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Kew's projects across continental Europe

Kew is working with partners across the region to create and share valuable plant information.

Sempervivum marmoreum, a species endemic to Bulgaria, on Konyavska Mountain (Image: Yulia Bosseva)

Working together to save plants for the future

Over the last two decades many European countries have made a commitment to seed conservation and sustainable use of native plant life. Seed collections like the ones held at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place play a key role in meeting these commitments. The collections themselves are a major form of ex situ conservation which involves conserving seeds outside of their native area. These collections also provide a vital resource for plant conservation research.

Led by Kew, a group of 31 partners from 17 European countries have established a network to work together more closely. The European Native Seed Conservation Network (ENSCONET) is helping to improve seed collecting and conservation through collaboration and sharing knowledge and expertise.

Partners have shared their data in a publicly accessible database, ENSCOBASE, which holds nearly 42,000 collections from 9,300 taxa and over 21,000 germination tests. Dissemination activities have included the publication of an annual bulletin, ENSCONET Seed Collecting Manual for wild species, ENSCONET Curation Protocols and Recommendations and an online Virtual Seed Bank Tour.

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership is also helping to save plants in Bulgaria and Georgia

Improving access to our plant collections and scientific data

Kew is constantly working to improve access and use of our plant databases and online specimen collections. This work helps scientists and researchers working worldwide to find the information they need about different plant species and families, and locate relevant expertise to further research.

SYNTHESYS is a four-year project which began in September 2009 and involves 20 European natural history museums, Universities and botanic gardens. Working together, we aim to create a European resource and network for researchers in the natural sciences. We want to improve access to our collective knowledge and information and enable cross-European discussion and research through collaboration.

Working in collaboration with The Natural History Museum, London and the Berlin Botanical Garden, Kew is participating in projects designed to promote information sharing and collaboration between plant science institutes in Europe. Entitled EDIT (European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy), our focus is to improve access to information and expertise that will help further global plant conservation. EDIT is primarily delivered via the internet and provides plant science researchers and conservationists around the world with access to vital scientific information and data.

Researching 'the unusual' in European Populus

The white poplar (Populus alba L.) and European aspen (P. tremula L.) are two native European tree species. These trees have recently become the focus of interesting evolutionary genetic studies.

These trees are of particular interest to Kew, because when they are brought together, something unusual starts to happen. For example, in areas where these plant species grow close together, extensive hybridisation occurs.

Situated along the river Danube between Krems (Austria) and Bratislava (Slovakia), Kew's project is focused on finding out more about a large hybrid zone between these two species. Recent molecular analyses have indicated that segments of plant DNA can be transferred from the European aspen to the white poplar, naturally. This project is pushing the boundaries of research and investigating new areas of plant evolution and genetics. 

Discover Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership in Europe...

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20 December 2009
I am very interested on Sempervivum and Jovibarba genus in Europe. My Ph.D. is about morphological and ecological diferentiation of populations Jovibarba heuffelii species in Balkans. I am hope that this project will be opened for participation. BEST REGARDS FROM SERBIA
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