Dr Caroline Pannell

Research Associate in Plant Taxonomy

Tel +44 (0) 1865 275020
Fax +44 (0) 1865 275074

Research Description

Trees of the genus Aglaia (family Meliaceae) are common components of the lowland equatorial rain forests of S.E. Asia, reaching their greatest abundance in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. It is not unusual to find twelve different species in any one forest site in these areas. These trees produce timber mainly for local use, their fruits are often edible and medicinal properties are reported for many species. Aglaia is the only source of the group of about 50 known representatives of compounds that bear a unique cyclopenta[b]tetrahydrobenzofuran skeleton. These compounds are more commonly called rocaglate or rocaglamide derivatives, or flavaglines and have been found to have anticancer and pesticide properties. Since the first representative in this group was only discovered in 1982, this one of the few recent examples of a completely new class of plant secondary metabolites of biological promise.

My research began with a study of the reproductive biology of the genus in the lowland rain forests of Peninsular Malaysia, but it soon became apparent that the taxonomy of the genus was in a chaotic state, the most recent (incomplete) revision having been published in 1878. A monograph of the genus was published in 1992, while several regional accounts deal with the genus in more detail at the local level. The monograph provided the first complete account, with descriptions, of all known Aglaia species, their distributions, local uses and medicinal value. The full treatment of the genus attracted further research on related topics such as the bioactivity of phytochemical extracts and the systematic relationships within the genus and between it and other mahogany genera.

Up to 90% of trees in a lowland tropical forest have fleshy fruits, the seeds of which are dispersed by animals. Anything from carnivores, such as tigers, large primates, such as Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Orang Utans, fruit-bats, hornbills, pigeons and large flightless birds, such as cassowaries, to numerous small mammals and birds disperse the seeds of tropical trees and promote regeneration of forest after disturbance, whether natural or man-made. With the exception of very large seeds, which may be dependent on a single disperser, the relationship between fleshy-fruited trees and their dispersers is rarely species-specific. A great deal of variation may be exhibited between forest sites and this is difficult to quantify. A more productive way of approaching the subject is to use morphological and nutritional features of fruits and their dispersers to characterize the qualitative factors operating in these interactions. This has led me to use series of fruit characters and adaptations to fruit-eating by dispersing animals to describe ‘syndromes’ which link fruit-types with their animal dispersers.

The emphasis of my current research is:
1. to build on the taxonomic revision of Aglaia, by making information on the genus accessible in the areas of the world where it grows
2. to provide a taxonomic base for phytochemical research in Aglaia, identifying to species or subspecies the source of novel compounds and predicting which species might yield further bioactivity
3. to find fresh material for DNA-extraction of living plants of Aglaia in their native habitats and to contribute to interpretation of the results of investigations of molecular systematics in the genus
4. to continue studies of animal-dispersal of fleshy fruits and its importance for tropical rain forest regeneration

Publications

Monograph and books

Hopkins, H.C.F., C.R. Huxley, C.R, Pannell, C.M, Prance, G.T., White, F. (1998) The biological monograph: the importance of field studies and functional syndromes for taxonomy and evolution of tropical plants. Kew Bulletin Additional Series.

Mabberley, D.J., Pannell, C.M, Sing, A.M. (1995) Meliaceae.Flora Malesiana  series I, volume 12, part 1. (Foundation Flora Malesiana, Leiden, Netherlands)

Pannell, C.M, (1992) A taxonomic monograph of the genus Aglaia Lour. (Meliaceae). Kew Bulletin Additional Series 16: viii + 379 pp. (HMSO).

Conference poster

Pan, L., Kardono, L.B.S., Riswan, S., Chai, H., Pannell, C.M., Soejarto, D.D., McCloud, T.G., Newman, D.J., Kinghorn, A.D.(2009). Isolation and characterization of silvestrol analogs and triterpenes from a large-scale recollection of Aglaia foveolata.Poster for the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Journal and symposium articles

Muellner, A.N., Greger, H., Pannell, C.M. (2009) Genetic diversity and geographic structure in Aglaia elaeagnoidea(Meliaceae, Sapindales), a morphologically complex tree species, near the two extremes of its distribution Blumea: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography. 54 (1): pp 207-216. 
doi:10.3767/000651909X476175.

