Recording data about seeds
Data for each Millennium Seed Bank Partnership collection is held in the Seed Bank Database.
Logging data into the Seed Bank Database (Image: RBG Kew)
Data in the Seed Bank Database (SBD) is organised into four main sections:
A record of the data collected in the field including names and organisation of collectors, locality etc. Seed banks can hold viable seeds for many decades so it is essential that collection data is meaningful to scientists in the future. To this end, Geographical Positioning System (GPS) data is used to pinpoint the geographical location of the collection site. Such accurately recorded locations can also be used within a Geographical Information System (GIS) allowing linkage to climatic and other data. Information on the plant's identification is also included. This is important as it links the collection to everything else that is recorded in the scientific literature about the species. Identifying this wild material is equivalent to the process of 'characterisation' for crop genetic resource collections.
A record of the results of procedures carried out on the seed collection once it has arrived at the Millennium Seed Bank. The process is sequential so the progress of a collection through the system can be tracked.
Seed distribution data
Most seed collections that are held in the MSB are covered by Access and Benefit Sharing Agreements with the countries of origin. Seed samples can be made available to third parties for bona fide research under a Material Supply Agreement, and transactions are tracked on the SBD. (See "Uses of seeds").
This includes accepted names for species and their synonyms, conservation ratings and inclusion within plant health and CITES legislation.
Seed Bank Database
Our Seed Bank Database is constantly evolving to better assist in collection management, to meet the needs of research and conservation programmes and to ease data exchange across Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership.
Statistics from the SBD allow progress towards MSBP collecting targets to be monitored and are useful when planning future collecting expeditions. Seed viability monitoring data is used to make decisions about whether to recollect or regenerate a collection if viability has dropped to 85% of initial seed viability.
The seed collection data is not available publicly, but information on seed characteristics such as seed germination requirements is available online through the Seed Information Database.
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