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growing knowledge

Do plants have any good ideas that we can steal?

A new database developed by researchers in Trinity has amalgamated plant data from around the world.

OVER THE PAST number of years there has been growing concerns about protection of data.

Revelations about governments accessing information and the overarching reach of bodies like the NSA and GCHQ has created paranoia around online security.

But do you know who doesn’t mind having all their information pillaged?

Plants – that’s who.

Plant database

The COMPADRE database, a project put together by botanists at Trinity College Dublin, documents significant life events for almost 600 plant species across the globe. The research involved a collaborative effort with researchers across the world and spans a more than 40-year period.

It is hoped that by building such a comprehensive data source for plants, researchers will be better able to use them for research – something that it is hoped could potentially assist in a number of scientific areas.

The information used in the database will be compiled of information about plants’ life, death and reproduction.

The database will be free for individuals and members of the public to access internationally.

Daniel Harper / YouTube

Scientific advancement

It is hoped that scientists will be able to use the new resource to deal with problems relating to food conservation and environmental change.

On the new development, Professor of Zoology in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, Yvonne Buckley, said:

We hope that other scientists will use these data to answer questions such as why, unlike humans, some plants don’t deteriorate as they age, why some environments are better for agriculture than others, and how fast plant populations will move in response to climate change

A large part of the funding for the project was provided by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. The organisation has previously been involved in work relating to human population change, ageing and fertility.

The COMPADRE database can be accessed here. 

Read: A virus found in lakes could be literally changing the way people think

Also: Which tree is the most loveable one in Ireland? We’ll know by tomorrow

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