April 17, 2019

The Carpathian Research Network (CRN) is a scientific initiative aimed at establishing a comprehensive and long-lasting collaborative framework for studying the Carpathian biota with a focus on plants, their biogeography and evolution in the Carpathian Region, and sharing related scientific data in a standardized setting.

The network is coordinated by the Institute of Biological Research in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and unifies representative research centers of the Carpathian countries, including the Institute of Botany of the Polish Academy of Sciences, represented by our Group for which the Carpathian biogeography is one of the central research themes.

The network is further built by "A. Borza" Botanical Garden of the BabeČ™-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca), Plant Science and Biodiversity Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (Bratislava, Slovakia), Herbarium and Department of Botany of Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic), Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (Lviv, Ukraine), and University Joseph Fourier (Grenoble, France) – partner responsible for informatics background of the project. Most of these links rely on earlier long-term collaboration between our groups and we are looking forward for this new perspective of collaborative research.

The conceptual basis for the network was established in 2016 under the Carpathian Endemics Initiative and the network activity has now been formally launched on a basis of a three-year project entitled ‘Conserving the endemic flora of the Carpathian Region’. This project is coordinated by the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew (UK) that has received the funding for it from the Arcadia Foundation. The project is aiming to also contribute to the RBG Kew’s aim of safeguarding seeds from 25% of the world flora by 2020, in a network of seed banks through the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. Accordingly, although ultimately the scientific scope of the CRN should be larger, the initial scientific goals are focused on a comprehensive study of the vascular plants endemic to the Carpathians, as a model of choice for addressing pertinent aspects related to biodiversity, biogeography and evolution. Specific aims of the network within the Kew grant are: (i) developing the Carpathian Region’s (sub-)endemics distribution database; (ii) developing the website and online platform of the Network; (iii) assessing the extinction risk of the most vulnerable Carpathian (sub-)endemics; (iv) developing the first monograph covering the entire Carpathian Region’s endemic flora.

The official website of the CRN is currently under construction. Until it will become functional, you can find more related information on the ResearchGate project page.