Thursday, 23 April 2015

Commonest bryophyte species

Julita Klusa has just put a link to her list of Latvia's top 20 commonest bryophytes on Twitter.  It is fascinatingly different to the top 20 in south Wales!

Rank Pembrokeshire (SW Wales) Latvia UK notes
1 Kindbergia praelonga Hypnum cupressiforme Abundant (No. 2 in Pembrokeshire)
2 Hypnum cupressiforme Leucodon sciuroides Uncommon and very local
3 Brachythecium rutabulum Hylocomium splendens Locally abundant but habitat specific
4 Frullania dilatata Plagiomnium undulatum Locally abundant but habitat specific
5 Metzgeria furcata Pleurozium schreberi Locally abundant but habitat specific
6 Lophocolea bidentata Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus Locally abundant but habitat specific
7 Isothecium myosuroides Dicranum scoparium Locally abundant but habitat specific
8 Bryum dichotomum Climacium dendroides Uncommon and local
9 Mnium hornum Orthotrichum speciosum Rare and eastern, not in Wales
10 Tortula muralis Radula complanata Increasing and locally abundant
11 Bryum capillare Atrichum undulatum Abundant (No. 12 in Pembrokeshire)
12 Atrichum undulatum Nowellia curvifolia Locally abundant but habitat specific
13 Ulota phyllantha Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus Locally abundant but habitat specific
14 Dicranella heteromalla Eurhynchium angustirete Not British
15 Bryum argenteum Homalia trichomanoides Locally abundant but habitat specific
16 Calliergonella cuspidata Ptilium crista-castrensis Uncommon and north-eastern
17 Fissidens bryoides Plagiochila asplenioides Locally abundant but habitat specific
18 Thuidium tamariscinum Syntrichia ruralis Locally abundant but habitat specific
19 Didymodon insulanus Neckera pennata Extinct in Britain, one historic record
20 Ulota bruchii Plagiomnium cuspidatum Uncommon and very local

This has got me thinking again what a pity it is that the South Wales Bryophyte Blog is only visible to 'members' and I wonder whether we could make it more visible but with commenting and blogging limited to 'members'.


  1. Leucodon is the main surprise, but can't help wondering if Latvian bryologists would be impressed by all our Kindbergia!

    Re blog visibility: It's surprising how many people have asked me how to view the blog - clearly word seems to getting around and there seems to be a wider interest developing (possibly due to an upsurge in bryo-tweeting?). I can't see any problems going public as we'll have full editorial control, but we could give it a trial period for those with reservations?

  2. It's hard to be sure whether the difference is because Wales is less pristine than Estonia, or because my recording included a lot of ordinary habitats whereas most Estonian recording was in more natural places. It's a striking difference anyway.

    I think there were concerns that visibility of the blog would open up vulnerable localities to collectors or might make it obvious someone had been trespassing. I was deliberately circumspect about some of my posts from north Wales.

  3. Northern forests are often dominated by Hylocomium splendens and Pleurozium schreberi, probably 2 of the most common bryophytes in the northern hemisphere, so the position of Leucodon, above those two in the the Latvian league table, really is amazing.
    I did have some reservations about widening access to the blog, much the same as Sam's. Several of our early posts give 8 figure grid refs because we trust ourselves implicitly. But, one of my main concerns was the possibility of unintentional over zealous collection of rare and sensitive species by others. Perhaps this is an unfair view of the gentle folk who are field bryologists. Otherwise, I can see Sam's argument that making it a more open forum will help to encourage more useful discussion and recording. So, I'll go with the flow.

  4. Thanks Charles, I'll give this another day in case others have any reservations before going public. This will also give a little time should anyone want to do some editing. I'll leave it initially so only invited authors can post, but will enable public comments - we can monitor this closely and see how it goes.

  5. Just a reminder that the labels block on the right of the blog give quick access to all genera and species that have been posted about on this blog

  6. I honestly think the days of damaging collection are over in Britain, and in many ways highlighting the presence of a species at a particular site will make it more likely that a modern bryologist would pay their respects to the plant without collecting any, rather than taking a bit for microscope ID. As an example, we have highlighted various colonies of Entosthodon (Funaria) pulchellus over recent months and I'm sure that anyone from Glamorgan who was keen to see that species would visit one of these publicised sites, admire the species in the field, and then look for other things, rather than needing to collect several bits to check in case of E muehlenberii (or another species).

    I discussed the situation with various BBS people and agreement does seem pretty widespread. In contrast, I was told how horrified Derek Ratcliffe was to see a (now deceased) BBS luminary collect the last bit of Paraleptodontium at Coed Ganllwyd in the late 1950s. Memories of that event, and a similar one in the late 1990s when most of a patch of Sematophyllum was removed from Coed y Rhygen, colour our perceptions of how bryologists behave, but I am sure that 21st Century British and Irish bryologists are really responsible.

    I am an optimist and hope that opening up the blog won't lead to the pillaging of Jubula or Leucodon. Actually, I did slightly wonder whether publicising my discovery of Antitrichia on the Prairie Dogs' Paulownia at Bristol Zoo could have resulted in its loss, but I was recently told that it is still present and I suspect that a bird took part of the tuft.

  7. I'm sure you're right Sam. I think as long as a common sense approach is taken for very sensitive species (e.g. Graham didn't attach a grid reference to his Antitrichia post, but supplied the necessary details for finding it offline), then all should be fine.

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  9. At one of our rare vascular plant sites in the BBNP I am pretty sure that some seedlings/saplings have been trampled to death by people twitching the rarities. As Pan-recording seems to be becoming a popular pastime I might be a bit cautious about posting detailed locations for some bryos as even if the plants themselves not at risk, trampling effects on vegetation/ other species could be significant - some of the visitor damage / erosion in Neath waterfalls seems to be due to photographers trying to get that extra special angle (and reason why some people fall off the cliffs!). Having said that, ther are probably only a handful of showy / fragile bryos or sites with fragile habitat that might be at risk.