Activities

 
 
 
Climate change effects on high-altitute vegetation
Paesaggio alpino
Two post-doc botanists are studying alterations in the relative numbers of plants on a few alpine peaks, and testing how changes in temperature modify the germination patterns of mountain plants. Preliminary data suggest that biodiversity is increasing in alpine peaks, however the flora is losing its uniqueness as cold-adapted species decline and warm-adapted species increase, a phenomenon called thermophilization. The emergence time of seedlings is also being significantly altered.
 
Ex situ conservation of endangered plant seeds

The germoplasm bank of Trentino stores the seeds of 83 native species that are especially worth being preserved. In a low-humidity, low-temperature environment, the seeds can remain vital for several centuries and, in some cases, even thousands of years. At the beginning of 2013, there were over four and a half million single seeds stored in the bank. These seeds represent a safety supply embodying the biodiversity in Trentino and can be used as a starting point to reinforce declining populations or reintroduce extinct plants.
 
Research on the ecology of germination and propagation of native plants

Due to specific selective pressures, wild plants seeds created strategies to delay their own germination relative to the development of their mother plant, thus earning a chance of germination in the following years. Several physiological mechanisms exist behind this phenomenon, called dormancy. Researchers are trying to find out which forcings and parameters prevent the seed from germinating in order to better understand the ecology of those species and therefore allow them to germinate in the lab and massively propagate in the nursery – a first step to reinforcement and reintroduction.