Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Pohlia lutescens

We found some patches of Pohlia lutescens on peaty soil in a ditch in marshy grassland in the Upper Dulais Valley, near Seven Sisters yesterday (SN80D). There are few records of it in VC41, but it may be overlooked. The photo below shows it growing with Pseudephemerum nitidum (moss with capsules in the bottom right corner), which gives a good indication of how small it is. It has very distinctive, knobbly, rhizoidal gemmae (bottom photo).

Pohlia lutescens and Pseudephemerum nitidum, Seven Sisters

Pohlia lutescens

Rhizoidal gemmae of Pohlia lutescens

Other things of interest in the vicinty included Scorpidium cossinii and Plagiomnium elatum in a very nice base-flushed meadow near Seven Sisters Rugby Club. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

Swamp Feather-moss near Merthyr

At 340m asl, a population of Amblystegium radicale to the north-west of Merthyr was found to be well established at more than twice the maximum elevation given in the new bryophyte atlas. Whether or not the species is extending it's range eastwards, upwards, or just that it is now better understood is debatable. Direct associates around the margins of this very small reservoir included Drepanocladus aduncus and Marchantia polymorpha subsp. polymorpha. 

104 taxa were recorded at this rural industrial site with a good mix of calcicoles and calcifuges represented taking the totals for SN90Y and SO00D onto 156 and 65 respectively. Other species of interest noted, which give a flavour of the site, included Aneura pinguis, Aulacomnium palustre, Campyliadelphus chrysophyllus, Campylium protensum, Carex arenaria, C. divulsa d., C. hostiana, C. pilulifera, C. pulicaris, Climacium dendroides, Didymodon ferrugineus, Ditrichum gracile, Homalothecium lutescens, Loeskeobryum brevirostre (photos 1 & 2 below), Pyrola rotundifolia (photo below), Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Sanionia uncinata, Scapania irrigua, Syntrichia ruralis var. ruraliformis, Tortella tortuosa & Weissia controversa var. densifolia.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Spring tide inundation of the endangered moss Bryum marratti

Recently I've had the pleasure of working with Dr Des Callaghan, on a PlantLifeCymru funded project. Part of the project aims to characterise the setting of Bryum marratti in respect to sea water and fresh water in the upper salt marsh areas at Whiteford and Pembrey.

We are writing up our results of this stage of the project now, however we have a little taster video from last weeks high tide, which provides evidence that at least some of the colonies are directly inundated by sea water during high tides.

Best not too say too much more before I crunch the numbers, but here is a video for you all to enjoy until we have something more substantial.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Coal spoil at Penygroes

A total of 60 bryos were recorded growing directly on coal spoil at this development site in Penygroes, vc44. Most interest was focused on the mildly basic 'Cratoneuron filicinum-Bryum pseudotriquetrum' seepages found around the margins of the site, with noteworthy species including Bryoerythrophyllum ferruginascens and Palustriella falcata. Both were rare on site and it's the first time that I have encountered the latter on spoil, the location of the only patch I saw shown below. 

The central plateau was much less interesting, being dominated by Campylopus introflexus and Lotus corniculatus, which together with locally frequent Cladonia spp. formed a distinctive coal spoil community.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Upper reaches of the Afon Tywi

The rocky upper reaches of Afon Tywi, north of Lynn Brianne, couldn't be more different from the lowland, meandering section of the river with which I'm familiar from winter Brown Hairstreak egg surveys.
A couple of weekends ago we stayed a night at Dolgoch Hostel in Ceredigion, just a field away from the Tywi (which here forms the boundary between VC46 and VC42). Sam had provided me with a list of rare bryos to look out for, and though I failed to find any of these there was still plenty of interest - for me at least. Most notable, perhaps, was the abundance of Atrichum crispum, here growing on the thin soil layer on top of large river boulders.
I was also impressed by the quantity of Andraea rothii ssp falcata on the in-channel rocks, sometimes growing not far above the water level. A small patch of the lichen Lasallia pustulata (please correct my ID if wrong!) was growing in the same habitat.
The river itself was full of great wefts of Fontinalis squamosa, and Oligotrichum hercynicum was frequent on steep gravelly banks.
I'm a little puzzled by this falcate Campylopus, which had the nerve filling about a third of the leaf base. It might just be C. flexuosus, but is almost lacking in tomentum and doesn't have any obvious coloured cells in the basal angles of the leaf.

Sam tells me this part of the Tywi has been little studied bryologically. It surely warrants a proper look.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Sea Frillwort on Skomer

During our annual pilgrimage to Skomer last Saturday, I didn't do any bryophyte recording, or much else for that matter, as it was nice just to relax enjoy the island ambience. However, I did get on my knees to have a quick scan of the Fossombronia in the farmhouse courtyard in the hope of finding capsules in the extreme drought conditions - as expected, this proved to be 'fruitless' exercise. But I did have success elsewhere, in fact, not too far from the farmhouse, along the edge of the path that heads out towards the Wick, where it passes over one of the Mugearite outcrops, there was a nice Fossombronia colony with plenty of dried up, but seemingly intact capsules. Examination of spore and stem anatomy last night provided confirmation of F. maritima as a Skomer species.
barren courtyard Foss.
fertile footpath Foss. with Archidium

I never photographed the location, but as I didn't get
on my knees too often I'm pretty sure this was the spot.
In any case my ref for the colony was SM7268409272
The main direct associates here included Archidium alternifolium, Campylopus introflexus, Erodium maritimum, Lophocolea semiteres, Plantago coronopus and Sagina subulata.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

check up on Southbya in Lydstep

On the way back from St Davids (long weekend camping) I decided to pop to Lydstep to check out Sams Southbya tophacea colony he had recorded back in 2012?  I am slowly visiting all the Welsh populations, just Barafundle Bay left. I had a quick scrabble up the cliff and after about 40 minutes I had identified a few very shrivelled up colonies. To say a few I mean three at best, none more than 10 cm in area and all on loose open ground of which there wasn't much (see general site photo). So good to confirm it is still there (SS 09150 97747).

Interesting that it was growing in the unconsolidated and quite loose 'scree' made up of fragments of limestone from the host bedrock (Carboniferous Pembroke Limestone Group) mixed together with clay and soil, rather than directly on more permanent tufa forming seepages (like the VOG populations). I could only find it on more open areas of ground, which were very limited.

The weather was gloriously dry, so I would hope to find more  if everything wasn't so shrivelled up, mind you, not sure id fancy climbing that cliff in the wet.

As usual I was armed with a totally underwhelming iphone4 for photos, so do 'enjoy'.

location on cliff
general view of site, with lots of Contoneaster and other ground cover..including Hannah busy getting a closer look. 

close up, Southbya on the unconsolidated material rather than direct on the bedrock. 

Colony of shrivelled up Sothbya tophacea  (I know another terrible photo, was checked with x10 hand lense)