Edinburgh, Turkey: partners in plant science and conservation
Strong long-term bonds in plant science, horticulture and education have been recognised during a visit by the new Turkish Deputy Consul General to Scotland Mrs Demet Kayaoğlu to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
Welcomed by Regius Keeper Simon Milne MBE, Mrs Kayaoğlu was invited to a short tour of the research institute’s extensive Herbarium. There, Dr David Harris explained the fundamental importance of the three million preserved plant specimens it houses. Representing around two-thirds of the world’s flora, these specimens are held as a free resource for study and research purposes.
Of particular interest were specimens of plants from Turkey, both historic and contemporary, including some of those currently being studied by Ozan Senturk, a visiting PhD research student who is working within the RBGE Science division. His work on broom plants is a part of the Flora of Turkey project, a collaboration of more than 70 years between RBGE and Turkish botanists. It is currently the major work on the second edition of the Flora to understand the biodiversity in the country. Beyond this, Ozan is using cutting-edge DNA techniques at RBGE to understand how these important plants fit into the wider Mediterranean ecosystem and how many species there are worldwide. Ozan trains at RBGE as part of a collaboration with Ege University in Turkey.
The visit concluded with a walk around the Garden’s outdoor Living Collection, specifically taking in Turkish herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees of conservation status along the way. The occasion, reflected the Regius Keeper: “Reinforced an already strong botanical relationship spanning many decades.”
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