The University of Pavia is one of the world’s oldest academic institutions: it was founded in 1361. Today, 24,000 students, from both Italy and overseas, study at our University. The University of Pavia covers all subject areas and is composed of 18 Departments offering study programmes at all levels, from Bachelor’s degrees to PhD programmes. The Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e dell’Ambiente (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) is a highly specialised research unit in Earth Science, Botany, Ecology, Mycology and Zoology. The Department is a teaching reference for several Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at the University of Pavia, such as Geology, Natural Sciences and Biology, and it runs a PhD programme in Earth and Environmental Sciences. The Department is also a scientific reference for private and public bodies interested in land management, biodiversity conservation, and research of natural and cultural resources.
DSTA hosts a Plant Germplasm Bank (GBUP, Banca del Germoplasma Vegetale dell’Università di Pavia), which aims to conserve seeds of species with environmental and agronomic interest. Its main mission is the long-term ex situ conservation of useful plants (mainly) from northern Italy, such as wild species with food and/or medicinal interests, crop wild relatives (CWR) and landraces, thereby contributing to safeguarding them from extinction. The seed bank is equipped with modern facilities, which follow the latest international standards (i.e. Ensconet, ISTA), including a drying room (15%RH, 15°C), a cold store (deep freezers at -18°C) and a curation lab with germination, seed cleaning and herbarium sections. It is frequently being improved and expanded, and thus represents a state-of-the-art research centre for anybody interested in seed and plant ecology. Evidence of its work is documented by several scientific publications in high-impact peer reviewed journals and European and worldwide research and conservation projects [e.g. ENSCONET (https://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0683/), NASSTEC (http://nasstec.eu/en/home), GLORIA (http://www.gloria.ac.at/europe/].