The Idea

We live in an era of rapid change, yet little is known about the evolutionary responses of wild plants to environmental perturbations. The resurrection approach is a powerful way to observe evolution in action in the wild, and provide insight into how plant populations evolve in response to stressors such as climate change and invasive species.

The Resurrection Approach

Dormant ancestors of known age (e.g. seeds from the Project Baseline collection) are reared in a common garden with the contemporary descendants collected from the same site to directly observe evolutionary change over time and examine how it differs across space.

Questions that can be addressed:

Sampling Strategies

Project Baseline collections are designed to maintain the genetic structure of populations within samples to be most useful to researchers utilizing the resurrection approach. Seeds are collected and stored separately by maternal plant from up to 200 individuals per population. After collection, seeds are cleaned and shipped to the USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation for long-term storage. In addition to the seeds collected by maternal plant, approximately 300 bulk seeds are collected from at least 30 random individuals for testing viability and the effects of long-term storage on genetic structure of samples at NCGRP.