Monday, January 30, 2012

bizzare and incredible

Despite my not being able to embed this 5 min video here I urge you to be inspired by visiting this BBC site to watch a wonderfully unique short presentation on seeds by Kew MBS's Wolfgang Stuppy. I included it my December Newsletter but am posting it here so you can be sure to see it.

Over in England there's a man named Wolfgang Stuppy who speaks more than five languages, has a Ph.D. in botany and calls himself a "seed morphologist." His focus? "Seed structure of angiosperms, its relevance for seed banking operations and phylogenetic significance, especially with respect to Malpighiales," says his bio. Click on highlighted text above to read the whole post.
These books were by published by Papadakis in the UK and all except the title Pollen were books collaborated on extensively by Wolfgang Stuppy. The images in the video above come from these books.

I am also going to share with you winning films forWWF that I watched today. READ about the competition and winners here. Below is the shortlist of films you can watch as well as the winning films (2 mins.... take a peek!)


Friday, January 27, 2012

Making a difference around the world...

I wrote extensively about my recent Residency at the Kew Millennium Seed bank in October, 2011 here in the Mid-December E-newsletter . NB: translation to other languages is available!

You will find these stories here at the KEW Website . I thought I would take a look at their latest postings and these were some of the articles I found there, full of excellent links that take you to all the various projects and explain in the most accessible terms what each involves.

Making a difference around the world
Global map
Explore Kew's interactive map and find out how our science and conservation work is making a huge difference in the UK and around the world.
Find out about the new discoveries Kew's science teams have made across plant science and mycology, how the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is driving vital global conservation workand how our innovative research into the use of plants is helping communities worldwide.
All life depends on plants - and not just those we value most. The health of the planet - and our future - depends on the immense wealth of different species of plants and fungi that grow in the Earth's many and varied habitats.

Why you need Kew

Why you need Kew
More than one in five of the world's plants are threatened with extinction. We all rely on plants for food, clean air and water, but they are more threatened than birds, and as threatened as mammals. We need to understand more about how plants adapt to environmental change, and how to use them in ways that are sustainable. Much of Kew’s work is focused on these challenges.

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership - Australia

Twenty-three per cent of Australian floral species are listed as under threat of extinction
Seed collecting in Tasmania, Australia
Seed collecting in Tasmania, Australia (Image: Andrew McRobb)

Plant life in Australia is under threat

Australia is one of only eighteen 'mega diverse’ countries as identified by the United Nations and therefore by definition contains a significant number of the earth’s species.
Australia's native biodiversity is of global significance. The total number of Australian species comprises 15% of the world's total with a high proportion of these being endemic to the continent.
However, threatened by massive land clearance since European settlement , significant problems from invasive species and with serious implications from a changing climate, 23% of Australian floral species are listed as under threat of extinction. 

Save a plant species outright or adopt a seed for just £25

Environment  and climate

The Australian outback conjours up images of a complete dryland continent, but Australia is truly a land of contrast.
The extreme dryland of the "Red Centre" is a world away form the wet tropical forests of Northern Queensland and the alpine zones of the Snowy Mountains. This ancient landscape, having escaped the recent glacial ages displays a mosaic of vegetation and habitats all very different form each other and has given rise to high levels of endemism across the continent .
This is especially so in the South Western part of Western Australia, well known as a plant biodiversity hotspot of global significance.

Saving seeds for the future in Australia

Australia is making a major contribution to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership. Each of the six States and the Northern Territory all have separate partnerships with Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. In total, we work with 14 institutions and government departments across the country.
Scientists from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership are sharing their expertise with partners in the six States and the Northern Territory on seed collection processes, conservation and research.
The overall priority is to bank plant species considered rare or threatened in order to dramatically enhance the conservation of the Australian flora.

Discover more about our work in Australia...

Interactive map - Explore Kew's MSBP around the world

Our team in Australia

Our partners in Australia

Our partners in Australia have mobilised a national network called Australian Seed Conservation and Research (AuSCaR) which ensures harmonisation of activities across the project partners. The AuSCaR network ensures that the teams in each region aren’t duplicating collections if, for example, plant species are found in more than one State. It also ensures a programme of collaboration between research groups from each State.
AuSCaR has now received support from Federal agencies and we hope very soon that the network evolves into a major contributor to plant conservation on the continent.

