2018 National Meeting

Joyce Maschinski, Center for Plant Conservation and Valerie Pence, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Crotalaria avonensis is an endangered legume endemic to Florida that produces few seeds. In vitro shoot cultures of multiple genotypes have been grown at CREW to provide genetic diversity for restoration and for tissue cryopreservation. These cultures harbor a bacterium, identified as Paenibacillus sp., which may be a natural endophyte in the species. The bacterium grows slowly and does not appear to inhibit the in vitro propagation of the species, but its effect on the recovery of shoot tips after the stress of cryopreservation was investigated. Samples banked using encapsulation vitrification and representing 63 genotypes were evaluated after 4 - 15 years in liquid nitrogen. The rate of recovery growth of samples with visible bacteria was significantly less than samples without bacteria. Similarly, when newly banked shoot tips of 15 genotypes were cryopreserved using an improved technique, droplet vitrification, and were recovered, the presence of antibiotic in the medium significantly increased the percent of shoot tips showing recovery growth. Whereas C. avonensis shoots can be propagated, rooted, and acclimatized in the presence of this bacterium, recovery after the stress of cryopreservation is reduced when the bacteria are present. An increasing number of plant species are being shown to have endophytes in the wild and removing such endophytes may not be possible or desirable in culture. These results with C. avonensis demonstrate the potential for controlling the negative effects of such microorganisms in vitro. This is one example of the particular challenges that may be presented in working with wild species and conserving endangered exceptional plants. Supported in part by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Anne Frances, NatureServe

The NatureServe Network comprises 80+ member programs in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Each member program has been “tracking” rare plants for over 30 years. Tracking entails surveying, mapping, monitoring, protecting, and assigning conservation statuses. As a network, NatureServe has standard methods and a shared data model to “roll-up” jurisdictional datasets into one central database. NatureServe maintains the central database, providing the taxonomic framework, exchanging data with each member program, and making changes to the data model as necessary. The consolidated central database allows NatureServe central to assign National and Global Ranks, as well as conduct Red List Assessments. This presentation will focus on lessons learned from network-wide data-sharing and explore current challenges and opportunities that result from new technology and increased access to data. We will discuss ways to share data among multiple networks for more effective and efficient plant conservation.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Christopher Dunn, Todd Bittner and Robert Wesley, Cornell Botanic Gardens

In situ conservation efforts for American globeflower (Trollius laxus) are ongoing within two Cornell Botanic Garden Natural Areas. A reintroduction program was initiated to augment the globeflower population and a total of 344 propagated plants have been successfully introduced with a 90-95% survival rate. The introduced population now surpasses the original population at the site, which has declined by during the same period 50%. Excessive shading is suspected as the causal factor for this population decline. Data collection on light intensity is underway to quantify the level of shading across the population, and will be used to inform future experimental canopy thinning to obtain 30-50% light availability.

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Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018
Contributing Author(s): 
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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Michael Way (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK), Clara Holmes (Greenbelt Native Plant Center, USA), and Sean Hoban (The Morton Arboretum)

In 2017, we established a ‘gap analysis working group’ to assess and report the availability and usefulness of online native seed collection data from seven leading online data sources in order to help native seed collectors optimise their targets for additional collections. Volunteers reviewed online data sources and responded to a standardised list of questions to capture their experience of the depth and functionality of the data source. To visualise our findings we transformed results to simple numerical scores and projected on a six-node radar graph within a draft report. In addition, we asked curators of the data sources to fact-check our conclusions. We recommend that collection holders cooperate to publish standardised collection data that can be discovered, mapped, and evaluated using online tools. This will require enhanced cooperation between curators of botanical names, herbarium and seed curators, together with quality communication with the users of seed collections amongst the research, conservation and ecological restoration community. We discuss several innovative solutions addressing these recommendations that include Creative Commons, generalizing longitude and latitude data for widespread dissemination, analysing user communities to develop better tools for collectors, elucidating Seed Transfer Zones, and engaging seed collectors in the development of additional tools to assist seed collections.

