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IPY-OSC Francisco Fernandoy-46
APECS is an international and interdisciplinary organization for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, early faculty members, educators and others with interests in Polar Regions and the wider cryosphere. Our aims are to stimulate interdisciplinary and international research collaborations, and develop effective future leaders in polar research, education and outreach. We seek to achieve these aims by:
  • Facilitating international and interdisciplinary networking to share ideas and experiences and to develop new research directions and collaborations;
  • Providing opportunities for professional career development; and
  • Promoting education and outreach as an integral component of polar research and to stimulate future generations of polar researchers.

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The oldest plant ever to be regenerated has been grown from 32,000-year-old seeds—beating the previous recordholder by some 30,000 years. 

A Russian team discovered a seed cache of Silene stenophylla, a flowering plant native to Siberia, that had been buried by an Ice Age squirrel near the banks of the Kolyma River (map). Radiocarbon dating confirmed that the seeds were 32,000 years old.

The mature and immature seeds, which had been entirely encased in ice, were unearthed from 124 feet (38 meters) below the permafrost, surrounded by layers that included mammoth, bison, and woolly rhinoceros bones. The mature seeds had been damaged—perhaps by the squirrel itself, to prevent them from germinating in the burrow. But some of the immature seeds retained viable plant material.

The team extracted that tissue from the frozen seeds, placed it in vials, and successfully germinated the plants, according to a new study. The plants—identical to each other but with different flower shapes from modern S. stenophylla—grew, flowered, and, after a year, created seeds of their own.

"I can't see any intrinsic fault in the article," said botanist Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, who was not involved in the study. "Though it's such an extraordinary report that of course you'd want to repeat it." Raven is also head of National Geographic's Committee for Research and Exploration. 

Read the whole NG article 

The original article was published in PNAS

Featured Member

SannaMarkkula University of Helsinki; Finnish Environment Institute / Marine Research Centre; University Centre in Svalbard - Finland / Norway

My name is Sanna Majaneva, and I come from a small city called Imatra in the eastern border of Finland. Later on I moved to Helsinki to study Marine Biology and Geography at the University. After four years of basic studies in the "warm" coast of the brackish "sea", I needed the real sea, the real snow, and proper winter. I was accepted to write my Master's thesis on Arctic copepods at the University Centre in Svalbard. My planned half a year long Svalbard visit prolonged into several years, because I worked both as a nature guide and as a research assistant, but mainly for the reason that I fell in love with the white silence. 

My stay at Svalbard left a spark towards polar research and I somehow drifted to make doctoral thesis project in collaboration with the University Centre in Svalbard and the Finnish Environment Institute / Marine Research Centre. The main objective of my doctoral thesis is to gain information on ctenophore populations in the Northern Seas. The project studies the role and importance of ctenophores in the food webs and how different aspects of the changing climate could affect these communities. 

On my free time, I'm mostly in the out in the nature with a back bag and hiking boots, skies, kayak or dog sledge. The more I learn about this white nature, the more amazed I am, and therefore the Arctic issues have become extremely dear to me. 

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