Seed and Tissue Bank Programs

  • Just some of the staff and volunteers, as well as undergrad and grad student researchers, who contributed to the Acadia Seed Bank in 2017/2018.

  • Seed Bank Intern April Muirhead collecting seeds at Porter's Point, King's County, Nova Scotia 

  • After seeds are collected, Seed Collection Data Sheets must be filled out to document info on the species collected and the collection site.

  • The samples that are collected usually contain a lot of extraneous tissues that must be removed.

  • A big thank you is in order to our many volunteers, who spend hours cleaning the seed samples. 

    Volunteers Sheila Primett and Sara Weintraub shown here. 

  • Processed seed samples ready for storage.

  • Samples are removed from storage periodically, and tested to determine germination percentages.

  • Seed Bank intern Samuel Jean, assessing germination in large-leaved avens (Geum macrophyllum), a cousin of Geum peckii, an endangered Nova Scotia plant species.

  • In some cases seedlings are transferred to soil in pots for use by student or faculty researchers interested in a particular species. These particular seedlings are Rockrose (Crocanthemum canadense), a plant considered to be critically imperilled in Nova Scotia.

  • Ultimately some plants are transferred into the K.C.Irving Centre Research Gardens, the Harrriet Irving Botanical Gardens, or in a few cases, back to their natural habitat somewhere in Nova Scotia.  This image shows Eastern Mountain Avens (Geum peckii), being watered in the Irving Centre Research Gardens.

  • In some cases researchers apply sterile tissue culture techniques (micropropagation) to multiply plants. These are 5 species from the Acadian Forest region that have been propagated and maintained by tissue culture.

  • Former Environmental Science Honours student Sarah Fancy (ENVS 2017), examining the Geum peckii plantlets she cloned via tissue culture.

Acadia Seed Bank

Native plant species around the world are becoming increasingly threatened due to habitat loss, over exploitation, climate change, disease outbreaks, and competitive pressure from invasive species. There is also serious concern worldwide about the potential risks to food security due to over-reliance on relatively few cultivars of crop plants and the decline in biodiversity through loss of wild relatives. A key strategy in the global effort to conserve the biodiversity of plant species is the long term banking of seed in various types of cold storage facilities. Some of the largest seed banks include Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway (crop plants), and the Millennium Seed Bank in England (native plants). Canada currently maintains several seed bank/genetic resource facilities, but with an emphasis on agricultural crops, fruit crops, and forest trees.

The Acadia Seed Bank is focussed on conservation of native plants from within the Acadian Forest Region and its associated wetlands. To date, more than 75 native species have been collected, stored, and tested, including many rare and endangered species. Acadia students have been extensively involved in seed bank related activities, through volunteering, internships, and academic requirements for their degree programs. In addition, numerous staff and other volunteers, such as the Friends of the Acadian Forest Society, have been active in advancing the seed bank program over the past few years.


Seed Bank Procedures (click on image to enlarge)