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dennis Whigham and Julianne McGuinness, North American Orchid Conservation Center

The North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC) was developed by the Smithsonian and the U.S. Botanic Garden to conserve the diversity of native orchids in the U.S. and Canada. NAOCC ecologically-based conservation model has three guiding principles: Preservation through seed and fungal banks, Propagation, Education. NAOCC has a growing network of public and private collaborators working to collect and store seeds of native orchids to further the understanding their ecology, preserve genetic diversity, and provide material for use in research that supports propagation and restoration efforts. NAOCC's collaborative model for orchid conservation is guiding a new project to develop best practices and storage protocols for orchid seeds and their fungal associates. To address the urgent need for evidence-based standardized procedures, NAOCC and a number of its collaborators will study storage practices, conduct germination tests, and develop protocols for each species. Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) took the lead on a grant application to the IMLS for funding for this project. NAOCC joins CBG, the New England Wild Flower Society, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Illinois College, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank, and the Naples Botanical Garden to conduct the first systematic analysis of its kind regarding seed storage practices for North American native orchid species.

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Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

Philip Gonsiska, Whitney Costner, Cheryl Peterson, Bok Tower Gardens

Warea amplexifolia (Clasping Warea) (Brassicaceae) is an annual endemic to sandhill habitat in the northern third of the Lake Wales Ridge in central Florida. It typically germinates between February and early May and flowers from August through October. The main threats to W. amplexifolia are development and lack of land management. In 2000, there were fewer than 20 populations; only ten small populations may still exist. The Rare Plant Conservation Program at Bok Tower Gardens monitors seven reintroduction/augmentation sites for this species. One of these is in a natural area that is part of Mountain Lake, a gated community immediately adjacent to the Gardens. Mountain Lake is the site of a naturally-occurring population, seeds from which have been used in five subsequent outplantings there between 2011 and 2017. The site received little management until 2016, when trees and brush were cleared, and part of the site was burned. In spring of 2017, 418 W. amplexifolia plants were added, along with plants of several other native associated species. Although this project is ongoing, preliminary qualitative comparisons with an introduction at Lake Louisa State Park suggest that W. amplexifolia is more successful when introduced into habitats that already have established canopy and groundcover. If these observations are supported by the data, this information will be used to guide future introduction efforts.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Rowan Blaik, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Has another institution already solved a plant dataset issue you currently face? Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) has written several small, modular computer scripts for use in managing and verifying plant collections records and plant checklist data. Instead of only sharing finished datasets, BBG is trialling the sharing of the tools and methodologies used to compile the data itself, using the GitHub code sharing platform. BBG has not previously made code available under open source licenses, and doing so will allow others to collaborate and make improvements to the scripts for the benefit of all. As this trial in ongoing, we would appreciate contributions and feedback from the community. In this presentation we will discuss some of the challenges encountered so far and the procedures and formatting for sharing code online.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Heather Schneider, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

In the fall of 2017, Dr. Heather Schneider from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden attended the Kew Millennium Seed Bank Partnership’s three-week Seed Conservation Techniques Training Course. The course brought together conservationists from all over the world to improve conservation seed banking practices used by MSB partners. The course covered a variety of topics from seed biology to field work to processing and storage. At the end of the course, students were encouraged to create an action plan for improving their own seed bank techniques at home. Dr. Schneider will discuss some lessons learned and changes implemented at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden resulting from this course.

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Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

David Remucal, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

We have been struggling with a propagation database. This has been of particular interest as our orchid conservation program has grown, we have needed a way to track individual maternal sources or populations from seed to potted plant as they go through different treatments and use different media. We began with an excel spreadsheet, but within a couple of years this spreadsheet has become an unwieldy monster. We need to move to a database that can handle our accessions, our inventory, and our propagation efforts, both orchid and non-orchid. We had originally tried to keep the database in-house. To that end, we worked with knowledgeable volunteers to develop an architecture for a database. We are now leaning towards using a pre-built product BUT the process of developing the framework for our own database was extremely informative and useful. It aided us not only in thinking about what we want in a database, but in many other ways, such as how we collect data, how we label our plants, and what we want to say with our data. It was a long process, but I feel we are much better equipped to find the right kind of database for our needs, or adjust the closest product we can find to suit our needs.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018