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Australian Seed Bank Project – creating a virtual seed bank

Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) logo

The “one-stop-shop” for accessible seed information is now available online through the Atlas of Living Australia web site - http://asbp.ala.org.au/

This hub is a site for the Australian Seed Bank Partnership to provide access to its member’s data for sharing and analysis using a range of Atlas of Living Australia tools. The virtual seed bank is developing into an important resource for researchers and students. We are also using the virtual seed bank to examine the status of various ex situ collections in Australia and using this information we are able to identify national collecting priorities to ensure the diversity of species, as well as genetic diversity within a species, is captured in these important ex situ collections.

The fourteen partners who make up Partnership bring hundreds of years (literally) of experience in seed collection, storage and research into phenology, morphology, ecology, abundance and issues around germination/dormancy into the public domain.

Now the work has commenced on specific projects to make up knowledge gaps and priorities for both conservation and restoration work. Among the projects under way is the 1,000 Species Project. After detailed consideration by leading specialists in the field, targeted collecting of endangered, endemic or economically significant species has commenced in areas as diverse as Lake Eyre, Norfolk Island and the Western Australian wheat belt. Two of the partners have also recently been undertaking work for the Australian Government collecting and banking species known to be vulnerable to dieback (Phytophthora cinnamomi). In Western Australia, the Department of Parks and Wildlife has been banking seed of the critically endangered Grevillea maxwellii; while the team at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens has been seed banking a number of endangered heaths including Epacris grandis and Epacris exserta.

To explore the Australian Seed Bank please use the following link: http://asbp.ala.org.au/