OSSSU - Orchid Seed Science And Sustainable Use

I am highly motivated towards the conservation of nature both within and beyond my professional work, and am very fond of working with such apparently exotic and unusual species found within the Orchidaceae. In particular, I am interested in the specificity of their ecosystem requirements which makes them such a suitable indicator of a functioning ecosystem. My PhD studies (carried out at both the University of Jordan and at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK) gave me the opportunity to start to unravel unknown aspects of orchid ecology in terrestrial orchids native to temperate and Mediterranean (Jordan) ecosystems. The knowledge acquired during this study has encouraged me to delve deeper into understanding the ecology and in situ and ex situ conservation of Jordanian native species, and to more exotic species as well.

Part of my current job is to monitor species of other native Orchidaceae members under different threat levels in order to conserve them in situ in their natural habitats, and to collect seeds and conserve them ex situ in our local gene bank with duplicates held elsewhere. This is primarily at RBG Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex, UK, under a long-standing legal framework of an access and benefit sharing agreement between NCARE and RBG Kew.

Additionally, as part of NCARE’s mission on the conservation and sustainable use of both natural and agro-ecosystems, I am working on the conservation of the members of Orchidaceae and their role in these ecosystems, and in particular assessing the level of threat posed following the focus and priorities of conservation of NCARE in general and our Directorate of Biodiversity.

Most relevant to OSSSU is my work on collecting seeds of all Orchidaceae species native to Jordan and carrying out various preliminary tests to establish viability and germinability of the collected seeds.