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As part of the 4th Global Botanic Garden Congress in Dublin, Ireland (2010), six gardens (Fairylake BG, JBC, LNBG, MBC, NYBG, and Orto Botanico) convened a Cycad Collections in Botanic Gardens symposium highlighting their main research topics, cultivation, collections, and challenges. This talk summarizes the consensus produced from that symposium. Most public botanic gardens hold cycads as display plants in landscaping exhibits or glasshouses. Given specific circumstances of long generation times, limited number of taxa, small population sizes, and in situ conservation threats, these botanic garden cycads are an increasingly important resource. The focus and structure of collections are diverse: Some gardens hold comprehensive cycad collections for purposes of ex situ conservation and research; some hold comprehensive regional collections for general horticulture, taxonomy, and systematic research yet others hold comprehensive cycad DNA collections and data; and others hold historical collections of both old and new world cycads where cycad research is ongoing since the 19th century. Considering Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)’s successful Plant Search database system connecting researchers looking for material, it was suggested that a consortium be formed to share valuable information on the maintenance of collections, cultivation, research, educational programs as well as security problems peculiar to cycads. Close contact between gardens will encourage the exchange of material, information, and collaborative advances. We highlight here how research outcomes at these gardens benefit from integrating expertise, resources, and assets internationally. We also present a draft of the consortium mission. The invitation is open to other botanic gardens that hold cycad collections for research.
Keywords: conservation, in situ, living collections, ex situ
For a complete list of papers produced from cycad proceedings published by NYBG Press, click here.
Andrew Vovides was born in London, England in 1944. His parents, both Cypriots, emigrated to London in the mid- 1930s. His early education took place in London and he took engineering diplomas whilst working as an optical instruments engineer for a London based firm. He later took a position as a laboratory technician at the Botany department at Birkbeck College, London University. He obtained an Honors Botany Degree at the University of Wales, Cardiff and in 1975 he emigrated with his Mexican wife Victoria to Mexico, where he took up a research position at the lnstituto de Investigaciones Sobre Recursos Bioricos (IIREB) under Arturo Gomez-Pompa at Xalapa. His first project with Arturo was the foundation of the Jardin Bocinico Francisco Javier Clavijero, inaugurated on 17 February 1977. In 1978, Andrew had a three-month internship at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where he worked with the Deputy Curator of Living Collections, Ian Beyer, and his staff on the intricacies of running a botanic garden. Andrew was also a founding member and first secretary of the Mexican Association of Botanic Gardens. Andrew became interested in cycads when Arturo Gomez-Pompa invited him to collaborate with John Rces on the Florade Veracruz treatment for Zarniaceae. Andrew was becoming acquainted with Mexican cycads and studying for a Ph.D. on the biology of Mexican cycads at the Botany Dept. at Cardiff. During his course of graduate studies he built up the Mexican National Cycad Collection at the Garden and obtained his Ph.D. in 1988 at a time when IIREB was closed and the Garden passed under the administration of the present lnstituto de Ecologia, A.C. He served a one-year post-doctoral internship at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden with Knut Norstog working on aspects of cycad pollination. Andrew has held scientific positions as a research botanist, botanic garden director and curator at Instituto de Ecologia, and serves as a member IUCN Cycad Specialist Group. He has produced over 100 scientifi Andrew Peter Vovides's Author Page
Dennis William Stevenson holds a Ph.D. University of California, Davis 1975. He is Vice President for Laboratory Research at The New York Botanical Garden and Editor, Botanical Review. His expertise is in Cycads, Monocots, and Genomics. His major research interests in the past few years have focused upon the evolution and classification of the Cycadales (cycads) and their placement in seed plant phylogeny. He is conducting research on various facets of the biology of the Cycadales and Gnetales. These facets include reproductive biology, anatomy, cytology, molecular systematics, as well as taxonomic monographs and treatments of these groups for various floras being prepared for the neotropics. Another major research interest is the systematics of the monocots, particularly, the Commelinidae. The topics under investigation include developmental floral morphology, embryology, and inflorescence structure because this basic information is incomplete or unknown for many of these families. These data are being combined with gene sequence data to generate phylogenetic hypothesis on the origin and classification of the monocots. Dennis Wm. Stevenson's Author Page
M. Patrick Griffith was born in Korea, and lived many places as a child, noting the great differences in the shape of the land and the plants that grow on it. During his early years at the University of Texas at Austin, he began a career in plants, working, studying and receiving degrees in botany, biology, and administration in Austin (1998), Alpine (2000), Claremont (2005) and Miami (2008). Patrick has worked in leadership, living collections management, herbarium curation, rare plant survey, floristic inventory, laboratory research, and land management, for botanic gardens, universities, government, and private interests. If asked about his experience, Patrick would say he has "used most every botanic garden tool, from the shovel to the sequencer." Since 2005, he has led Montgomery Botanical Center as Executive Director. Patrick's academic activity has been in plant systematics and plant conservation, and is focused on living botanical collections, mainly palms and cycads. He has served on the IUCN Cycad Specialist Group since 2007, and has served as Co-Chair since 2013. M. Patrick Griffith's Author Page
Nan Li is the head of China National Cycad Conservation Center at Shenzhen Fairy Lake Botanical Garden. She is the president of both Cycad Society of China and Cycad Conservation Association of China. She has been the leading organizer in the development of National Cycad Conservation Center in Shenzhen, China, which has preserved not only all the cycad species distributing in China, but also abundant representatives around the world. She has created a cycad bonsai garden to show the gracious posture and tenacious vitality of the cycads, and has built a Cycad Fossil Museum to collect amazing cycad fossils of the Mesozoic from western Liaoning, China. She also implemented the pioneering reintroduction project of Cycas debaoensis, rescuing the extremely endangered species, and bred a great deal of endangered cycads. Nan Li's Author Page