The project team uses case studies and develops new computational tools to quantify the conservation value of living collections. The project aims to determine whether enough trees of a given species are being conserved and to identify where to sample next to get the most value for the effort in terms of genetic diversity.
The first case study, in partnership with the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, focuses on the European ash. The team will also be analyzing the conservation values of various collections of living plants at The Morton Arboretum, which has a long history of collecting plants from all over the world and conserving them to prevent extinction.
Along with this project, the team will develop a set of software tools that other gardens can use to plan their collections to ensure that gardens are conserving the right population size and the best representation of the genetics of the species.