How would you illustrate the concept of a seedbank?

Seedbanks, like most scientific collections, can never be imaged in total. But if you need an illustration of this concept, what would you focus on? The building, its location, a curator, some machinery, a small subset of the collection, or some other aspect?

Fig. 3 in R. C. Johnson’s 2008 article Gene Banks Pay Big Dividends to Agriculture, the Environment, and Human Welfare in PLoS Biology, takes the “small subset” approach and hints at storage, metadata and retrieval as well as administration more generally.

The figure is – like all PLoS content – available under a CC BY license and can thus be reused in any way if properly cited. Several Wikipedias – including the Danish and Indonesian ones – have chosen to do so in order to illustrate articles pertaining to seedbanks and related subjects. They all use a copy of Johnson’s Fig. 3 – Seedbank.jpg on Wikimedia Commons, which is thus today’s Open Access File of the Day:

Any other suggestions for a non-text representation of a seedbank?

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12 Responses to How would you illustrate the concept of a seedbank?

  1. Pingback: How would you illustrate the concept of a seedbank? | AnnBot |

  2. Interesting question!

    If I could use a diagram, I would probably take a world map, put illustrations of species on it and make a flow chart. Arrows from each flower to a seed pack, having all seed packs in a row, then have them all come together in an illustration of the actual building, surrounded by key people.

    If I could only use one photo, I think the one above is an excellent one – but I might include a heap of seeds somewhere, to show what is in the packages.

    • In the infographic you sketch out in your first paragraph, I would tend to leave out the building (unless it is custom-built or otherwise remarkable) and perhaps also the people (unless they are well-known already, so that readers can relate to them) but add in some heaps of relevant seeds and possibly a hint at the low temperature.

      For the purpose of illustrating Wikipedia or similar articles, there certainly is no restriction to one photo – photos, simulations, animations, video and many other kinds of illustrations are possible, and an article may well have more than one of them.

      As for the above photo being excellent, I actually fail to see the purpose of the pen-like device in there – is it a barcode reader?

  3. Pingback: How would you illustrate the concept of a seedbank? | Plant Cell Biology |

  4. Pingback: How would you illustrate the concept of a seedbank? | Agricultural Biodiversity |

  5. The problem is that this photo does not give an impression of the very peculiar conditions inside a seed/genebank. For that you really need someone wearing a heavy jacket, as here: I would personally go for something like this, which highlights the important point that no seed/genebank can do it all:

  6. I saw the pen as symbol for administration/organisation. A barcode reader would make more sense though!

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