Wednesday, 11 April 2018
Is Funaria hygrometrica declining?
I knocked up this plot to examine what percentage of my bryophyte records from VC35 each year were Funaria hygrometrica. I'm sure that my recording habitats have changed a bit since 2000, but then and now I was tetrad-bashing, so visited 'grot' habitats as well as nice places, and recorded all that I saw rather than just noting rarities. I was obviously inactive here in 2009-2015, but have corrected for variation in recording effort by looking at percentage of records per year rather than actual number of Funaria records. Since 2016, when VC35 recording really kicked back in, my sightings of Funaria are extremely low. Certainly the trend appears to be downwards.
This moss was considered commonplace when I started bryophyte recording in the 1990s, and grew on tracks and pavements, in plant pots and occasionally in natural habitats, as well as the traditional 'fire sites'. Three of my four sightings this year have been in rather 'natural' places - 2 forestry tracks and a mountain path - with one on a road verge. God forbid, but could this be another victim of N pollution? It used to grow where there was a bit of enrichment, for example by a bonfire, but perhaps most of our environment is so N-enriched that Funaria is no longer able to prosper.
Perhaps I'm making a big fuss about nothing, but this question has been in the back of my mind for a while and there really does seem to have been a change.