National Botanic Garden of Wales
Last updated: 03 May 2011
In this week's Science Cafe Adam Walton visits the National Botanic Garden in Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, to hear about the science going on behind the scenes.
Broadcast Tuesday 3rd May at 7 pm.
Adam's guide is Dr Natasha De Vere, the Garden's Head Of Conservation & Research. Natasha takes Adam to the Garden's science laboratory to meet Charlie Long who is one of the scientists who is working on Barcode Wales, which is creating a unique DNA barcode - a molecular identification system for each of the 1143 native flowering plants in Wales. The data from the project could be used for biodiversity work and to identify plants in forensic investigations.
We also hear about the Herbarium, a unique set of British pressed flowers from the Victorian era, which is providing vital information, including DNA samples for the Garden's scientific work. The specimens were gathered by botanist James Cosmo Melvill, and donated to the National Botanic Garden.
Natasha takes Adam into the Great Glasshouse, which was designed by Lord Norman Foster, who also designed the "Gherkin" in London. The Great Glasshouse is the largest single span glasshouse in the world and houses a vast array of plants.
We also hear about conservation genetics from Sarah Trinder who is working with some of the most endangered species in Wales, including Sorbus Leyana which is found near Merthyr Tydfil.
Natasha also introdces us to Bruce Langridge who is the Garden's interpretation officer, who describes a mosaic that explains to visitors the range of flora and fauna to be found on the site, plus illustrating the scientific work being done. The mosaic was produced by community groups across Wales.
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