Hydra Seed Vault

Hydra Seed Vault


The Hydra Seed Vault is a global plan to protect and conserve crop diversity throughout the world. Located in Svalbard, Norway, the vault stores over one million diverse seed varieties. It was constructed to secure these precious seeds from natural catastrophes, wars, and other unexpected occurrences.

This part presents an overview of the Hydra Seed Vault, its purpose, and its relevance to global food security.

What is the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Seed Vault, located at the Veterans Memorial Park in Wyoming, is a secure facility. It holds over 3,100 species of plants, which are non-hybridized varieties. It is managed by the Global Alliance for Genetically Engineering Crops (GAGEC). A team from five U.S. institutions operate it, with scientists from around the world overseeing it.

These seeds are stored at -4°F (-20°C). Expertise from multiple fields such as botany, genetics, conservation biology, agronomy, and physiology are used by the primary researchers. Furthermore, security experts are there to ensure protection against disasters such as floods or earthquakes. They also manage the fire suppression systems. This way, they make sure the storage conditions and access to the vault remain intact.

The Benefits of the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Seed Vault is an open-access seed storage system. It provides secure and safe options for both home gardeners and commercial growers. It holds more than 1,000 varieties of seeds! Its key benefits are:

  • An understanding and appreciation for plants and access to more diverse, resilient varieties.
  • Maintaining regional genetic diversity by creating a repository of gene pools.
  • Improved germination rates due to temperature-controlled environment and regulation of oxygen levels and humidity.
  • Higher yields and quality, without compromising taste or nutrition.
  • Protection from weather fluctuations and crop pests such as fungus or disease outbreaks.

History of the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Seed Vault has a long past of safeguarding life-saving seeds. Established in 2011, Norway and the US funded the vault. To keep global crop diversity, it is situated deep inside a mountain in Svalbard. This is an Arctic archipelago close to Norway.

In this article, we will explore the history and importance of the Hydra Seed Vault for global food security.

Origins of the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Seed Vault, also known as the “Noah's Ark of Seeds“, was established in 2014. Its purpose is to save genetic material from numerous plant species around the world.

The vault is inside a man-made, underground room, protected by steel and rock walls. It was built to protect genes from climate change, environment changes, wars, and other disasters.

62 countries and Google's Alphabet Corporation fund the seed storage, making it one of two worldwide seed banks that collect both wild and domesticated plants.

The safe laboratory stores samples for people to study and use if needed to reintroduce native plants that were lost. Storage of these samples is free for those accepted into the program. This helps humanity understand more about plants and their evolution.

Expansion of the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Corporation founded the Hydra Seed Vault in 1986, the world's first seed bank. It became the premier seed collection in Europe, and a nonprofit organization. Its mission was to collect rare and heirloom seeds to give to horticulturists and farmers.

As technology improved, the mission changed. They now store endangered species too – like wild rices. This ensures that future generations have access to these genetic resources.

They have a network of 900 partner institutions with 2.3 million accessions of seeds. They make a wide range of genotypes available for breeding programs and research purposes. The Vault invests in new technologies like cryopreservation, which helps preserve species not possible with traditional drying methods.

Research enabled by the Hydra Seed Vault helps develop healthier living environments. It covers many fields such as:

  • Plant breeding
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Metabolomics
  • Data storage
  • AI systems
  • Insecticides & herbicides resistant crops

Features of the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Seed Vault is an organization that safeguards crop species' genetic diversity. It achieves this by making duplicate seed collections and storing them safely in underground vaults.

The Vault houses millions of different crop seeds and plants, and is equipped with advanced technologies and infrastructure to guarantee its security. It is also designed to withstand disasters and other unexpected events.

Let's delve further into the features of the Hydra Seed Vault:

Security Features

The Hydra Seed Vault offers innovative security for valuable seed collections. Our multi-layer approach prevents access, damage, tampering, and theft.

  • We use a ‘smart' lockset to protect from external attacks. It's RoHS certified and NEMA 250 Type 4X rated for outdoor protection.
  • We monitor the environment for humidity, temperature and air quality changes. All data is stored on redundant, secure cloud networks.
  • For physical security there are steel reinforced mesh walls with detection alarms and authority notification systems. Maximum protection against intruders is ensured.

Storage Capacity

The Hydra Seed Vault is designed to store up to 300 million seed samples. It's made up of two main elements – the vault and the seed lab.

The vault is built with steel and concrete, and it has 20 banks that can each store more than 20 million packets and books. It's monitored to keep the temperature and climate at the international standards set by the Millennium Seed Bank Project.

The seed lab is close to the vault. It has the necessary equipment for storage, subclassification, research, and backup genotyping. It also has pneumatic systems that move the seeds without any risk of human contamination.

To ensure the conditions stay stable for many generations, air filtration systems, extreme temperature protection protocols, multiple redundant power sources, and 24/7 security are in place.

Usage of the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Seed Vault is an important tool to secure the world's food supply and guard biodiversity and crop diversity. This article will explain the uses and advantages of the Vault. It was designed to be a backup solution for essential seed varieties. The benefits it provides are immense.

Types of Seeds Stored

The Hydra Seed Vault protects and preserves crop species used by humans. It's an online catalogue that stores and releases these crops for food security on Earth and in space.

Beans, corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, tomatoes, potatoes, and other veg species are all stored in the vault. Rare species, such as certain orchids and forest fruits, are also stored.

Organizations around the world are collecting crop samples from farmers' fields to conserve biodiversity. These seeds are stored in the Vault in case of disasters like famine or crop-threatening diseases. The Vault keeps seeds viable with controlled temperatures and an airtight freeze-dried environment. This way, extinct or unavailable species can still be available when needed.

How Seeds are Stored

The Hydra Seed Vault was made to keep genetic material from many species, including many crops that are used for food worldwide. The seeds, like maize, tomatoes, and beans, are held in a safe environment where they are protected from extreme heat, cold, and humidity. An inner chamber is locked with a cryogenic system so the contents are never exposed to the outside.

Before being stored, the seeds go through a process to check their quality. Moisture content is tested and their health is measured by germination testing. They must achieve 80% germination to be accepted.

The seeds are put in vacuum canisters with argon gas, to keep the ideal oxygen level and temperature. The canisters are sealed with a special coating to stop radiation from ultraviolet light or gamma rays from harming them over time.


The Hydra Seed Vault is a secure and accessible facility. It safeguards the world's most valuable biodiversity resources. It's mission successful: protecting endangered plant species and allowing for research and conservation.

A great opportunity it provides to preserve our planet's most essential plants. Securing them for future generations. So, the Hydra Seed Vault is a great way to protect biodiversity. And ensure our planet's precious species remain safe.

Summary of the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Seed Vault is an international facility, by the International Seed Exchange, used to store diverse agricultural crop varieties and rare plants from around the world. It's spread across 740 hectares and located at a depth of 700 meters in a mountain on Isla de Pascua, Chile.

The Vault has a three-layer system of 260 individual seed banks. Each bank has dual-purpose security systems for protection. The design uses renewable energy sources and an intelligent ventilation system for temperature control.

It generates research data about crop genetics and lets scientists access its database for research. Its mission is to preserve biodiversity and help fight food scarcity. It provides a safe haven for farmers who want to protect their crops against climate change or human-caused damage like war or natural disasters.

Future of the Hydra Seed Vault

The Hydra Seed Vault is of great importance for preserving plant biodiversity. It is vital for our environment and cultural heritage and its role in seed banking helps current research and long-term global food security objectives. But, its future is still uncertain.

To ensure this success continues, robust funding sources must be found. Governments, foundations, and other donors can invest in the vault’s facilities and personnel to further advance sustainable landscape management, biodiversity research and agricultural productivity.

Partnerships with groups across multiple countries must be formed to maintain an effective seed bank system that promotes global food security. Additionally, educating citizens on the Hydra Seed Vault will help them understand their role in protecting natural resources from threats such as climate change and species extinction.

By taking these steps, the future of the Hydra Seed Vault will be secured for many generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Hydra Seed Vault?

A: The Hydra Seed Vault is a state-of-the-art storage facility designed to preserve and protect the world's plant genetic resources.

Q: Why is seed preservation important?

A: Seed preservation ensures that genetic diversity is maintained, which is crucial for food security, biodiversity, and environmental conservation.

Q: Where is the Hydra Seed Vault located?

A: The Hydra Seed Vault is located in a remote area of Sweden, near the Arctic Circle.

Q: Who manages the Hydra Seed Vault?

A: The Hydra Seed Vault is managed by the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen) in collaboration with the Crop Trust and the Government of Sweden.

Q: How many seeds are stored in the Hydra Seed Vault?

A: As of 2021, the Hydra Seed Vault contains over a million seed samples from nearly every country in the world.

Q: Who can access the seeds stored in the Hydra Seed Vault?

A: The seeds stored in the Hydra Seed Vault are available to researchers, plant breeders, and other individuals or organizations engaged in conservation efforts. However, access is strictly controlled and limited to non-commercial use.

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