Science at the Garden
At the National Botanic Garden of Wales we aim:
To be a centre for integrated plant conservation at a local, national and international level
To develop into an internationally renowned centre for plant sciences and biodiversity research
Our science programme concentrates on two areas: what we can do for plants and what plants can do for us. We concentrate on research that helps to conserve the biodiversity of Wales and the rest of the UK and research that looks at the medicinal properties of plants and natural products.
We work in the Garden, in Waun Las National Nature Reserve and in threatened habitats throughout the UK. Biodiversity occurs at three levels, from genes, species to ecosystems – we work at all of these levels and are especially interested in the interactions between them.
- Barcode Wales: A cutting edge project to DNA barcode all of the native flowering plants of Wales and to use these barcodes for biodiversity conservation and to improve peoples’ lives.
- Welsh Rare Plants Project: Providing the scientific research required to conserve some of the most threatened plant species found in Wales.
- Waun Las Grasslands: Using our National Nature Reserve to investigate grassland management and restoration.
- Biodiversity Monitoring: Conducting and facilitating surveys of the biodiversity of Waun Las NNR is vital to inform our conservation management.
- Plants for Health: Looking at the medicinal properties of natural products, including tea and honey.
We have over 12,500 plant accessions within the botanic garden, including a developing collection of threatened Welsh plants, and a valuable mix of grassland habitats within Waun Las National Nature Reserve. Our science centre contains a molecular lab dedicated to DNA barcoding and plant conservation genetics research and we are developing our library, archives and herbarium.
We work with an enthusiastic team of students and volunteers who take forward our science programme. This includes PhD students, university placement researchers, undergraduates who work with us over the summer holidays and long-term volunteers who come in regularly each week. We supervise undergraduate and MSc projects and provide work-experience placements for all levels. In return for their hard work our students and volunteers are provided with a full training programme that we hope will help to develop the next generation of plant conservation scientists. Our approach is multi-disciplinary – as well as scientists our team includes software engineers and artists.
Collaboration is vital – we work with universities, research institutes, botanic gardens, plant conservation charities and government bodies to develop effective partnerships for biodiversity research.
For enquiries about our science programme, or if you would like to support our work, please contact:
Dr Natasha de Vere, Head of Conservation and Research
You can follow our latest science news on facebook, Science at the Garden of Wales.