- Evolutionary ecology research
- Horticultural research
- Plant diversity research
- Plant pathology research
- Herbarium & resources
- NSW Herbarium
- Plant databases
- Australian PlantBank
- Art and illustration
- Plant Identification & Botanical Information Service
- Plant Disease Diagnostic Service
- Forensic Services
- Science staff
- Amalie Dietrich project
- Scientific publications
The Australian PlantBank will be positioned as a world leader in conservation research and education on Australian plant species.
PlantBank is comprised of three key elements - a secure repository for Australian plant species, a research facility and a centre of information and innovative education.
A secure repository for Australian plant species
The NSW Seedbank is a unique reference collection, playing an important role in international Seedbank collaborations and global conservation targets. The NSW Seedbank currently holds almost 10,000 seed collections from across Australia, including 40% of NSW seed-bearing plants and 35% of NSW threatened plant species. The existing facilities are at capacity.
With investment in new facilities, the NSW Seedbank will become one of the largest native seedbanks in the world, and one of the most significant scientific reference centres pertaining to native seed information and research in eastern Australia and south-east Asia. The conservation potential from this expanded collection is significant, as is its contribution to the research capability of the Trust and its partners.
PlantBank will facilitate the continued collection and sustained use of seeds to enable the restoration of degraded ecosystems and the preservation of threatened plant species. Over the next 25 years the NSW Seedbank seeks to store 100% of NSW seed bearing species. Existing specimens will also be re-sampled to record genetic changes imposed by climate change and other threatening processes. New facilities at PlantBank will provide sufficient storage capacity for collection expansion through to 2040.
The NSW Seedbank is an invaluable collection for researchers and restoration ecologists world-wide. It is the foundation upon which all other research, educational and interpretative activities at PlantBank will be based.
Through the co-location of research teams, PlantBank will also create additional storage space for expansion of the New South Wales Herbarium. This important reference collection is comprised of 1.2 million preserved plant specimens and is expanding by approximately 10,000 specimens per year. Additional storage space will facilitate at least a further 10 to 20 years of capacity for the collection.
A world leading research facility
PlantBank will incorporate modern world class research laboratories specialising in tissue culture, seed biology, plant physiology, molecular science and microscopy. The buildings design will incorporate climate controlled glasshouse infrastructure and specialised teaching laboratories.
Horticulture, ecology and ecophysiology research teams will study species at the micro and macroscopic levels to inform vegetation management. Research output will integrate with research collaborators such as the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network to provide enhanced data modelling of threats to terrestrial ecosystems in New South Wales and Australia.
PlantBank will significantly enhance the Trust’s research capability, establishing new links and growing existing collaborations with the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust including universities and other national and international research institutions. The facility will be a national hub for plant conservation science and education.
A centre for information and innovative education
The Trust enjoys close association with the State’s universities as well as national and international research institutions. The programs and outputs of PlantBank will establish the facility as a renowned centre of learning about New South Wales ecosystems.
PlantBank will be located in the centre of a strong educational precinct and will operate in partnership with local universities to provide stimulating higher education experiences for domestic and international students. The Trust will strengthen its strategic partnerships with the universities in the Sydney basin to develop an undergraduate degree in natural and managed ecosystems and postgraduate programs targeting specific high risk zones and areas that are most vulnerable to climatic change, as well as agricultural programs. PlantBank will deliver a range of educational and vocational activities targeted at K-12, community groups and TAFE. Mentoring through postgraduate studies and internship programs will provide additional training and career development in plant related fields.
Community education and information resources
PlantBank is conceived as a hub of information and a place to inspire, challenge and educate adults and children alike about the importance of plants and their role through visual and touch-based learning.
Community research projects will be developed to allow real world participation in science and education programs and facilities, including ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ teaching laboratories designed to engage users at all age levels, background and mobility.
PlantBank will have a significant impact on sections of the community that do not normally interact with scientific institutions. Visitors will engage with scientists through large viewing windows showing scientists at work, and opportunities will be available to take behind the scenes tours and participate in field-based research.
Scientific information will be globally accessible to the public through social networking sites on the web, adding to existing services like PlantNET, and involvement in the Atlas of Living Australia. On a regional scale, the NSW Seedbank plays an important role within the nationally distributed seed collection that makes up the Australian seed bank. As the only large-scale conservation seed bank in eastern Australia, it will showcase best practice seed handling and storage techniques and is strategically placed to offer support and build capacity in the fields of plant conservation in the Asia Pacific region. Potential also exists for it to provide back-up facilities or as a secondary repository for other seed banks.
PlantBank is expected to facilitate approximately 30 additional requests to access plant collections by national and international researchers and community conservation groups each year. Research findings through peer-reviewed scientific articles will also increase, and collaborative projects will take place across virtual networks with information distributed online.
The outcomes of PlantBank are focussed on delivering advice to Government across a range of priority areas. PlantBank is also an integral component of the Trust’s contribution to the targets under the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. PlantBank will ensure policy and critical climate change decisions continue to be informed by robust scientific research.