GGI Gardens

GGI-Gardens internship - Summer 2017

Posted February 2, 2017 - 1:52pm

Local genome-quality tissue collection and preservation in the greater metropolitan Washington, D.C. area

FAME, fortune, and genomics in Madagascar: Preserving a blueprint of hyperendemism in a biodiversity hotspot

Posted October 11, 2016 - 11:32am

Madagascar is one of the world’s “hottest” hotspots with a diverse and endemic biota that is increasingly threatened by habitat destruction. Dr. Laurence Dorr of the Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History’s Botany Department is the lead of a team of five researchers that received a GGI-SIBG (Global Genome Initiative-Smithsonian Institute of Biodiversity Genomics) award aiming to collect 50% of the Malagasy genera from the team’s collective expertise, including 37 families, 433 genera, and 3,056 species, many of which are endemic.

A Workflow to Preserve Genome-Quality Tissue Samples from Plants in Botanical Gardens and Arboreta

Posted September 21, 2016 - 11:07am

Morgan R. Gostel, Carol Kelloff, Kyle Wallick, and Vicki A. Funk (2016) A Workflow to Preserve Genome-Quality Tissue Samples From Plants in Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. Botanical Society of America. DOI:

An Interview with an Orchid Specialist.

The Global Genome Initiative’s-Gardens team spent the cooler months of January, February, and March within the expansive, climate-controlled confines of the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouses in Suitland, Maryland. We worked primarily with facilities manager, Vickie DiBella; horticulturalist, Matthew Fleming; and orchid collection specialist, Tom Mirenda. Our goal was to collect as...


GGI-Gardens Team at WorkGGI-Gardens Team at Work

The Global Genome Initiative (GGI) was founded with the goal of collecting and preserving genome-quality tissue samples from at least one species belonging to each family and 50% of the genera of species on Earth. For the diverse plant branch of the tree of life, GGI–Gardens was founded to collect and preserve these specimens from arboreta, botanic gardens, and greenhouses.

In January 2015 the GGI-Gardens established a collaboration to sample vascular plants from the mid-Atlantic region of the United States that included five partner gardens (Smithsonian Gardens and Department of Botany Greenhouse, US Botanic Garden, US National Arboretum and the USDA Germplasm Farm).

During a 10-week summer collection effort two interns and a Smithsonian staff member were able to collect 158 families, 450 genera and 754 species. Sampling followed plant phenology and standard herbarium practice and was practiced throughout the summer flowering season with priority given to flowering or fruiting individuals. Collections were vouchered (traditional herbarium specimens) and photographed and leaf material was preserved in both liquid nitrogen and silica gel.

Collecting is continuing in the greenhouses throughout winter 2015 and spring 2016. March-April 2016 will usher in a significant increase in the numbers collected and their diversity while spring plants come into bloom.

Even given its initial “pilot” scale, GGI-Gardens is a cost effective and high impact project. Furthermore, it can easily be scaled to international adoption by partner gardens. The GGI–Gardens program would not exist without it’s partners, who play a vital role in collections, strategic sampling goals, and expanding the global network of arboreta, gardens, and greenhouses. Living collections at botanic gardens around the world contain an incredible amount of plant diversity – let’s preserve it together!

2017 Summer GGI-Gardens Internship Opportunity


Preserving Earth's Plant Diversity

Green plants are one of the most diverse groups of life on Earth. Since the Egyptian Pharaohs started the world's first arboretum, the importance of preserving the diversity of plant life has been understood. Today, all across the world, green houses, arboretums, and seed banks are working to preserve plant diversity. GGI helps to take their missions to the next level with its project: GGI Gardens.

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