The Laboratory Network, created in 2002, encompasses the Laboratories on Structural Botany, Seeds and Molecular Biology in the same physical space, allowing a closer integration and an optimization of the equipment use. Close to the building of the Laboratory Network, there is the Systematic Botany with the Laboratories on algae growth and mycology. The laboratories at DIPEQ, along with the herbarium, are the places where all the scientific activity takes place.
Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology
During the last decades the biodiversity has been drastically reduced as a direct or indirect consequence of human activity. In that way, a huge part of the genetic variety, of economic and ecological importance for the humanity, has been lost. Although the exact number is unknown, it is a widespread knowledge that many species have already been extinct, while others have such a small populations that can be considered endangered on the long term.
One of the main goals of the conservationist approach is to study the genetics and its interaction with the ecological aspects of the taxon, for the long-term viability of populations and communities to be secured, even in legally protected areas.
Information on the variations and the genetic structure, while also important for the long-term survival of the endangered species, can help the reintroduction of the species in programs for the recovery of degraded regions, determine the size of the reserves and the preservation of genetic resources for future usage, thus avoiding to lose potentially good alleles. Since it is impossible to foresee which will be the genetic combination that will better adapt to the different habitats, it is important to maintain the more variety as possible, so that the species can evolve.
Phylogeny can play an important role on the evolutionary potential of species. Phylogenetic trees can be used to find out regions of exceptional endemism and conservation priorities, to identify factors that promote biodiversity and much more.
The phylogenetic trees based in DNA are being used because there are precise and trustworthy if compared to the ones only based in morphological aspects.
In our laboratory, we use molecular markers to evaluate the genetic structure and variation in several species. The techniques used are based in PCR, such as AFLP, ISSR and nuclear and chloroplastic SSRs.
Phylogenetic analyses and studies of the taxonomical complex have been conducted in our laboratory by means of molecular markers and DNA sequencing. Those studies not only help to analyze the inter-species variation, but also help to rebuild the evolutionary history of many species in the Brazilian flora, mainly from the Atlantic Forest.
Laboratory of Structural Botany
The Laboratory of Structural Botany has directed its investigation towards the understanding of the anatomy and ultra-structures of the Brazilian plant species. In this line, the research team contributes with the production of new information on the parts of the plant - the roots, the stem (including the wood), the leaves, the flowers, the fruit and the seeds - on the plants’ survival strategies on different biomes and on the intraspecific and ultraspecific variations that allow the use of anatomic and ultra-structural data to separate and identify taxa, generating indexed articles published in national and international scientific journals.
Furthermore, the Laboratory is responsible for the more than 50 thousand wood samples in the Botanical Garden’s xylotheque. The laboratory also develops studies in parternshps with researchers that are not experts in anatomy and ultra-structure.
Another contribution of the Laboratory of Structural Botany is the training of highly qualified human resources on the research developments in the areas of plant anatomy and ultra-structure, teaching students from undergraduate research until the post-graduate education programs.
Algae Growth Laboratory
The Algae Laboratory holds the essential structure for research on the ecology and physiology of sea algae and their taxonomy.
In the growth room, the algae are acclimated and the environmental factors are controlled so to understand the interactions between the alga and the environment.
The Laboratory also has a room to sort field material, a microscopy room with specialized book collection to help identify and quantify the algae, and many other equipment for the development of the research projects, (a remotely operated underwater vehicle – ROV, underwater diving equipment, underwater image acquiring systems, underwater radiance and temperature measuring devices, lab equipment).
At this laboratory, many basic and applied investigations are conducted, subsidizing the knowledge on marine biodiversity and its functioning. Thus, they provide essential information for conservation units, marine ecosystems management plans, and generate new technologies (example: selections of new lineages and production techniques in algaeculture, the discovery and use of marine natural products).
Researcher in charge:
Renata Perpetuo Reis
Gilberto Menezes Amado Filho
Leonardo Tavares Salgado
Marcia Figueiredo Creed
Plant Health Laboratory
Plant Health Laboratory
Plant Health Laboratory
The Plant Health laboratory has technical and instrumental capabilities to develop research on the field of plant health in urban areas, focusing in urban forest entomology, invertebrate community ecology in urban areas and alternative disease and pests control, being responsible to monitor the health of the Garden's living collection, including diagnosis, management and plant health treatment activities.
Most of the biotechnological processes used commercially or for the transformation of substrata in products of a higher aggregate value, use microbe lineages. The microorganisms are used to synthesize many substances of industrial interest, in the environmental bioremediation, and have an important role in the biogeochemical cycles. They also influence in species diversification, are important plant pathogens and man have therapeutic or nutritional properties. Thus, the study of the taxonomic and functional diversity of the microorganisms in natural or degraded areas is of prime importance, mainly in diverse countries such as Brazil.
The biological collections are essential tools for the management and conservation of the biodiversity, aggregating in small spaces important information on the organisms.
In this context, fungi collection in herbariums, laboratories designed for mycological research, and fungi culture are important, since they are aimed at keeping and maintain those organisms for basic and applied studies.
Opened in 2009, the Mycology Laboratory of the Research Institute of the Botanical Garden is part of the Lab Network of the Research Direction (DIPEQ – acronym in Portuguese).
The main goal is to perform studies on fungi in plants of conservationist interst in natural or degrade area; to perform its processing through isolation, identification and storage techniques with three different methods while also preserving, whenever possible, herbarium samples.
The preservation methods used in the laboratory are the Castellani (distilled water), periodic pricking out (subcultures) and freeze-drying.
Other units involved
• Herbarium of the Research Institute of the Botanical Garden;
• National School of Tropical Botanic;
• Laboratory of Plant Diversity, Taxonomy and Phylogeny of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro;
Researcher in Charge: Anibal Alves de Carvalho Junior
The seed laboratory has the technical capacty to develop investigations in seed conservation and ecophysiology, seeds and seedlings morphology and analysis of plant growth, being also responsible for the daily activities of harvesting the seeds of native and exotic species.
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