evolution and biogeography of the SE Asian herbaceous flora.

I am currently working on Cyrtandra, the largest genus in the Gesneriaceae comprising over 800 species of rainforest herbs and shrubs. It is a predominantly SE Asian group, with centres of diversity in New Guinea and Borneo, but its distribution also extends across the Pacific to Hawaii.

This exceptional species diversity, high levels of local endemism and wide distribution make it an ideal candidate for looking at biogeographic questions in the region and investigating the processes which underlie modern patterns of biodiversity.

My current research focuses on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Knowledge of the affinities of the flora of this island, at the heart of SE Asia, is crucial to understanding both the biogeography of the region and the evolution of many SE Asian plant groups.