Read about what the Partnerships are doing in other countries below:

Saving seeds

NB: All text is from the Kew Website.

The Millennium Seed Bank - more seed projects

The projects below are related to seed germination and seed banking, and are managed by Millennium Seed Bank staff.
DIRECTS team outside MSB

Community Tree Seeds project

This project is aimed at enhancing the role and capacity of institutes in sub-Saharan Africa to assist with the conservation and sustainable use of native tree seeds of community value.
Cryopreservation room at the MSB

Cryopreservation Network

The aim of this project is to create a network that brings together European scientists with an expertise and / or interest in plant cryopreservation for the development of efficient cryopreservation procedures.
MSB Difficult seeds training course

'Difficult' Seeds project

Kew and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) are working with seed banks in Africa to conserve plants used for food and agriculture, but which are difficult to conserve and/or use.

European Native Seed Conservation Network (ENSCONET)

This project aims to optimise seed conservation practices and avoid the extinction of native species from Europe.The  network aims to make best use of time and resources by reducing the duplication of effort.
Herbarium Wing C

Extinct Plants project

This project takes seeds from old Herbarium sheets and attempts to resurrect species which are now extinct in the wild
Cattleya quadricolor

Orchid Seed Stores project

Orchids are being over-collected and many are threatened with extinction. This project aims to establish orchid seed banking around the globe using conventional seed banking techniques.
Internal structure of Prestoea acuminata var. montana seeds

Palm Seed Network

A network bringing together scientists from around the world working on palm seed biology research.
UPP - healer interview

Useful Plants project

This project aims to increase the capacity of local communities to store and propagate plant species that are most useful to their wellbeing.

What to target?

Prioritising plant species for conservation
The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is the world’s most ambitious plant conservation initiative. By 2020, it aims to have seeds from 25% of Earth’s seed-bearing flora saved for posterity. Doing so acts as an insurance policy.
Analysising seeds
Analysing seeds at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst, West Sussex.
If a plant species becomes extinct in the wild, the opportunity remains to reintroduce stock back to the plant’s native habitat by propagating the stored seeds. But how do Kew’s scientists choose which plants to prioritise?

Targeting vulnerable areas and habitats

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is focusing its global seed-collecting activities towards plant species growing in areas that are vulnerable to threats such as habitat loss and climate change.
These include the world's drylands (home to a billion of the world’s poorest people), islands, coastal areas and mountains.

Identifying plant species at risk

Scientists at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank concentrate their efforts towards saving species that are endangered,  economically important or endemic - often refered to as the 3 E's.
"Endemic" species are limited to a discrete geographical area, often within one country and are therefore more vulnerable to threats. For example in Madagascar, where there is approximately 80% endemism among plant species, extinctions are especially likely given the few localities in which many species occur, the relatively small areas of protected land and the slash-and-burn agricultural practices prevalent in rural areas.
At present, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership works with 123 organisations in 54 countries around the world. Decisions about which plant species to prioritise are usually taken by the partner countries themselves. However, if the country concerned has insufficient data to do this itself, Kew's science teams will help.
The team consults specimens from Kew and other herbaria, and literature resources to prioritise species for conservation. Information collated is then analysed using technologies such as GIS (geographical information systems). Staff map locations of herbarium specimens, estimate distribution patterns and pinpoint likely flowering and fruiting periods (when seeds can be gathered). They also use this data to get a preliminary idea of how threatened each plant species is. Species found to be at high risk of extinction are assessed more fully using the Red List criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Species Targeting Programme has worked with partners to target species for conservation inBotswanaBurkina FasoChileJordanKenyaLebanonMadagascarMalawiMaliMexico,Republic of South Africa, and Tanzania.
Information on each nation’s most threatened species is presented in a collection guide. These are made available to Millennium Seed Bank partners so they can efficiently plan itineraries for seed-collecting expeditions. Guides recently completed include Trees of BotswanaThreatened Taxa of Albany (South Africa) and the Malawi Red Data List.

Scientific Research & Data

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...