The theme for this year’s Biodiversity Day is “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health”. At DEEP, we are happy to contribute to sustaining biological diversity, aligning various aspects of our research to biodiversity and the planet. At DEEP we are focused on learning more about biodiversity, how we monitor it and how we preserve it, but also how it can be used to help solve challenges that we as humans face.

Photo: Mia Olvång.

Producing toxin-free water and crops

Access to clean water and food is a basic human right. At DEEP we’ve been looking into the capabilities of humble plants to help provide this. Maria Greger, Associate Professor and Head of Plant Metal Group, discovered a moss capable of removing arsenic from drinking water. Since the moss could also absorb arsenic from soil, it’s possible that it could be used in combination with food crops in areas polluted with heavy metals to produce food that is safe to eat.

In other work, Emeritus Professor Sylvia Lindberg combined the notion of making a Flax both toxin-free (with less cadmium) and increasing the amount of antioxidants it produces (may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals) using a form of bacteria.

Flower diversity helps in food production

We know that pollinators are important in food production. Research conducted by Professor Peter Hambäck revealed that apple growers should increase the amount of wildflowers around their apple orchards if they want to increase their harvest. Our work showed that more pollinators, such as bees and flower flies, were attracted to orchards with flowers – which increase the chance for pollination.

Seagrass, Food Security & Poverty

At DEEP, PhD student Benjamin Jones is investigating the role that seagrass meadows play in alleviating poverty. Seagrass meadows are known for their important role in providing food security and as an important fishing ground globally (a place for people to harvest or collect food when times are tough). His research hopes to reveal the biological drivers that contribute to this provision of food, for example what species of seagrass are better for fish or invertebrates to live in, but also what types of seagrass people like to go to when they are fishing.

Tip: Don’t be that person that’s plant blind

SPOILER alert, we have a study complementing the latest IPBES report that will be released soon that will reveal new insights into what plant blindess is, and why we should care more about the extinction of plants! Keep your eyes open on our tweet feed!

We hope this Biodiversity Day serves as a cure against plant blindness! We therefore hoped you payed a visit to Bergianska today, we had two researchers from DEEP who presented their exciting research on biodiversity!

#BiodiversityIsFood #BiodiversityIsHealth