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SHARJAH SEED BANK & HERBARIUM

Procedures

Internationally established guidelines and best practices and standards e.g., ENSCONET are followed from the collection to the storage of plant genetic material at Sharjah Seed Bank & Herbarium.

  • Planning for seed & Herbarium collection: Plan for exploring & monitoring target plant populations and for exact flowering, seeding and seed ripening times, documentation of localities of target plants
  • Seed collection: Assessing seed maturity, Seeds associated structures, and seed lots are collected and brought to the facility
  • Seed Cleaning: Seeds are separated from excess material and cleaned to the extent that all viable seed in a collection are retained
  • Seed counting & initial testing : Determination of seed number & weight; Active & base samples; Sub-samples for testing germination & viability; Storage behaviour; Short term storage prior to drying
  • Seed drying & preparation: Seeds are dried in a drying room at 15ºC & 15% RH. This prepares the seeds for cold storage. Dried seeds are sealed in a moisture-proof container
  • Seed storage: Dried seeds are stored at -18ºC in freezers/ cold room for long-term to maintain seed quality & viability.
  • Periodic Testing: Seeds are tested before and after storage to determine germination and viability; periodic testing as per the planning
  • Seed Regeneration: In future, plants established from seed can be used in research & restoration activities; Replenish the seed stock
  •  Herbarium collection: This includes herbarium voucher of the seed collected species and all species of UAE, especially rare and endangered species. The selected plant should be healthy and have both vegetative and reproductive organs.
  • Identification and labeling: Identification of plant specimens in the field or in the lab. A draft label is maintained from the field press to the end of drying each sample, which include information such as name, date and location of collection, size of plant, habitat type and etc.
  • Disinfestation and drying: In the case of the specimen has any insect or infected part, it is removed and disinfested. The drying of specimens by changing a wet sheet “Journal paper” with the dry ones as frequently as possible.
  • Mounting and storage: The dried specimen are mounted “attached” to the special herbarium sheet paper, stored in dry and low humidity place, and arranged in some specific order such as by regions or by families
  • Freezing and digitization: Freezing the herbarium sheets frequently in cold room “-18 ºC” to disinfect and sanitize them. Scanning herbarium sheets to protect specimens from over-handling and provides better tools charring the data of herbarium.
  • GIS & Remote sensing: An important tool, which include creating tracks for field trips, assigning the sites to be visited for seeds, herbarium and data collection. Used to classify habitat, produce species distribution maps, vegetation indices, correlating ecological data with the topographic features, climatic data etc.
  • Database: Seed, herbarium and other relevant information is recoded and stored in a database; Documentation at each stage of SSBH activity; Using information in field surveys & various research
  • Research : Seed biology of native species, and the influencing environmental factors for germination, Diversity and distribution of native plants, Micromorphology and systematics, Seed viability and storage behaviour, Morphological & genetic diversity analysis etc. Determining the impact of climate change on seed germination of rare & threatened species
  • Knowledge sharing & Awareness: Raise awareness on plant genetic resources conservation; Promote biodiversity conservation research and education; Publish research outcomes in scientific journals; sharing technical knowledge in various forum like conferences, seminars, meetings, workshops etc.