Montgomery Botanical Center, and its eight partners, will study and develop methods for effective conservation of U.S. living plants, piloting successful zoo strategies for use with plant collections. The project will address the need to 1) understand how effectively botanic gardens can conserve biodiversity and 2) coordinate management among isolated collections. The project will use current proven molecular tools to systematically compare genetic diversity between wild plant populations and corresponding living collections, among ten carefully selected species that will be used as predictive models for other collections. This project will improve conservation of genetic diversity in living plant collections, and will provide broadly usable guidelines for diverse plants to be used by a range of gardens and arboreta. Information will be disseminated through websites, tours, educational programming, conferences, publications, reports, and articles.