Muellner, A.N., Pannell, C.M., Coleman, A., Chase, M.W.(2008) The origin and evolution of Indomalesian, Australasian and Pacific island biotas: Insights from Aglaieae (Meliaceae, Sapindales) Journal of Biogeography. 35 (10): pp 1769-1789. 
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.01935.x.

Greger, H., Hofer, M., Teichmann, K., Schinnerl, J., Pannell, C.M., Vajrodaya, S., Hofer, O. (2008) Amide-esters from Aglaia tenuicaulis - First representatives of a class of compounds structurally related to bisamides and flavaglines Phytochemistry. 69 (4): pp 928-938. 
doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.10.015.

Pointinger, S., Promdang, S., Vajrodaya, S., Pannell, C.M., Hofer, O., Mereiter, K., Greger, H. (2008) Silvaglins and related 2,3-secodammarane derivatives - unusual types of triterpenes from Aglaia silvestris Phytochemistry69(15): 2696-2703. 
doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2008.08.025.

Pannell, C.M. (2005) Aglaia soepadmoi Pannell (Meliaceae), a new species for Borneo. Bulletin of the Singapore Botanic Gardens 57:183 – 185

Muellner, A.N., Samuel, R., Chase, M.W., Pannell, C.M., Greger, H. (2005) Aglaia (Meliaceae): an evaluation of taxonomic concepts based on DNA data and secondary metabolites. American Journal of Botany 92(3): 534-543.

Pannell, C.M. (2004) Tropical rainforest regeneration. Biological Sciences Review 17: 24 – 37

Barnea, A., Pannell, C.M. (2004) Male Blackbird defending Holly fruits. British Birds 97: 100 – 101.

Pannell, C.M. (2004) Three new species, two new subspecies and five new combinations at the subspecific level in Aglaia Lour. (Meliaceae) Kew Bulletin. 59 (1): pp 87-94

Barnea, A., Pannell, C.M. (2004) Male Blackbird defending Holly fruits. British Birds 97: 100 – 101.

Pannell, C.M. (1998) The scientific achievements of Frank White. In Huxley, C.R., Lock, J.M. and Cutler, D.F. (eds). Chorology, Taxonomy and Ecology of the Floras of Africa and Madagascar,pp. 17 – 23. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Pannell, C.M. (1997) Solving problems in the taxonomy of Aglaia(Meliaceae): functional syndromes and the biological monograph.Proceedings of the Third International Flora Malesiana Symposium, pp. 163 - 170.

Pannell, C.M. (1997) A new, cassowary-dispersed, species ofAglaia (Meliaceae, section Amoora) from Papua New Guinea Kew Bulletin. 52 (3): pp 715-717

Barnea, A., Harborne, J.B., Pannell, C. (1993) What parts of fleshy fruits contain secondary compounds toxic to birds and why?Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 21 (4): pp 421-429

 Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Pannell, C.M. (1996) A new Diospyros (Ebenaceae) from the Congo Republic. Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg.65: 399 - 403 (1996). Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3668461

White, F., Pannell, C.M. (1996) A new species of Vepris (Rutaceae) from Mt Mulanje, Malawi. Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg.65: 419 - 422. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3668464

Pannell, C.M. A monograph of Aglaia  (Meliaceae) - a second correction. Kew Bulletin  50: 348 (1995).

Pannell, C.M. A monograph of Aglaia (Meliaceae) - a correction.Kew Bulletin  48: 348 (1993).

