Friday, 29 December 2017

Slagtastic Loughor

After several years of failing to find Scopelophila cataractae in the Swansea Valley, I was filled with great joy today when I came across a lovely population in the Loughor Estuary at Bynea. There were many patches scattered on the two fingers of slag dumped on the saltmarsh, as indicated by the yellow areas shown above (SS558989), the dashed green line showing the Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries SAC boundary. Whilst the bulk of the material I found was technically outside the SAC (i.e. the yellow patches shown 'within' the western finger), it would seem unlikely this narrow bit of ground would ever be interfered with. Although, a small amount of freshly dumped material was noted close to where the two fingers meet, so it may be worth considering notifying the owners.


The main associate was Weissia controversa var. densifolia, with occasional patches of Bryum cf pallescens and some interesting lichens. An odd-looking Pohlia (I'm suspecting it's just young annotina but I will investigate further) was frequent, growing in dense and quite deep cushions with tightly packed appressed leaves. The shoots were noted to fragment very easily, possibly as a means of dispersing? Any thoughts on this one appreciated. [Des Callaghan kindly informed me this is Pohlia nutans fo. gemmiclada]

Finally a photo of a very smart lichen that was growing over (seemingly eating up!) the cushions of Weissia - again any suggestions appreciated: 




8 comments:

  1. Fantastic! You must have been elated. Shame it's on the wrong side of the estuary, but you can't have everything ;-)

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  2. A mere 2.5 km from my house, so I can live with it being in Carms! There's still a sizeable area of slag to explore there, though i suspect the best metallophyte habitat is probably quite restricted.

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  3. Well done Barry. I don't think I ever explored those tips when I was recording for the Carms Flora, although Ian pointed me towards other tips around Bynea. The Pohlia does look interesting. There is an odd Pohlia on several metal-rich sites in VCC41, 44 & 46 which has some characters of P proligera and some of P annotina; I have never got to the bottom of it, and DNA might be interesting given the habitat.

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  4. A bit of a guess but could lichen be Megaspora verrucosa? Some nice records .. You should go into Farms more often

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  5. Thanks Graham, it actually keyed out satisfactorily as Diploschistes muscorum. As for Farms in Carms, I've had much worse, so you got off lightly!

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  6. Re Pohlia, I can't see any bulbils on the material I've examined so far, but I'll make sure I retain a voucher.

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