The scientific program of this workshop will place seed longevity into a conservation context: ex situ conservation of genetic resources through in situ conservation of wild habitat. The role of seeds in conservation efforts is often marginalized or understated as simply a ‘means to an end.’ Yet, seed longevity is often the basis of successful conservation efforts because it underpins successful stand re-establishment after disturbance, efficient maintenance of crop diversity, and effective management decisions for commercial seed lots. Seed longevity is a complex trait, in which the environment of growth, harvest, processing and storage may interact in unpredictable ways with inherent seed traits. The longevity phenotype itself is difficult to measure as it encompasses both potential and risk, both of which can only be realized in the future.
“This workshop” is the 2nd Seed Longevity Workshop, at Ft Collins, Colorado, 30 July – 1 August 2018. Looks unmissable. I particularly like this bit from the programme:
Time will be reserved in each late afternoon for discussion of current and potentially controversial issues over refreshments:
- Using accelerated conditions to forecast longevity; we do it for food and drugs, why not seeds? (led by Olivier Leprince and Julia Buitink, INRA France)
- Improving seed banking best practices and standards (led by Fiona Hay, Aarhus Univ, Denmark)
- What about seeds that don’t fit the longevity models? – intermediate/recalcitrant and exceptional (sensu Pence) seed paradigms (leaders TBD)
I hadn’t heard of “exceptional” species, but it turns out it just means those which are troublesome to conserve as seeds, because either recalcitrant or just not very prolific.
Anyway, looks like a lot of cool people will be there.
Yeah, yeah, it’s been quiet here for the best part of a month. Work, you know. When you notice lack of action here, though, that doesn’t mean that I’m being completely idle. Not always, anyway. Check on Twitter and Facebook, if you dare, and you’ll see new stuff on a fairly regular basis, because that’s easier to do than a fully-fledged blog post. Anyway, what I’ll do here is a mega-Nibble hoovering up snippets from the past few weeks that I posted on social media but not here.
- Vegetable History 101.
- If you have a heirloom of one of the above to name, try this neural network approach.
- Just as long as the name doesn’t end up being racist.
- It’s too late for some German veggies. Though not, it seems, for German forests. What’s the difference?
- Not yet too late for Tanzanian wild veggies, but winter is coming. Maybe giving them cool names would help.
- And for some North American indigenous crops too, thanks to some committed people.
- And for beans in Mexico for that matter.
- Why all the above is important.
- And urgent.
- And this is the resulting problem if you ignore that lesson.
- You see, the Australians are on the case, with their bush tucker fixation.
- Mind you, it’s not all sweetness and light: the quinoa bubble bursts.
- Maybe we can make a game of this diversification lark. Oh, look, it seems we can.
- You can even breed for it.
- Wherein I pontificate about genebank data. Again.
- Maybe these guys will listen?
- These guys obviously did, and built a better peanut.
- Yeah, but can you see them from space?
- The cost of ending hunger. The cost of ensuring crop diversity conservation in genebanks seems, well, peanuts.
- The archaeology of gardens. Two of my favourite topics, combined. If only there was beer too. And peanuts.
- A banana is a banana is a banana. Not.
- All those bananas? You can help to map them.
- They’ll put them on Google Earth next, like Kew did for these beautiful natural areas, with all their crop wild relatives :)
- A Japanese agricultural encyclopaedia. Illustrated to boot.
- Or, for the more Euro-centric, food art at the Met…
- This cheese should probably be at the Met there too.
- And this weed strain may well soon be on sale in the gift shop.
- The sweet potato made it to Oceania on its own.
- Oh no it didn’t.
- On the other hand, livestock generally need to be accompanied.
- All the yeast belong China.
So last week’s Brainfood led with a paper mapping various abiotic stresses affecting rice in Africa, noting that the next step would be to mash up the results with germplasm provenances.
Well, I decided to do it myself. Here’s the distribution of “iron-rich soils” in Nigeria and potentially affected rice area (the paper’s Fig. 8b), the latter coming from the SPAM project we have alluded to before as a source of data on crop cultivation.
The yellow rings are African rice landraces, the red dots all rice landraces, both from Genesys. If you click on the map, you’ll see it much better, and notice that there’s not much rice germplasm from the more brownish areas, denoting rice cultivation areas with Fe-richer soils. Should these be targets for collecting? Kind of depends if landraces are still grown in those places, but it’s a start.