The main focus of this lab is to develop seed germination and propagation protocols of native orchids and other species of conservation concern. There are many methods of micropropagation. Unlike tissue culture that produces clones or genetically identical copies from the parent material, this lab focuses on micropropagation from seeds or spores to produce genetically distinct individuals. Plants produced in this way are held for ex situ safeguarding within the Conservation Collection, rejuvenate the Fuqua Orchid Center’s living collection, or are returned to suitable in situ habitats.
This meticulous method involves growing plants aseptically on a nutrient-rich media with altered amounts of light, media augmentation, temperature, or relative humidity to measure its influence on metrics like percent germination, growth rate and performance. This is essential to create and optimize micropropagation protocols for rare and endangered species with little or no published protocols to support that species survival in the wild.