BioTECH Student Research: Orchids

Seed Morphometry

Orchids are among the smallest seeds produced by flowering plants. Seed size, shape, and structural qualities can tell us a lot about how they are dispersed. 

Fairchild Researcher: Jason Downing, Ph.D.
Project Resources: Master Data Sheet, Seed morphometry of epiphytic orchidsSeed morphology of tropical and temperate orchid species, Student Fact Sheet, Student PPT, Drive
Collaborators: North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC)
Location: Hsiao Imaging Lab / Seed Lab

Seed Banking

Million Orchid Project student-supported research includes designing and testing methods for native orchid seed banking efforts.

Fairchild Researcher: Jason Downing, Ph.D
Project Resources: Data Sheet, Viability testing of orchid seeds, master data sheet, Student Project Abstract, Student PPT, Drive
LocationHsiao Imaging Lab / Seed Lab 

Students support the metagenomic sequencing of several Vanilla orchid species using next-generation bioinformatics. This work will contribute to ongoing conservation efforts for wild vanilla species in Florida by comparing different species’ genomes.

Researcher: Jason Downing, Ph.D., Nichole Tiernan, Ph.D.
Community collaborators: Alan Chambers, Ph.D., University of Florida: Tropical Research and Education Center
Project Resources: Protocols, Data Sheet, Drive , Cyverse
Location: Dimare Science Village 


 Bioreactors create an efficient nutrient delivery system where the plantlets are temporarily immersed in a liquid medium containing plant nutrients. This technique provides more even nutrient uptake and can reduce damage from over-wetting or drying of the roots. These student created sterile growth vessels composed of two chambers; a growth chamber and a media chamber. Plants are grown in the culture chamber and the plant nutrients are in the media chamber. The two chambers are separated by drain holes that allow for immersion (feeding and watering) and ventilation (drying).

Fairchild Researcher: Jason Downing, Ph.D., Nichole Tiernan, Ph.D.
Project Resources: Protocols, Data Sheet, Drive ,
Location: Dimare Science Village