Seed Quality of Native Species - ecology, production & policy

International Conference

25-29 September 2017

Jodrell Laboratory Lecture Theatre,
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK

Keynote Speakers:


  1. Global perspective on seed quality for grassland restoration
  2. Field-based plant and seed ecology
  3. Seed characterisation - germination and storage
  4. Production
  5. Policy, certification and quality assurance

Local organisers: Prof Hugh W. Pritchard, Dr Louise Colville

Background information

NASSTEC (NAtive Seed Science, TEchnology and Conservation Initial Training Network) is a project under the EU FP7 People-Work Programme. NASSTEC has been training 11 Early Stage Researchers and 1 Experienced Researcher in native seed science, conservation and use, so that environmental mitigation and adaptation projects can have increased impact. Without immediate enhancement of capacity and capability in this specific area of biodiversity science, the native seed industry in Europe will fail to develop towards the multi-million dollar markets of the US and Australia. NASSTEC has been interconnecting the public and private sector through the establishment of a multidisciplinary European doctoral ‘school’ so as to integrate knowledge in plant ecology, genetics, molecular biology, taxonomy, ecology, conservation, seed biology, environmental science, agricultural botany, crop science, breeding and horticulture. This knowledge is being transferred to industry, thereby contributing to the EU bio-economy. This international conference provides an opportunity to share knowledge on all aspects of seed biology to the benefit of science, technology and industry, in Europe and beyond.


Monday 25 September 2017

Opening - International Conference

Tuesday 26 September 2017

  • 09.10 / Introduction to NASSTEC: Costantino Bonomi (Italy) / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 09.20 / Introduction to the science programme of NASSTEC: Hugh Pritchard (UK)

Session 1: Global perspective on seed quality for grassland restoration
Chairman: Dr Ken Thompson (UK)
Perspectives on the importance of seed quality in European grassland restoration would benefit from comparisons with programmes elsewhere in the world. This session consists of four key note presentations that will consider what is known about species responses in four ecogeographical zones within and beyond Europe. / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell.

Session 2: Field-based plant and seed ecology
Chairman: Dr Pietro Iannetta (UK)
The selection of species appropriate for mitigation projects requires an understanding of field based (in situ) plant performance, including plant functional traits, reproductive plant biology and seed ecology.  

  • 14.00 / Invited review: Prof Peter Poschlod (Germany)  How seed ecological studies help us to interpret field observations in species distribution and vegetation dynamics / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 14:30 / Cristina Blandino: Regeneration from seed in herbaceous understory of ancient woodlands of temperate Europe
  • 14.50Silvia Del Vecchio: Increasing the germination percentage of an endangered native orchid (Himantoglossum adriaticum) by pollen transfer and outbreeding between populations
  • 15.10 / Anna Bucharova: What fraction of seeds can we harvest from wild populations? Insight from a global database of plant demography
  • 15.30  / Discussion
  • 15.45 / Refreshments and poster session / Cambridge Cottage
  • 16:45 / Marion Lang - Intra-specific variation in fitness of threatened arable plants – implications for restoration and re-introduction in Bavaria / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 17.05 / Markus Wagner: Seed bank dynamics in restored grassland following the sowing of high- and low- diversity seed mixtures
  • 17.25 / Guillem Mas Cornet: Living Meadows. A restoration project using seeds from species-rich meadows in Catalonia (NE Spain)
  • 17.45 / Discussion
  • 18.00 / Close

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Session 3: Seed Characterisation
Chairman: Prof Peter Toorop
Understanding the inter- and intra-specific variabilities in native seed physiology (germination, storage and stress tolerance characteristics) are critical for the selection of seed lots that are fit-for-purpose regarding the specific environments for improvement.

  • 09.00 / Invited review:  Prof Costas Thanos (Greece) - Germination characters in European plants / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 09:30 / Lina Ahmed: Genetic diversity of perennial pasture grasses in the response to temperature during germination / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 09.50 / Jessamine Finch: Inter- and intraspecific variation in early life stages: defining germination tolerance range of a priority restoration genus (Asclepias)
  • 10.10 / Alexandra Seglias: Seed ecology of restoration-relevant forb species native to the southwest United States: phenology and climate influence inter- and intraspecific variation in germination
  • 10.30 / Discussion
  • 10.45 / Refreshments / Cambridge Cottage
  • 11.30 / Pietro Iannetta: The myxospermous seeds of shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa pastoris L.): mucilage expansion and potential to maintain plant growth under water-deficit
  • 11.50 / Malaka Wijayasinghe: Importance of seedling conversion on estimates of seed longevity in alpine plants
  • 12.10 / Maria Tudela-Isanta: Is germination niche limiting species occurrence on alpine habitats?
  • 12.30 / Discussion
  • 12.45 / Lunch / Choice of venues in the Gardens

