Plants are highly sophisticated creatures evolved to adapt to the environment. Through the centuries they developed skills to locate the Sun, sense chemicals, fight predators, maximize food opportunities, self replicate and move. The way they move is through seeds, tiny bodies containing the entire genetic information of the species. Depending on the dispersal strategies seeds developed their own morphology: some have hair, some wings, some parachutes; some plants act like catapults to shoot their seeds as far as possible, while others evolved to not open up until they sense enough moisture.
Unfortunately, there are only certain distances seeds can disperse and the dramatic changes in the past two centuries make it extremely difficult. Changing climate, rapid growth of cities, adaptive land use and the introduction of alien species – these are main reasons why plant seed dispersal strategies have become inefficient, and why plants die out one after another. As a result, today 60,000 to 100,000 species of plants are faced with the threat of extinction.
Seed Banks are institutions dedicated to stop the extinction process. Researchers collect, organize, research, conserve and regenerate seeds outside their native environment and ship them to original location in order to restore natural habitat. Even though there are multiple seed banks operating all around the world, biodiversity has a time limit.
“Seedarium” serves as a prototype for international seed banks; the building includes seed vaults and labs, temporary accommodation for local and travelling researchers, and educational and touristic facilities. It is located on Cape Solitude, South Rim in the Grand Canyon National Park, a favorite hiking destination, where the appearance of such a large scale project would attract a lot of attention and act as a reminder of the loss of biodiversity.
The location of each seed bank, including Seedarium, is selected carefully, based on climatic and geographic predictions, economic consistency, biodiversity hotspots and plant hardiness zones. Keeping in mind the impact of political conflicts and wars on the maintenance of collections, each bank is remote from cities, yet close to public flow in order to raise public awareness.