Wednesday, April 29, 2009

China 2009 - 16

16 February 2009 - Kunming, Yunnan Province

This was the fanciest breakfast set-up I experienced during my visit to China. This buffet was stocked with a large variety of foods.

Plus there were chefs at different stations to make omelettes or other specialty items.

Oh, I finally found the picture of the hotel front. We stayed at the Expo Garden Hotel in Kunming. It was a very nice place.

This was Monday morning and the city's workers were commuting to jobs. In addition to bicycles and cars, there are a lot of commuters that use motorcycles and scooters.

We were back at the Kunming Institute of Botany early in the morning for some tours or meetings. Sean Graham and I had a tour of the Millenial Seed Bank Project. It's housed in a very modern facility.

I can't remember the name of our guide, but he gave us a very thorough and informative tour. The guy on the right is processing a voucher specimen - basically a pressed plant that will end up in a herbarium. That gives the identification of the plant from which seed was collected.

The doors at the far end of the room lead to a secure cold store room where the processed seed are kept.

This is a culture room - for seed germination, I think.

There is an area for educational display of fruits and seed in part of the facility. The seed collection is for native plants of China and the idea is to collect seed from every species for future conservation.

I don't know what plants these fruits are from, but the patterns they had in their storage containers were visually interesting to me.

Wow - love those winged fruits.

Seed is processed and cleaned in this area. The sieves are used to separate seed from fruit tissue and other non-seed detritus.

This is a storage area where seeds are awaiting processing.

Winged seeds - a personal favorite of mine.

Seed morphology is fascinating. There are so many adaptations for dispersal that it boggles the mind.

The water content is carefully monitored. I can't remember what the ideal percentage is, but it's highly regulated to ensure seed viability over a long period of time.

Packaging is also important. Sealed jars and vials are used for bulk storage.

Foil packets are used for small seed lots.

Compactor shelving is used for archiving the collections.

In addition to the seed bank, the facility hosts a state-of-the-art molecular technology center, which includes automated sequencers and genetic analyzers. Most of this equipment had not yet been put online as the labs were still under construction.

Once this facility goes online, it's going to be an amazingly productive place, I'm sure.

The bench space is amazing.

It has a nice gel room, too.

The next stop on the tour was the herbarium. I wish we would have had more time here because I would have like to have looked at the collections.

We stopped only long enough to take a quick look. It's very modern and seems to be a really topnotch collection.

This part of the herbarium is for the lichen collection.

I think this is Dr. Hua Peng, the curator of the collection. Maybe he is the director of the herbarium as well. Again, my memory is not so good on the details.

Fungi are usually stored in envelopes such as shown here.

Dr. Hua Peng's office had some interesting art on the wall. He collects artifacts that have lichen growth and makes artistic renderings from them.

I thought these were very beautiful and interesting to see.

After a quick tour of the lichens, we went upstairs to take a quick peek at the vascular plant collection. Before going into the collection, shoes are to be removed and you can borrow some slippers to wear.

Sean's checking out the size.

I guess if you work there, you'd want to have some very comfortable and fashionable slippers. The building was very cold, also, so warm ones would be a good idea, too.

Those are my feet. I have bunions.

We signed the guest book,

and then got a glimpse of the herbarium. It looks like a fantastic place to work. I wish there had been time to explore.

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