Ecology and ex situ conservation of Orchis sancta and Orchis papilionacea (Orchidaceae) in Jordan
“Since getting my MSc in 1995, I have been carrying out research in Plant Genetic Resources. My area of work is mainly involved with habitat surveys and conservation of Jordanian native flora. Part of my work has been on soil seed bank dynamics in desert areas of the country. I have really enjoyed this work because I have always been fond of nature and dealing with biological systems.
Since 2001, I have been involved with Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership in my country, which reinforces our Floral Conservation goal. I wrote a proposal about the conservation and ecology of Jordan’s wild terrestrial orchids, which are some of the most vulnerable species locally and on a global level. The MSBP agreed to support the project, which led to a PhD degree.
Orchids are really interesting plants, with a special symbiotic relationship with soil fungi that dictates the spatial distribution of orchid populations as well as soil seed bank dynamics. The goals of my research are to study the histological aspects of the acquisition of desiccation tolerance during seed development; to study the mycorrhizal fungi infection in symbiotically cultured orchid seeds and to determine the histological changes in infected tissue during the early germination stages; to investigate the dynamics of viability changes in the soil seed bank in local natural habitats (in situ), and to measure the effect of storage temperature and moisture percentage on seed viability.
I am registered at the University of Jordan, with Dr D. Eisawi (Prof. of Botany) as an advisor and Dr N Haddad (Prof. of Plant Breeding) as a co-advisor. Dr Tim Marks (Seed Biotechnologist) is my MSBP advisor. The in situ part of the project will be done in Jordan, and most of the laboratory work will be carried out at the MSB’s really unique laboratories, run by such wonderful staff that I have always enjoyed dealing with. I have already started doing some preliminary experiments with Dr Marks at the MSB.
I am doing my PhD on a part-time basis, so I am still very much involved in survey and collection work for the MSBP in Jordan. I am very much looking forward to all parts of the research and to exploring different aspects of this interesting and vulnerable plant family.”
- Read about the work of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership in Jordan
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