5 U.S. Botanic Gardens Awarded Grants to Preserve Global Plant Biodiversity

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona

Washington – The Global Genome Initiative for Gardens (GGI-Gardens), Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), and the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) are pleased to announce 5 grants to U.S. botanic gardens and arboreta to collect and conserve plant diversity. The GGI-Gardens Awards Program supports activities to preserve Earth’s genomic biodiversity of plants through sampling of living collections maintained at botanic gardens around the world.

The recipients of the 2020/2021 GGI-Gardens Awards Program grants are: Atlanta Botanical Garden, Desert Botanical Garden, Montgomery Botanical Center, San Diego Botanic Garden, and The Huntington.

The awardees will collect genome-quality plant tissue samples from their living plant collections and preserve them in a network of publicly accessible biorepositories. Both dried and frozen samples will be preserved. Priority was given to awardees that can collect unique families and genera of vascular plants not yet represented in partner biorepositories.

“This is an exciting opportunity for botanic gardens and our partnership that comes at a critical time for biodiversity genomics.” says Dr. Morgan Gostel, Director of GGI-Gardens. “The collections that will result from this work will foster connections between the genomics community and botanic gardens in an important way and provide countless opportunities for collaboration at the cutting edge of conservation and research.”

“BGCI is thrilled to be able to support botanic gardens in their efforts to preserve and understand plant diversity,” adds Dr. Paul Smith, Secretary General of BGCI. “We are grateful for the collaboration with GGI-Gardens and the United States Botanic Garden, which enables the success of this program.”

This important collaboration will help ensure critical plant genomic information is preserved for future research, points out Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin, Executive Director of USBG.

“As plants across the globe face continued threats like climate change and loss of habitat, finding new ways to preserve plant diversity is key,” Chapotin explains.

A review committee of individuals representing BGCI-US, GGI-Gardens, and USBG evaluated applications from institutions located in 19 countries on institutional capacity, collection scope and genomic novelty, best practices, policies and biodiversity standards, efficiency, and broader conservation impacts.

The grants were made possible by GGI-Gardens and the USBG, and administered through BGCI’s Global Botanic Garden Fund. Grant recipients will carry out activities and finalise projects by the end of 2021.

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