Session 3: Seed Characterisation (continued)

  • 14.15 / Simon Pierce: Enzymatic scarification facilitates seed coat lignin degradation, water uptake and germination / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 14.35 / Simone Pedrini: Optimizing seed processing techniques to improve germination and sowability of native grasses for restoration: implications for temperate grassland ecosystems
  • 14.55 / Hugh Pritchard: Seed germination ecology of Conopodium majus across Europe
  • 15.15 / Discussion
  • 15.30 - 17.00 / Refreshments and poster session / Cambridge Cottage
  • 18.30 - 21.00 / Conference Dinner - places need to be booked / Cambridge Cottage

Thursday 28 September 2017

Session 4: Seed production
Chairman: Giles Laverack
Deployment of seed by the nascent industrial sector (SMEs) for native seed production requires greater knowledge on the means of improving seed quality (performance) and enhancing the conversion rate from seed to plant (increased efficiency). Such techniques are urgently needed to improve ecosystem service provision for the agriculture, horticulture, conservation and restoration industries.

  • 9.00 / Invited review: Donald MacIntyre (UK) - Native seed production and seed based restoration in the British Isles/ Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 09:30 / Trygve Aamlid: Establishment time and establishment methods for seed crops of Leuchantenum vulgare, Centaurea jacea, Achillea millefolium for wild flower seed mixtures  / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 9.50 / Gerhard Leubner-Metzger: Applying concepts and technologies of seed quality and seedling performance to support ecosystem services
  • 10.10 / Candido Galvez-Ramirez: Native seed production in Spain: advances and challenges
  • 10.30 / Discussion
  • 10.40 / Refreshments / Atrium, Jodrell
  • 11.10 / Maria Marin: Germination characteristics of Rhinanthus minor influence field emergence, competitiveness and potential use in restoration projects. / Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 11.30 / Stephanie Frischie: Seed farming potential of 27 native Mediterranean forbs
  • 11.50 / Richard Scott: Seeding yesterday and tomorrow. Landlife’s journey of creative conservation 1975-2016
  • 12.10 / Marcello De Vitis: A survey of the native seed industry in Europe to produce data for decision making
  • 12.30 / Philip Turvil: How to engage a million people with native plants
  • 12.40 / Discussion
  • 12.50 / Lunch / Choice of venues in the Gardens

Session 5: Policy, certification and quality assurance
Chairman: tbc
The interconnection between seed science and industry will only have maximum impact if progress is shared with and accepted by policy-makers and the public. But do the current fora, including outreach, enable rapid enough incorporation of findings on standards and certification into the policy framework?

  • 14.00 / Invited review:  Rob Fiegener (USA) - Policy, certification, and quality assurance for native seed/ Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 14.40 Holly Abbandonato: A bottom-up approach to native seed quality and certification: is EU policy fit-for-purpose?
  • 15.00 / Sandra Malaval: Vegetal collective trademark: The French standards for wild native seeds, plants and trees
  • 15.20 / Ted Chapman: Grow Wild and the UK Native Seed Hub – specifying, sourcing and quality-testing native seed for the UK’s biggest-ever wild flower campaign
  • 15.40 / Refreshments and poster session / Atrium, Jodrell
  • 16.10 / Invited review: Dr Ann Kareen Mainz & Markus Wieden (Germany) - Wild Seed Certification in conformity with VWW-Regiosaaten as an accredited example of quality assurance/ Lecture Theatre, Jodrell
  • 16.40Sara Oldfield: National seed strategy for rehabilitation and restoration – progress and prospects
  • 17.00 / Emma Ladouceur: Prioritizing for regeneration in ecological restoration; implications for species selection, decision-making and multinational policy
  • 17.20 / Kirsty Shaw: Botanic gardens: working together to improve the quality and volume of science-based ecological restoration
  • 17.40 / Discussion
  • 18.00 / Close

Friday 29 September 2017

8.00 - 20.00 / Site visit to the Millennium Seed Bank. 

  • Introduction to the work of Kew at the Wellcome Trust Millennium Building
  • Tour of the Millennium Seed Bank
  • Tour of the grounds of Wakehurst Place and the UK Seed Hub   

Places on coach need to be booked

Deadline for registration: 31.8.2017
Deadline for abstract submission: 31.7.2017