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Science & Conservation

Dustin Wolkis

Seed Bank Curator and Laboratory Manager

Seed Bank Curator and Laboratory Manager Dustin Wolkis is responsible for curating NTBGs seed bank and conducting seed conservation research. Dustin holds an MSc in Plant Biology and Conservation from Arizona State University and is currently pursuing a PhD degree at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, focused on changing the seed banking paradigm using Hawaiian lobeliads as a model system. Dustin is also Deputy Chair of the IUCN SSC Seed Conservation Specialist Group.

Volunteers, interns, and students are providing critical help with all aspects of the Seed Bank. Kupu Member Kelli Jones came to work with the Seed Bank after completing her BSc in Forensic Anthropology from Fort Worth, Texas. Kelli has helped with completing a full inventory of our holdings of over 16 million seeds most of which are rare and endangered Hawaiian plants. In addition Kelli is doing research to understand the potential of herbarium collections as a last seed resource to resurrect species at the brink of extinction.

The work of NTBG’s seed bank and lab to help conserve Hawaii’s rare plants for the future is regularly featured in the media. Browse some examples below and our own webpages for more information.

Inside The Hawaiian Seed Bank. Figuring Out How To Store The Rarest Seeds On Earth.

The Verge Photo Essay, June 2017.

The seed bank, on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, is housed alongside NTBG’s collection of 80,000…

Save The Ohia – Save The Birds.

Kauai Traveller Magazine, Fall 2019.

Hawaiians have always revered the yohiya lehua for its exquisite beauty. The beloved tree is a namesake for two lovers, who according to one legend…

Collecting Seeds to Save Hawaii’s Native Forest.

Nightingale, Journal Of Data Visualization Society, April 2020.

A fungus is killing the Islands’ most important tree, and conservationists and citizens alike are collecting seeds to save the species…

Keep Cool, Stay Dry And You May Live Long.

The Bulletin, NTBG, Autumn 2019.

In the summer of 1989 NTBG’s future Breadfruit Institute Director Dr. Diane Ragone collected seeds from the critically endangered papala (Charpentiera densiflora), at Kahanu Garden on Maui…

Seed Saver.

Scholastic SuperScience Earth Day 2020 Cool Stem Jobs, April 2020.

Seed Conservation And Storage Behavior In The Hawaiian Islands.

Samara, Kew Millennium Seed Bank Newsletter, 2017.

Our Collections

To learn more about our collections browse these pages. Some of our underlying databases are public. Access to the herbarium and library collections in the Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center for scientific or education purposes can be arranged. See contact information under each collection.

Public tours of NTBGs five gardens can be booked online. The Behind the Scenes tour, South Shore Kauai includes the nursery and botanical research center.

Our Areas of Focus

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