Dr. Christina Walters and Lisa Hill, National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation, Fort Collins

Because research has shown that seeds will last best when stored at a relative humidity(RH) of 15-25% it is important to understand how the initial RH will respond to temperature changes. In this video, Lisa Hill of the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins performs an experiment showing how the relative humidity in seeds changes when moved from room temperature into a freezer. She concludes that for optimal long term storage it is best to dry seeds to around 25% relative humidity before putting them into the freezer.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Alexandra Seglias (Denver Botanic Gardens)

Nicola Ripley (Betty Ford Alpine Gardens)

Brittany Roberts Marshall (Betty Ford Alpine Gardens)


Press 'cc' on video player to turn on subtitles. 

Alpine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change. The Denver Botanic Gardens are seeking to protect rare species from these regions, banking seeds from multiple Alpine populations by maternal line. However, collecting seed from these remote areas comes with multiple challenges. Seed production is dependent on the previous year's winter weather, there is a short window for flowering and seed setting, the phenology changes rapidly, and many sites are difficult to reach.
After gathering seed, researchers at Denver Botanic Gardens perform germination trials and grow seedlings to be reintroduced. Plants are also added to the living collections at Denver Botanic Garden and the Betty Ford Alpine Botanic Gardens to further preserve these rare species.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 21, 2020

Jose Faria, Lisa Hill, Christina Walters, Tree Seed Laboratory, Federal University of Lavras, Brazil, USDA-ARS, National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, United States

Quercus imbricaria is included in the red oak group (Lobatae) and is broadly distributed in the Midwestern US. The embryonic axes are about 1 mg dry mass and have 0.68 g H2O/g dw in the acorn. Their small size and considerable desiccation tolerance made them ideal to compare various approaches for cryopreservation. Drying over a stream of nitrogen gas for 120 min reduced axis water content to 0.15 g/g, with 55% survival following liquid nitrogen (LN) exposure. To test whether addition of cryoprotectants could improve survival, axes were bathed in Plant Vitrification Solution #2 (PVS2) for 5-60 min and tested for viability before and after LN exposure. Axes submitted to PVS2 treatments and exposed or not to LN attained survival of 100% (or close to) after two weeks of tissue culture. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was used to infer water freezing and melting patterns. In axes dried without PVS2, water melted at about 178 J/g H2O and melting transitions were not observed in axes dried to less than 0.34 g/g when standard methods of 10oC/min scanning rates were used. Using similar DSC methods, the water melting signal was no longer apparent in axes soaked in PVS2 for 45 minutes. To evaluate water melting behavior during fast cooling and warming, axes were plunged into LN and scanned at 300oC/min, revealing broad endothermic events between -120 to -40oC in axes that received no cryoprotectant, which we interpreted as crystal growth during warming. The enthalpy for melting transitions was reduced to about 70 J/g H2O, but there was no effect on the water content at which the melting signal was not detected. From our collective results, we suggest that PVS2 alters the rate of lethal ice crystal formation during rapid cooling and warming allowing for greater survival of axes exposed to LN.

Date Recorded: 
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Gayle Volk, USDA ARS National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation, United States

The USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System has over 30,000 clonally maintained accessions within its field, screenhouse, greenhouse, and tissue culture collections. These fruit, nut, tuber, and bulb crop collections are usually not duplicated at secondary locations and are vulnerable to bioticabiotic, and climatic threats. Only about 15% of the clonally maintained accessions are currently secured in long-term storage at the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP) in Fort Collins, Colorado. The labor required to cryopreserve the clonal collections at NLGRP exceeds that which is available, even when reliable, robust cryopreservation methods are available. We have sought to prioritize collection materials for cryopreservation and to identify methods that improve the efficiency of the shoot-tip cryopreservation procedure. In particular, we have used field-, screenhouse-, and growth-chamber harvested plant tissue as source material for shoot tip cryopreservation, rather than relying on in vitro grown cultures. This strategy has been particularly effective for garlic, citrus, and grape cryopreservation efforts. In addition, incorporation of antioxidants and shoot tip micrografting methods have made cryopreservation protocols widely applicable to diverse genetic resources for each crop.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dr. Jennifer Ramp Neale, Director of Research and Conservation, Denver Botanic Garden 

The primary objective of research at Denver Botanic Gardens is the conservation, preservation, and documentation of native Colorado flora by serving as an active center of biodiversity research for the Southern Rocky Mountain region. In order to fill a gap in botanical expertise in the region, the Gardens launched a conservation genetic program in 2009. Through an integrated approach we have assessed population genetic diversity levels and patterns in several endangered plant species. We are now expanding our skill set through staffing, collaboration, and student mentorship. Staying on top of current methodology while providing results to funding agencies in a timely manner has its challenges that we are working to address in creative ways.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Assistant Professor in Plant Evolutionary Biology - University of Colorado Denver, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Hi Everyone -

 The University of Colorado Denver is hiring a plant evolutionary biologist withiin the department of Integrative Biology. Several staff at Denver Botanic Gardens hold adjoint faculty status with the department and mentor graduate students through the University. This position will work closely with staff at Denver Botanic Gardens. Please share this posting with anyone in your network who may be interested.

Review of applications will begin 11/30/2019

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