Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Bryophyte Field Meeting at Stonesby Quarry

Our next bryophyte meeting will be on Saturday, 25th March at Stonesby Quarry. This is part of a worked-out quarry on soft Jurassic limestone, and contains some of the best remaining limestone grassland in Leicestershire. It is part of a SSSI and a nature reserve managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. During the last bryophyte survey in 1993, notable species such as Seligeria calcarea and Weissia longifolia were found. Since then, a lot of conservation management has been carried out, including scrub removal and exposing of limestone bedrock, so it will be interesting to find out how this has influenced the bryophyte flora.

We are meeting at SK81112530 (see marker on map below) at 10.30 a.m. and the meeting will last until about 3 p.m., so please bring lunch. I will leave at 9.20 a.m. from Knighton and am happy to give lifts.

I hope to see you on Saturday,


mobile: 07852 682 790

Stonesby Quarry

Monday, 13 March 2017

vc55 Group Field Meetings 2017

Here are the details for most of our 2017 meetings, starting with our 'get into surveying mode' session at the Botanic Garden. You can see them as pdf or a Word table. Although there will be a good effort to record, we will have time to talk over ID and other relevant fun topics, so botanists of all experience levels welcome. It would be great to see you. All meetings should be warmer than this photo!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Report on Bryophyte meeting at Cossington Meadows Nature Reserve

Middle Marsh
The first areas surveyed were rough pasture, hedgerows and trees on 'Middle Marsh' and 'Lower Marsh'. The main species in the grassland is Calliergonella cuspidata, which is abundant where the grass is short. Mixed in are smaller amounts of Cratoneuron filicinum as well as Drepanocladus aduncus, which became more abundant in and around water-filled depressions, where it was growing with long flaccid stems. D. aduncus is a  lowland species of wet places often growing submerged. It is tolerant of eutrophication and has only been recorded from 30 tetrads in Leics. These species benefit from the rough grazing and wet conditions. Brachythecium rivulare was frequent and seemed to replace the otherwise ubiquitous B. rutabulum on the wet ground. Amongst the rush tussocks, it was associated with Oxyrrhinchium hians, which was also the dominant species along the river banks.

Most bryophyte diversity was on trees and scrub. We found many epiphytic species on a recently fallen willow in a ditch along the main track, including Cryphaea heteromalla, Orthotrichum pulchellum and extensive patches of Metzgeria fruticulosa.

Orthotrichum pulchellum
These species belong to the group of species that area spreading due to reduced atmospheric sulphur dioxide concentrations. Willows are a particularly good habitat for epiphytic bryophytes, because of their basic and rough bark, and they usually support a good range of species, particularly in humid conditions.

The tree trunks in the flood zone are a special habitat. We found two species typical of this habitat (Leskea polycarpa and Syntrichia latifolia) in abundance, especially on large trees along ditches and the river, as well as the rarely recorded Scleropodium cespitans (recorded from 11 tetrads in Leics). We also found the rarely recorded, and possibly under-recorded Bryum moravicum (= B. laevifilum) on rotting wood.

The gravel tracks are rich in small acrocarpous mosses, of which we were only able to identify some to species level. The tracks and pool margins, which dry out in summer, would be worth a revisit later in the year.