Seed Information Database (SID)
SID is a compilation of seed biological trait data from the MSBP’s own collections and research studies, and from other published and unpublished sources. Its primary purpose is as an internal source of a variety of seed biological information; for use in ± large scale analysis and decision support for seed conservation operations.
In addition, and importantly, having gathered the data, we share it with users worldwide via the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s external website and ePIC, with logged web searches and downloads as an indicator of usage (
The main functional traits or characters of interest are concerned with seed desiccation tolerance, longevity, germination and dormancy; together with physical (e.g. mass) and chemical (e.g. oil content), morphological (including high quality images) and some ecological data, such as dispersal mode and parent plant life-form.
The treatment of seed morphology and anatomy is based on standardised descriptions of seed morphology for selected species from MSB Project collections, including high quality digital images of several standard views. At present, species selection for coverage is based on taxonomy, i.e. Kew and MSB special interest groups (e.g. Rubiaceae, Arecaceae, Fabaceae), and seed biology functional groups (e.g. underdeveloped embryos at dispersal).
Comparative analyses seek broad, predictive relations with a range of physical, chemical, structural and ecological variables, and associated hypothesis generation. Where appropriate, correlations are analysed against the background of the phylogenetic classification of seed plants.
The Seed Information Database, as well as being a vital internal resource, is delivered free to external scientists via the web. This has led to a number of collaborations with researchers in other institutes, which have led to significant publications; and large elements of the data-set are also shared with two functional trait consortia, ‘
’ and ’
Recent enhancements include two online tools, based on the data held in SID - seed viability calculations and UK Native Species Toolbox; and we collaborate with Sussex University (Prof Tim Flowers) to host their halophyte database (eHALOPH) via SID. An on-line data submission tool for external contributors to SID is at an advanced stage of development; and future plans include further tools for specific user-groups, and integration with Kew’s other Science and Horticulture Systems, as part of the organisation’s IT and Digital Media Strategy.
Project Partners and Collaborators
Germany The TRY database
Leda Traitbase (www.leda-traitbase.org), Groningen,
University of Kentucky
University of Sussex
All MSB Partner organisations
Annex 1: Information outputs (Word document)