A combination of biological and computing expertise at the University of Abertay Dundee is helping an international rain forest conservation programme. The university is working with the Forest Institute of Malaysia in a bid to conserve rain forest seeds. But rain forest trees have very unpredictable flowering patterns, unlike trees in temperate or cold regions, making it difficult to know when seeds can be collected.
Harry Staines of UAD's school of computing now hopes to help through bioinformatics, using computing and information technology to solve biological problems. Marzalina Mansor, head of the Malaysian institute's seed technology unit, has collated data from local records on changes in flowering and seed development in relation to environmental conditions such as rainfall. Dr Staines and Dr Mansor will assess the use of statistics in finding out more about flowering patterns to help plan costly seed collection expeditions.