Recording seed collecting data
Data is collected with each seed collection to provide an essential link to habitat and sampling information for the population.
Seed collectors recording population data in Ala-Archa National Park, Kyrgyzstan (Image: Vanessa Bertenshaw, RBG Kew)
It is vital that collectors keep comprehensive records of where samples were collected.
This information may be requested at any point during the life of the seed collection. Collection teams use hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) units to determine their exact location and record directions to re-find the locality.
A range of ecological and sampling data is also recorded including the dominant plant species at the locality, soil type, slope, and land-use.
Any features of the herbarium specimen that could be lost on pressing, such as flower colour and shape, is also carefully recorded to assist in the identification of the target plant.
Traditionally, field data has been recorded on paper forms though teams are increasingly using electronic notebooks.
Once the seed and herbarium specimens are brought back to base the data is transferred to the seed bank database.