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No Plants
No Future

85% of Australia's flora is found nowhere else on the planet. Discover what scientists are doing to protect our unique plants from disappearing in the wild forever in our podcast episode.

The Australian PlantBank located at the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan in Western Sydney is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. It holds seeds from many of the 25,000 or so plant species that grow in Australia with 57% of NSW threatened species stored safely within the incredible facility. It’s how seeds and other plant material are stored that is so fascinating and the focus of the fifth episode of Branch Out, No Plants No Future.

You’ll start off in the bush on a seed collecting expedition with Graeme Errington and then you’ll venture into the various labs at the Australian PlantBank with Dr Karen Sommerville for the complex storage process options. Scientists such as Graeme and Karen are experimenting with new ways to protect the future of plants (and all life that depends on them) using x-ray machines, growing parts of plants in agar jelly and storing material in liquid nitrogen. 

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Dr Karen Sommerville in the media

Dr Karen Sommerville features in a fantastic 30 minute interview on Eastside radio discussing the science and purpose of seedbanking, the history and function of the National Herbarium of NSW and conservation in general. Karen is also featured in a 2018 Science Week article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighting her seedbanking research for the Rainforest Conservation Project.