Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Search for Scorpidium: can you help?

After the petrifying springs work for Sam the other year (Farr et al., 2014 & Graham & Farr, 2015) we had some useful feedback from Lars Hedenas regarding the chemical rages of the Scorpidium species that we had reported. In our study we had simply looked at the general quality of the water flushing the site, and we had not sampled individual stands of moss.  He pointed us to a paper he co-authored in the early 1990s (Kooijman & Hedenas, 1991). The paper shows that the three Scorpidium species have slightly different chemical preferences with S. revolvens in the lower pH and conductivity range and S. cossonii and S.scorpioides. S. revolvens was also found in more Ca poor water.

With this in mind myself and the unstoppable Jonathan Graham set off to collect water samples from species specific stands of the three Scorpidium species in south Wales. BGS has kindly offered to support the chemical sampling for this project. We wanted to see if our results would mimic the Sweedish data of (Kooijman & Hedenas, 1991) or not.

One of Jon's great site sketches of a calcareous flush at Foel Farwr
Jon Graham at Foel Fawr (Herberts Quarry)

Measuring pH, electrical conductivity and temperature in situ
We had chosen what we thought were enough sites with each of the Scorpidium species however on closer inspection (and ID by Lars Himself!) we found out that some of our S.revolvens were sadly not S.revolvens !!  So true to form when the chemical results came back from the lab we had a very tantalising story but NOT ENOUGH SAMPLES OF S.REVOLVENS.

Myself and Jon are heading out in January to complete our work (I should add self funded and in our own time !) we are so close to having a great species specific chemical data set for the Scorpidium species in Wales, however we are desperately in need of sites in South Wales with S.revolvens and or S.scorpiodies.

Sam has provided a list of sites from the database, but I think me and Jon may need either 10 Figure grid references or a kind knowledgeable local guide? It is sort of do or die as the funding for the sample analysis will disappear after Jan.

(will be two days max in Jan 2016).

  • Farr, G.; Graham, J.; Stratford, C. 2014 Survey, characterisation and condition assessment of Palustriella dominated springs 'H7220 petrifying springs with tufa formation (Cratoneurion) in Wales. NERC, 211pp. (Natural Resources Wales Evidence Report No. 136, WL/NEC03832/13_14/T6, OR/14/043) (Unpublished) http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/512109/
  • Graham, Jonathan; Farr, Gareth. 2014 Petrifying springs in Wales. Field Bryology (112). 19-29. http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/508972/
  • Kooijman & Hedenas, 1991. Differentiation in the habitat requirements within the genus Scopridium, especially between S.revolvens and S.cossonii.  Journal of Bryology, 16 pp 619-627.


  1. Hi Gareth
    I have only recorded it twice in West Glam: There are small quantities at Reynoldston SS48269006 but it's much more frequent on Mynydd-y-Gwair at SN671100 where finding it should not be difficult. [Looking at the aerials SN67131006 would get you to a spot where there's plenty]. I should point out that both sites look quite different to that illustrated by Jon. Sounds like an interesting project.

  2. The only place I've seen revolvens is in a flush near ther big layby just west of Storey Arms: SN97682037. A very easy to access site and it should be easy to find revolvens here - but you may already have sampled it.

    That's a lovely sketch by Jonathan.

  3. Barry / George, thank you both of your suggestions are excellent and will be very useful for the project. Think we are aiming for about 10 sites to give us enough data to make it statistically viable.

    George, yes Jons sketches are ace, if you have time download the report (Farr et al 2014) it is fully of amazing drawings....if his bryology work dries up im sure he could be an artist !!!

  4. I really like this style of 'community' drawing and the addition of colour really clarifies things further. Very professionally done.