Pannell, C.M. (1989) The role of animals in natural regeneration and the management of equatorial rain forests for conservation and timber production Commonwealth Forestry Review. 68 (4): pp 309-313

Pannell, C.M., Koziol, M.J. (1987) Ecological and phytochemical diversity of arillate seeds in Aglaia (Meliaceae): a study of vertebrate dispersal in tropical trees Philosophical Transactions - Royal Society of London, B. 316 (1178): pp 303-333

 Pannell, C.M., White, F. (1988) Patterns of speciation in Africa, Madagascar, and the tropical Far East: regional faunas and cryptic evolution in vertebrate-dispersed plants. In  Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Garden.  25: 639 - 659

 Pannell, C.M. (1982) Aglaia.  In D.J. Mabberley, Notes on Malesian Meliaceae for the Tree Flora of Malaya.  The Malaysian Forester  45: 454 - 455.

 Leslie, A.C., Pannell, C.M., Walters S.M. (1982) Varieties ofViola odorata  L. in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Watsonia  14: 73 - 74. http://www.watsonia.org.uk/html/watsonia_14.html

Flora accounts and checklists

Pannell, C.M. (submitted) Aglaia (Meliaceae). In A.E. Orchard (ed.) Flora of Australia.

Pannell, C.M. (2008). A key to Aglaia (Meliaceae) in Australia, with a description of a new species, A. cooperae, from Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 22: 67-71.

Peng Hua, Pannell, C.M. (2008). Aglaia (Meliaceae). In Wu Zhengyi, Raven, P.H., Hong Deyuan (eds) Flora of China, vol. 11: 121-124.

Pannell, C.M, (2007) Aglaia  (Meliaceae). In Soepadmo, E. et al (eds)Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak, vol 6: 24-107.

Pannell, C.M. (1995) Aglaia.  In Dassanayake, M.D., Fosberg, F.R. & Clayton, W.D. (editors), A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon,  volume 9: 254 - 263 (Amerind Pubishing Co. Pvt. Ltd: New Delhi).

Pannell, C.M. (1989) Aglaia. In Ng, F.S.P. (editor), Tree Flora of Malaya,  volume 4: 207 - 230 (Longman Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur).

Pannell, C.M. The species of Aglaia  Loureiro.  In T.C. Whitmore & I.G.M. Tantra (compilers) Tree Flora of Indonesia. Checklists for Sumatra (1986), Sulawesi (1989), Bali, Nusa Tenggara and Timur (1989), Maluku (1989), Borneo (1990).

Book chapters

 Pannell, C.M. (2001) The Biology of Figs in White, F., Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Chapman, J.D., Evergreen Forest Flora of Malawi, pp. 380 – 383

 Pannell, C.M. (1996) Dispersal of fruits and seeds. In A. & J. Whitten, A. & J. (eds.) Indonesian Heritage Encyclopaedia Series: Plants, pp. 52 & 53 (Editions Didier Millet, Singapore).

 Pannell, C.M. (1989) Spreading the seeds - sowing the future forest.  Chapter 5 in L. Silcock (editor), The rainforests - a celebration.  (Barrie and Jenkins). 

ONLINE DATABASES

 Pannell, C.M. Aglaia for BRAHMSonline, including specimens, nomenclature, images, literature.

Pannell, C.M. (1997) Aglaia IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/link/4acf22e5-388e4543

Full Publication List (while at this department)

 

Grudinski, M, Wanntorp, L, Pannell, C.M, Muellner-Riehl, A.N. (2014) West to east dispersal in a widespread animal-dispersed woody angiosperm genus (aglaia, meliaceae) across the indo-australian archipelago Journal of Biogeography..
doi:10.1111/jbi.12280.

 

Grudinski, M, Pannell, C.M, Chase, M.W, Ahmad, J.A, Muellner-Riehl, A.N. (2014) An evaluation of taxonomic concepts of the widespread plant genus Aglaia and its allies across Wallace's Line (tribe Aglaieae, Meliaceae) Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 73 (1): pp 65-76.
doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.01.025.

 

Ng, B.L.N, Omarzuki, M, Lau, G.S.K, Pannell, C.M, Yeo, T.C. (2014) A nucleotide signature for identification of Aglaia stellatopilosa Pannell Molecular Biotechnology. 56 (7): pp 671-679.
doi:10.1007/s12033-014-9746-0.

