An IMLS-funded project, Safeguarding our Plant Collections, will adapt DNA data and zoo methods to help conserve plant collections.
The project brings together experts from eight organizations, clockwise from upper left: Alan Meerow, USDA; Tracy Magellan and Patrick Griffith, Montgomery Botanical Center; John Clark, Center for Plant Conservation; Taylor Callicrate and Bob Lacy, Chicago Zoological Society; David Lorence and Seana Walsh, National Tropical Botanical Garden; Jeremie Fant, Kay Havens and Andrea Kramer, Chicago Botanic Garden; Michael Dosmann, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University; Abby Hird Meyer, Botanic Gardens Conservation International; Sean Hoban and Murphy Westwood, Morton Arboretum.
"Montgomery Botanical Center, and its eight partners, will study and develop methods for effective conservation of U.S. living plants, piloting successful zoo strategies for use with plant collections. The project will address the need to 1) understand how effectively botanic gardens can conserve biodiversity and 2) coordinate management among isolated collections. The project will use current proven molecular tools to systematically compare genetic diversity between wild plant populations and corresponding living collections, among ten carefully selected species that will be used as predictive models for other collections. This project will improve conservation of genetic diversity in living plant collections, and will provide broadly usable guidelines for diverse plants to be used by a range of gardens and arboreta. Information will be disseminated through websites, tours, educational programming, conferences, publications, reports, and articles."