Botanic Gardens support climate change research
With access to many species within a genus growing in one place, Botanic Gardens are able to study different responses of related plant species to climate change. For example, within the genus Cornus, most species avoid seasonal freezing of woody tissue by supercooling (water is cooled below freezing without solidifying), but there is a temperature below which this is no longer possible. Some species, like the Red Osier Dogwood, evolved to tolerate freezing way below this temperature (up to -269°C ). These plants do this by recruiting special proteins in the cells to help prevent drying out when ice forms externally, and so were able to expand their range northwards. Studies like these will help us to model shifts in species range in response to climate change. Botanic Garden staff also routinely identify species that used to grow well but no longer do, or those recently able to survive beyond the confines of the glasshouse due to less frequent frosts.