RESEARCH TO DEVELOP STRATEGIES AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR PRESERVING PLANT GENETIC DIVERSITY IN EX SITU GENEBANKS
Location: Plant Germplasm Preservation Research Unit
Title: The ex situ conservation strategy for endangered plant species: small samples, storage and lessons from seed collected from US national parks
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 10, 2011
Publication Date: April 10, 2011
Citation: Walters, C.T., Kennedy, K., Brian, N., Strong, A., Hill, L.M., Luhman, R., Mehrhoff, L., Dratch, P., Raven, P. 2011. The ex situ conservation strategy for endangered plant species: small samples, storage and lessons from seed collected from US national parks. Meeting Abstract. International Society for Seed Science , Bahia, Brazil April 10-15, 2011. pp.100.
Ex situ collections of seeds sampled from wild populations provide germplasm for restoration and for scientific study about biological diversity. Seed collections of endangered species are urgent because they might forestall ever-dwindling population size and genetic diversity. However, collecting seeds from endangered populations is fraught with difficulty because the extremely small sample sizes and limited knowledge of seed biology challenge our abilities to make, maintain and use samples that are genetically representative of the wild population. Research increasingly shows that seed banking principles developed for domesticated species may be applicable to wild populations, with caution and notable exceptions. This paper investigates particular aspects of seed quality and storage physiology using seeds collected from rare or imperiled species located on US National Parks. New techniques that non-invasively evaluate initial quality, predict storage behavior, and monitor seed aging are implemented to facilitate basic seed banking operations without consuming precious seed. The ‘National Parks Collection’ represents an unprecedented collaboration among US agencies and non-government organizations and will provide a model for making scientific collections of germplasm from rare materials for future generations.