Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global Seed Banking Milestone Celebrated

Date:
October 16, 2009
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
An international partnership of 54 countries led by the United Kingdom's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is celebrating a decade of work to set aside seeds for future generations from 10 percent of the world's wild flowering species.

An international partnership of 54 countries led by the United Kingdom's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is celebrating a decade of work to set aside seeds for future generations from 10 percent of the world's wild flowering species.

Related Articles


Thousands of seeds from nearly 25,000 native plant species have been collected and frozen down at locations that include Kew and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin as part of the $108 million Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) Project -- the largest seed bank dedicated to wild plant species in the world. In Texas, the 590 species whose seeds have been preserved so far include everything from the Texas bluebonnet to angels' trumpets to wild buckwheat.

"Texas contains nearly a quarter of all native flora in North America, and it has been a tremendous honor to help save the genetic legacy of the state's iconic native plants as participants in the Millennium Seed Bank Project," said Susan Rieff, director of the Wildflower Center. "We are especially proud of our dedicated staff members who have stockpiled seeds for the Project from hundreds of plant species that may face future threats to survival."

Kew's major MSB partners are present in Australia, Chile, China, Kenya, Mexico and elsewhere. In the United States, where the project is also called the Seeds of Success program, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Bureau of Land Management and four U.S. non-profits have collected seeds.

Other seed banking projects have focused primarily on plants that are agricultural crops. Yet plants do more than serve as the food base for the planet. They also provide medicine, building material and fuel, and are essential for regulating the climate, purifying our water and air and offering other benefits. An estimated one-third of known plants worldwide are under threat due to habitat destruction, exploitation and invasive plant species that compete for resources.

"In a time of increasing concern about loss of biodiversity and climate change, Kew's MSB partnership provides a real message of hope and is a vital resource in an uncertain world," said Professor Stephen Hopper, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. "The need for the kind of insurance policy and practical conservation resource the Millennium Seed Bank provides has never been greater."

In Texas, home of the first plant to be listed on the Endangered Species List, 23 other plants species are endangered, and five more are considered threatened. Meanwhile, more than 200 of the state's roughly 6,000 plant species are listed as "species of concern" with too little known about them because of resource constraints to make informed decisions about their conservation.

"As an MSB partner, we have collected and banked 10,000 or more seeds from species that form the backbone of landscapes that make Texas what it is," said Flo Oxley, the center's director of plant conservation and education. "These seeds can be used to preserve native species whose usefulness we may not even know yet, for plant research and other conservation purposes."

For example, seeds from some of the nine Ash tree species in Texas are being preserved as part of MSB that could become useful if the state gets hit with emerald ash borer, an exotic beetle discovered in Michigan in 2002. The beetle has killed millions of ash trees in Michigan and 12 other states. Even native insects could become a threat, as has been the case with pine beetles in the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere that have decimated western conifer forests, likely the result of recent warm winters and drought that weakened trees.

The Wildflower Center's Michael Eason and Minnette Marr have crisscrossed the state since 2002, climbing rocky cliffs in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, searching for plants in the El Paso desert, wading through East Texas bogs and facing other challenges to capture plants with fruit containing seeds ready for picking. They have been assisted by 100-plus volunteers and botany colleagues across Texas who helped collect the seeds and prepare them to freeze down at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit for 200 years or more. Six hundred collections have been made during the first phase of the MSB project in Texas, with roughly half the 6 million seeds preserved at Kew, and the remainder shared between the Wildflower Center and the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colo.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Global Seed Banking Milestone Celebrated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091016112639.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2009, October 16). Global Seed Banking Milestone Celebrated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091016112639.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Global Seed Banking Milestone Celebrated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091016112639.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins