Collections and Systematics

How is plant diversity organized and how to best preserve it?

All studies related to evolution, ecology, biodiversity, or ecosystem services rely on the organization and definition of taxonomic groups: in essence this forms the universal currency of biodiversity. It is therefore imperative to not only have an accurate way of identifying these taxonomic groups but also to safeguard this diversity for the future by having an understanding and knowledge of their biological organization and classification. Without such an understanding, the foundations of empirical research on biodiversity and changes in biodiversity would have no meaning.

What are we aiming for?

Our focus lies on maintaining a high level of taxonomic identification of the living collections at Utrecht University Botanic Gardens as well as primary research and education on its taxonomic diversity by means of systematic studies. In addition, we aim at scientific publications towards disseminating our knowledge and expertise. Specifically, we engage in exploring the realization of genetic analyses of our living collections and in collaboration with others aim at safeguarding not only collections on an individual level, but also ensure viable genetic diversity for future references.

How can we apply our results?

Curating the living collections at Utrecht University Botanic Gardens and making them (digitally) available for the public will help in training both plant scientists and enthusiasts. Providing platforms for genetic validation of our collections amongst botanic gardens will ensure global safeguarding of the planets living heritage. And engaging in multi-disciplinary approaches towards unraveling patterns of taxonomic diversity can help understanding the world around us.