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Freezing Ascension's rare ferns for the future

Ed Jones has just spent a year working with Kew's Conservation Biotechnology team investigating different methods of conserving several of the threatened ferns unique to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.


The main objective of his project has been the development of a protocol for the cryopreservation of four endangered Ascension Island ferns.  Ascension is one of the UK's Overseas Territories (UKOTs) that was used by sailors in the 18th and 19th centuries as a staging post during long voyages. It lost much of its native vegetation as trees were felled for ship repairs and as land was cleared to grow crops.  By keeping these plants, many of which are near extinction or critically endangered, they can be preserved for future generations to enjoy and benefit from.  Find our more by visiting