The Botanical Garden of the University of Padua, UNESCO site since 1997, is the oldest in the world. It has been established in 1545 under the name of Hortus Simplicium and it has maintained its original circular shape and location. The Botanical Garden of Padua plays a key role in the conservation of plant biodiversity: it maintains a wide range of species as living plants, important collections of particularly rare and/or threatened plants and a seed collection to provide plant material for scientific and educational purposes. A satellite garden has been opened to the public since September 2014. It hosts the Biodiversity Garden, represented by several new greenhouses that allow visitors to make a virtual journey through various biomes, ranging from tropical to sub-humid, temperate and arid climates. The new extension of the Botanical Garden has also spaces that can be used for didactics and scientific research. This represents an extension of the original mission of the Botanical Garden in a modern and updated surrounding. Among the main tasks there are the promotion and diffusion of knowledge of Botany: the strategic perspective is that of an integrated approach, namely the combination of science promotion activities (e.g. conferences, seminars and exhibitions dedicated to various aspects of botany and related fields) with a sustainable tourism management, by offering specific solutions to different target groups (e.g. schools, universities, experts, scientists and visitors).
A plant research laboratory at the interface between communication and exploitation
Research in plant science at UniPD is carried out in diverse departments of UniPD (mainly DiBio, DAFNAE and TESAF) by a significant number of scientists with expertise ranging from cell biology and biochemistry to plant genetics and agricultural studies. The plant scientists of the Department of Biology promote a project to make the Botanical Garden a hub fostering a series of novel fruitful and intense collaborations among all plant scientists within UniPD. The goal of this proposal is to outline a strategy for the further development of research that could fit the central role assumed by the Botanical Garden in the past few years for the communication activities of the University of Padova. Several research projects at UniPD are well integrated with Botanical Garden themes such as Plant conservation, Biodiversity, Sustainability. The research activities of DiBio plant scientists will be ideally placed at the Botanical Garden lab to reinforce and work in synergy with the general UniPD research and communication areas.