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Tracey Heatherington’s research featured in L&S News

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault

For the last few years, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault has been the focus of UWM anthropologist Tracey Heatherington’s research. She’s studying not only how people collaborate across the globe, but also science in the making.

At its most basic, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is like an underground refrigerator filled with boxes upon boxes of seeds. Although the public imagination has run wild with thoughts of regenerating the Earth’s food supply in the event of a global disaster, said Heatherington, the seed vault actually acts as a back-up system for other seed banks located around the world.

The seed vault at Svalbard is a small piece of a much bigger, global partnership that involves many other seed banks that actively conserve, regenerate and distribute the seed. Any country can send seeds to the back-up vault for storage so that, even if something happens to the major collections of seeds, there will always be a reserve sample. The Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international organization, facilitates a worldwide network of seed banks that are now working together to ensure conservation of genetic resources.

Read the entire story in “Studying the roots of the Seed Vault.”