ASK about the species and sequencing.
CHAT in a 30 minute text chat with the species champion.
VOTE for a species to be sequenced for the first time ever!
1,890 (counted in 2010)
0.49 picogram of DNA per genome
A three-way split of plants, animals and fungi is thought to have happened 1576 +/- 88 million years ago
I should be sequenced because... I am hoping to discover more about my genetic diversity in the UK: perhaps this can explain why I am so endangered here
Tell us more...:
Some researchers think that one of the reasons that I am being endangered is my low level of genetic diversity, which could mean that I am less able to adapt to changes in my environment.
If my genome is sequenced and it is discovered that my genetic diversity is indeed low in the UK, one solution would be to introduce some more diverse plants from other locations in my native range.
European distribution of Corrigiola litoralis
(Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust)
One sentence about me... I depend on winter flooding to get rid of more competitive plant species and clear the shores of rivers and lakes for myself and other low growing annuals and perennials
Image: Plants for a Future
I have a complex relationship with my environment. Although I live near water I am actually not very tolerant to flooding. My seeds can germinate in water but my seedlings won’t survive in it for very long. So why do you think I live so close to rivers and lakes?
The reason is that I basically don’t like having taller plants around. I depend on winter flooding to get rid of more competitive plant species and clear the shores for myself and other low growing annuals and perennials. But if the water stays high after I germinate and does not go down, I drown.
If everything goes well and the waters recede enough when spring arrives, I thrive in the sunny, open spaces that remain. I love sunshine and do not like being shaded at all – even my seeds need light for germination.
Not only flooding can create these open shores for me: grazing by cattle can remove taller plants as well – or humans can help out, if there aren’t any cattle around. However, flooding during spring and summer can threaten my existence, as my plants do not tolerate water very well.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Sandy shore survivor
What's it like where you live?
I live near lakes and rivers and appear on open sandy/shaley shores after the winter floods
What's your favourite food?
Energy from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air, and nutrients and water from the soil
What's your family life like?
I am not entirely sure, some sources say I belong to the Caryophyllaceae whilst others are convinced I am part of the Molluginaceae!
Are you endangered or threatened by anything?
I am critically endangered in the UK, only surviving on the shore of Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve in South Devon
What's the best thing about you/interesting fact?
My life cycle is really fast: my seeds germinate after the winter floods and then my new plants produce fresh seeds before the waters rise again later in the year
The champion of this species is...
Anne Visscher, a career development fellow at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Anne is based at the site of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, where seed collections from over 30,000 different species are stored. Many of these collections are from plant species threatened with extinction, including Corrigiola litoralis.