New Seed for Noah's Plant Ark

Research Minister Schavan brings grain seeds to Spitsbergen

Ice cold treasure trove for crops © Global Crop Diversity Trust
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Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan handed over 17, 000 seed samples in 25 boxes for the "Garden of the Future" on a visit to the new seed bank "Seedvault" in Longyearbyen / Spitsbergen. The samples had previously been safeguarded and archived by German scientists in 115 countries around the world.

In the modern Noah's Ark for plant seeds, samples are stored at minus 18 degrees. This ensures that the most important crops will continue to be available to humans and that biodiversity will be preserved. This can be important, for example, in plant epidemics.

Wheat, beans, lentils

The plant seed delivered by Schavan is, among other things, the most diverse varieties of wheat, beans, lentils and barley. Germany invests 1.5 million euros annually in the seed bank. In total, 172 states will store seed in Spitsbergen.

Early warning system for the consequences of climate change

Spitsbergen was not just about plant seeds, it was also about climate change and renewable energies. "Spitsbergen is a highly sensitive and unique early-warning system for the impacts of climate change around the world, " said Schavan, reviewing her two-day trip to the Arctic. The Federal Minister of Research informed herself at the International Symposium on Climate Change and Research in Ny-Aalesund about the latest findings of the researchers.

"It will also be clear at this symposium how important the close collaboration of science, politics and industry is in seizing the enormous challenges of climate change as an opportunity. The development is going on faster than we think, "said Schavan in the face of a glacier near Ny-Aalesund, which until one and a half years ago was supposedly eternal ice and now releases large areas of earth. display

Schavan visits Arctic Station

The Federal Research Minister in Spitsbergen was accompanied by her Indian counterpart Kapil Sibal, with whom she visited the Arctic Station of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI) and the German-French research base AWIPEV. The AWI station is the world's northernmost German research base. Their research results directly benefit the subjects of biology, chemistry, geo and atmospheric physics. Extensive atmospheric and metereological observations are used to investigate the structure and changes of the various layers of the atmosphere.

Among other things, a daily weather balloon starts, which reports accurate readings up to a height of 35 kilometers every second to the weather stations. In total, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is investing more than 700 million euros in German polar research during the decade up to 2010.

Alliance for Renewable Energies

In the talks with her Norwegian counterpart Tora Aasland, Schavan also agreed to cooperate closely in the field of renewable energies. The first projects are to start here already next year. The President of the Helmholtz Association, J rgen Mlynek, will hold further talks in Norway in August, among other things.

(BMBF, 02.07.2008 - DLO)