 

Ng, B.L.N, Omarzuki, M, Lau, G.S.K, Pannell, C.M, Yeo, T.C. (2014) A Nucleotide Signature for Identification of Aglaiastellatopilosa Pannell Molecular Biotechnology. pp 1-9.
doi:10.1007/s12033-014-9746-0.

 

Pan, L, Acuna, U.M, Li, J, Jena, N, Ninh, T.N, Pannell, C.M, Chai, H, Fuchs, J.R, Carcache, De Blanco E.J, Soejarto, D.D, Kinghorn, A.D. (2013) Bioactive flavaglines and other constituents isolated from Aglaia perviridis Journal of Natural Products. 76 (3): pp 394-404.
doi:10.1021/np3007588.

 

Pan, L, Kardono, L.B.S, Riswan, S, Chai, H, Carcache, De Blanco E.J, Pannell, C.M, Soejarto, D.D, McCloud, T.G, Newman, D.J, Kinghorn, A.D. (2010) Isolation and characterization of minor analogues of silvestrol and other constituents from a large-scale re-collection of Aglaia foveolata Journal of Natural Products. 73 (11): pp 1873-1878.
doi:10.1021/np100503q.

 

Muellner, A.N, Greger, H, Pannell, C.M. (2009) Genetic diversity and geographic structure in Aglaia elaeagnoidea (Meliaceae, Sapindales), a morphologically complex tree species, near the two extremes of its distribution Blumea: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography. 54 (1): pp 207-216.
doi:10.3767/000651909X476175.

 

Greger, H, Hofer, M, Teichmann, K, Schinnerl, J, Pannell, C.M, Vajrodaya, S, Hofer, O. (2008) Amide-esters from Aglaia tenuicaulis - First representatives of a class of compounds structurally related to bisamides and flavaglines Phytochemistry. 69 (4): pp 928-938.
doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.10.015.

 

Muellner, A.N, Pannell, C.M, Coleman, A, Chase, M.W. (2008) The origin and evolution of Indomalesian, Australasian and Pacific island biotas: Insights from Aglaieae (Meliaceae, Sapindales) Journal of Biogeography. 35 (10): pp 1769-1789.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.01935.x.

 

Pointinger, S, Promdang, S, Vajrodaya, S, Pannell, C.M, Hofer, O, Mereiter, K, Greger, H. (2008) Silvaglins and related 2,3-secodammarane derivatives - unusual types of triterpenes from Aglaia silvestris Phytochemistry..
doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2008.08.025.

 

Muellner, A.N, Samuel, R, Chase, M.W, Pannell, C.M, Greger, H. (2005) Aglaia (Meliaceae): An evaluation of taxonomic concepts based on DNA data and secondary metabolites American Journal of Botany. 92 (3): pp 534-543

 

Pannell, C.M. (2004) Three new species, two new subspecies and five new combinations at the subspecific level in Aglaia Lour. (Meliaceae) Kew Bulletin. 59 (1): pp 87-94

 

Pannell, C.M. (1997) A new, cassowary-dispersed, species of Aglaia (Meliaceae, section Amoora) from Papua New Guinea Kew Bulletin. 52 (3): pp 715-717

 

Barnea, A, Harborne, J.B, Pannell, C. (1993) What parts of fleshy fruits contain secondary compounds toxic to birds and why? Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 21 (4): pp 421-429

 

Pannell, C.M. (1989) The role of animals in natural regeneration and the management of equatorial rain forests for conservation and timber production Commonwealth Forestry Review. 68 (4): pp 309-313

 

Pannell, C.M, Koziol, M.J. (1987) Ecological and phytochemical diversity of arillate seeds in Aglaia (Meliaceae): a study of vertebrate dispersal in tropical trees Philosophical Transactions - Royal Society of London, B. 316 (1178): pp 303-333