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New seed bank for Western Australia

Seed research laboratory. Photo: Anne Cochrane
The seed research laboratory in the new Threatened Flora Seed Centre
Photo: Anne Cochrane
 
Drying room. Photo: Anne Cochrane
The drying room
Photo: Anne Cochrane
 
Seed cleaning laboratory. Photo: Anne Cochrane
The new laboratory also provides space for students wishing to investigate seed biology alongside our seed researchers.
Photo: Anne Cochrane

After more than 17 years in demountable buildings, Western Australia’s conservation seed bank – the Threatened Flora Seed Centre – has moved to new state-of-the-art premises.

Western Australia is now home to the nation’s largest purpose-built conservation seed bank, following the move of the Threatened Flora Seed Centre to new state-of-the-art premises courtesy of state government funding. The new facility is located within the WA Conservation Science Centre – a large, well-appointed building next to the State Herbarium in Kensington, Perth.

The seed bank has the capacity to store much larger quantities of seed than the previous facility. It also provides space for students wishing to investigate seed biology alongside our seed researchers.

The move has not been without its share of troubles; staff have had to contend with the usual teething problems of new buildings. The development of stalactites on the freezer ceiling provided an interesting occupational health and safety issue – now thankfully resolved!

Fortunately, staff ironed out most problems, and completed the movement of all collections and equipment by January 2011. The move provided a great opportunity for a comprehensive stocktake of seeds-in-store. Staff are now thoroughly enjoying the extra space provided by the new facility, including walk-in incubators for seed germination experiments and a dedicated equipment room. There is also space for a temperature gradient plate, which is used in climate change research. Expansive bench space, adequate storage units and a larger office area now allow for better work flow – and happy workers!