Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Scopelophila at Six Pits Branch

Pohlia sp?, Bryum pallescens & Cephaloziella sp.
With the help of Sam's report I was at last able to find the right spot, which as you can see has changed considerably in the intervening seven years; sadly not for the better and only a few tufts of Scopelophila cataractae could be located in the remaining parts of the colony not covered in brash or scrub. I did not quite manage to line up my shot with Sam's 2007 image, but the white markers I have added help show the changes that have taken place.
Sam's 2007 image when the colony was a healthy 4m x 2m patch
today's image showing approximate frame position of Sam's photograph above
dumped brash and encroaching scrub are major threats to this population
I'm guessing the brash is being dumped by contractors responsible for the amenity plantings, so some detective work may be needed to prevent more material being added. Sam, I'm not sure if this is something you might want to take on in an official capacity, but I suspect if the ground is cleared there's a chance the species might recolonise some of the lost ground. In addition to the brash, leaf litter from encroaching scrub is another issue that is problematic as it is enabling pleurocarps such as Hypnum and Thuidium to dominate. Some limited scrub clearance and raking off of litter might could prove beneficial if it can be arranged? Alternatively I would be happy to do a bit of gardening myself, though I would not have the facility to remove arisings off site.


  1. Thankyou Barry - please can you send those photos etc on to my work email address and I'll deal with it on Friday when I return to work. I might go myself to pull off what I can, rather than faffing around with contractors, but I'll need to ask colleagues. It's an S42 species so I have (a tiny bit of) funding I can put towards works. Thankyou for your perseverance!

    I was thinking of Scopelophila today when I took the kids to Swansea, but it was too cold so we visited Plantasia and I was able to pay my respects to Vesicularia.

  2. Let me know when you plan to go there and I'll join you - the branches and scrub trimming aren't really much of a problem, but there's a lot of well decomposed leafy stuff that really needs to be moved with a pitch fork and wheelbarrow - where to I'm not sure? I suppose there's the recycling plant on the other side of the lake, but we'd need a large trailer to remove everything in one go.

  3. What I thought was Scopelophila (i.e. the pale leaves in the top image) clearly isn't - under the microscope the cells are more typical of the Bryales. Any suggestions?

  4. I agree it looks like a Pohlia, but hard to know which. Any bulbils in lower leaf axils?