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Botany Discipline Facilities

The Department of Botany hosts internationally significant living and archival plant collections and collection-based facilities together with state-of-the-art experimental and analytical laboratories for a wide range of plant and environmental science research. Staff and students also have full access to cutting edge microscopy (Tescan TIGER SEM and Tescan Mira II SEM), isotope (CF-IRMS for the analysis of H-C-N-O isotopes in organic matter) and elemental (LA-ICP-MS systems) analysis infrastructure within the School of Natural Sciences.  Further details of Botany Department and School facilities are below:

Trinity College Botanic Gardens

An historic multi-acre botanic garden at Trinity Hall, Dartry, Dublin 6 which supports botanical teaching and research in conservation biology, taxonomy, physiological ecology, pollination biology and plant response to climate change. The gardens provide living plant material, controlled growth environments, glasshouses and other experimental facilities for botanical research. The gardens were established at Dartry in 1966/67 following multiple moves since their origin as a Physic garden on Trinity’s main campus in 1687 for medical teaching. The gardens today house the Irish Rare and Threatened Plant Genebank, circa 5000 species in the living collections, four heated glasshouses, three unheated glasshouses, one poly-tunnel, walk-in controlled environment chambers, low temperature growth facilities, experimental plots including open top chambers, growing beds including systematic garden and arboretum, potting shed and ancillary facilities. Zoological facilities including research mesocosms and a bird house are also located within the gardens.

Trinity College Herbarium

The TCD herbarium contains c. 300,000 specimens of plants and algae in a custom build historical herbarium. The herbarium was established in 1840 but contains specimens dating back to between 1626 and 1728 (Threlkeld collection). It is the only herbarium in Ireland to contain significant holdings of non-Irish material; these are based around the huge collections of great historic importance amassed by Coulter, Harvey, Kerr and later workers. The herbarium's holdings are large and significant by international standards. It holds the biggest collection of algae in Ireland and one of the biggest of any University herbarium anywhere in the world. It is a significant resource in Irish terms - it contains an important part of the heritage of the country. Its collections and archives show, the very large contribution Irish based scientists have made and continue to make to the exploration and study of the floras globally, including in particular Thailand, Honduras, Europe and South Africa. The herbarium contains reference specimens which are essential to base-line study of the Irish, European and tropical vegetation and flora. It contains the only plant taxonomic teaching and research resource in Ireland and one of the few in Europe (plant taxonomy has, recently, been recognised as a priority research area in many European countries). Because of its international stature the herbarium attracts students and visitors to it both from Ireland and overseas.

Variable atmosphere and light lab (VAL) (coming soon)

Science Foundation Ireland and Trinity College Dublin funded state-of-the-art experimental plant science facility. The Variable atmosphere and light lab (VAL) consist of six walk-in experimentally controlled climate chambers with full control of light intensity and spectra, temperature, humidity, atmospheric composition and diurnal cycle. The CONVIRON PGC20 plant growth chambers are instrumented with infra-red phenotyping platform (Optris PI thermal imaging cameras), full solar spectrum LED lights (VALOYA DNA lights) and many other state-of-the-art environmental sensors and control systems. The VAL climatic chambers can simulate a weaker solar strength for deep time intervals, full sun and cloud dynamic effect of light spectrum and dynamic temperature and relative humidity and all in an elevated atmospheric CO2 (400 to 2000 ppm) environment. This is possible by the use of ARGUS climate controllers that simulate past solar, atmospheric and climatic conditions under dynamic field-like conditions.

Botany Molecular Laboratory

Is a state of the art genotyping and sequencing facility for plants and fungi. It has six thermal cyclers, biological safety and laminar flow cabinets, centrifuges, bead shaker/homogeniser, gas chromatograph, uv spectrophotometers, gel rigs, cryopreservation facilities, two fume hoods, microscopes, autoclave and standard laboratory equipment required by a molecular facility.

Palaeobiology Lab

The palaeoecology lab supports a variety of equipment and facilities to support field and lab based research. This includes a range of sediment coring equipment and inflatable boats; a cold room storage facility for sediment cores and a suite of laboratories. The labs include a dirty lab for subsampling and sediment description, a chemical lab with fume hood for sediment digestion and sample preparation and a microscope lab with a range of dissection and compound microscopes, a pollen reference collection and a small reference library.

Ecology Research Lab

The Ecology Research Lab contains a range of equipment for surveying and identifying plants, invertebrates and soils. This includes field surveying equipment, high quality binocular and light microscopes, identification guides, a fume hood for processing samples, and sample storage. In addition, desk space for post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers is available in this lab.

Eddy Covariance Tower and field site

The Plant Ecophysiology research group operates two eddy covariance towers, measuring the turbulent exchange of carbon, water and energy between raised bog and managed grassland ecosystems and the atmosphere. The towers are equipped with ancillary meteorological sensors and the research group also runs a laboratory based gas chromatograph which is used to measure other radiatively important greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. Other aspects of plant growth/development are assessed using portable gas analysis equipment, chlorophyll fluorescence systems and ceptometers.

Herbarium Scan Lab

Epson Expression 100000 XL high resolution digital scanner (custom-designed inverted scanner to allow the imaging of bulky and sensitive material without damage). Type and historical herbarium specimens are imaged following an established standard for quality and excellence. Resolution of up to 1200 dpi is possible, all images for uploading to Jstor are at the recommended 600 dpi. This resolution allows examination online of the specimen’s morphological characteristics with dissection microscope quality. Zebra S4M Barcode labeller. Specimens are labelled with barcode numbers generated by the software .e.g. TCD0017981. Specialised fire and pest proof storage cabinets for the optimum conditions for storage of Herbarium specimens. Dell computers with specialist database software, Penelope, to record data and Altova to convert Penelope data to standardised XML files to comply with Jstor requirements. Adobe photoshop Elements 12 for imaging.


Nikon Eclipse LV100 microscope fitted with a NIKON DS-Ri2 camera, Tescan TIGER SEM and Tescan Mira II SEM,  Filmetrics White Light Interferometer,  LA-ICP-MS, LA-ICP-OES

Centre for Environment Lab

Originally established in 1979 as the Environmental Sciences Unit, the Trinity Centre for the Environment (TCE) is currently housed in the Old Anatomy building, on the main TCD campus.  The purpose of the TCE is to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research and teaching in all aspects of the environment. A dedicated laboratory is supported by a Senior Technical Officer and houses an array of analytical equipment, including ICP-EM spectrophotometer, CN elemental analyser, TOC-TN analyser, ion chromatograph, 3-channel flow injection analyser, scanning fluorescence spectrophotometer, microwave digester, respirometer etc.