Submitted to: Seed Conservation: Turning Science into Practice
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2003
Publication Date: 6/20/2003
Citation: Walters, C. 2003. Conservation of Tropical Island Seeds: an example from Hawai'i. 54:957-963. In R.D. Smith, J.B. Dickic, S.H. Linington, H.W. Pritchard and R.J. Probert (eds) Seed Conservation: turning science into practice. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London. Interpretive Summary: This proceedings paper documents the storage physiology of seeds from Hawaiian plants that are in danger of extinction. The study was developed in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to test the widely-held presumption that seeds from Hawaiian species could not be genebanked because they did not survive genebanking conditions. We provide evidence that strongly refutes this presumption.
Technical Abstract: Studies of seeds of Hawaiian native plants show a very low incidence of recalcitrance. Of 207 tax screened so far, 75% are clearly not recalcitrant and an additional 20% are probably not recalcitrant. The requirement for long-distance dispersal of original colonizers selects against recalcitrant seeds and few recalcitrant seeds evolve from successful colonizers. Other oceanic island species can be stored using conventional techniques for orthodox seeds. It is practical to establish seed conservation programs both locally and through higher-level institutions even on islands with limited infrastructure.