BSBI field meetings

The poster describes the field meetings that are usually organised by the BSBI and provides a preliminary diary of some of those planned for 2021.  It gives contact details for the national field meetings secretaries and links to the BSBI field meetings web page.

New finds in 2020

My exhibit tells of new  botanical discoveries of plants I have never seen before from Loch Venachar in the Trossachs and Abernethy, Perthshire.

Upland tree regeneration monitoring at Corrour Estate

This poster outlines upland tree regeneration monitoring which was initiated at Corrour Estate in summer 2020. It aims to understand the impacts of reduced red deer densities on different tree species across a range of habitats. Records of growth, browsing and vascular plant species richness were included. Tree distribution was linked to habitat type, altitude and proximity to existing seed sources. The work will be repeated every 4 years and also contributes to the PhD project “Improving outcomes in montane woodland restoration” at the University of Stirling.

My best botanical day out

Ben Lawers is Britain’s primary site for rare arctic-alpine flora, and I have been fortunate to work here since 2010, initially as a volunteer, and then as an NTS ecologist. Spring and summer 2020 were unusual because I only climbed the mountain once this year. However it ended up being an absolutely stunning botanical day out. The experience brought me so much joy that I knew I had to share it. There are also vital contributions from aspiring young botanists Georgia (aged 6) and Felix (aged 4)! If you enjoyed reading, then please give me a follow on twitter @Watts_SH

Citizen science: antibiotics under our feet

“Antibiotics under our feet“ is a ScotPEN Wellcome Trust Award project based at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK. The aim is to raise science capital in the Fife primary school P5-7 age group and their teachers through co-ownership of a citizen science project seeking new chemical compounds from soil microbes to treat drug resistant infections. The project is based in the Czekster lab and this exhibit shows how the current project builds upon a pilot study carried out with two primary schools. Soil samples were collected, DNA extracted and sent for next generation sequencing to look at bacterial diversity. We would welcome advice and comments in shaping our project including analysing and presenting our data as we look to take it into schools asking pupils to collect soil samples and environmental data and then expand the project reach beyond Fife.

An update on some Bute brambles

This exhibit reports some progress towards resolving a complex of  Bute brambles which have been puzzling me for some time. They occupy border ground between the series Micantes and Radulae, and some bushes have previously been recorded as Rubus raduloides. After reading a detailed account of that species by Weber (1974) I am now inclined to agree with this determination, but others have expressed doubts.  Meanwhile, I have resolved two other species from the complex, Rubus echinatus, confirmed by Rob Randall, and R. echinatoides, confirmed by David Welch.  All three species are illustrated from my photos of Bute specimens.

Tetrad distributions for some selected pairs of British species

I have been wondering what I wish to learn from the BSBI Atlas 2020 project. At hectad scale I already have the New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora with its species captions. For change at tetrad scale I have BSBI’s Change in the British Flora 1987-2004, and for detailed species accounts I have my own Short Flora of Berwickshire and a range of other County Floras. These, taken together, enable me to interpret the stunning detail now available on the BSBI Distribution Database (DDb), with its facility to allow searches of individual records. It has occurred to me to experiment with the tetrad distributions of two species superimposed. I have found the exercise rewarding and present the results of my mini-project here. All the maps relate to the period 1987-2019.

BSBI grants

BSBI offers a range of grants to help you learn more about our wild plants: Training Grants to help aspiring/ beginner botanists attend short plant ID courses; Plant Study Grants to support undergrads and post-grads working on botanical projects; and Science & Research Grants to support research that enhances our knowledge of the British & Irish flora. Follow the links in the poster below to find out more.

BSBI periodicals

BSBI periodicals include four country newsletters, our new scientific journal, our monthly e-newsletter for the botanical recording community and our News & Views blog (all available to non-members); our thrice-yearly members' newsletter, Yearbook and our previous scientific journal (members only); and a publications archive. Follow the links (in red) in the poster below to find out more about BSBI periodicals.

BSBI New Year Plant Hunt

How many wild or naturalised plants can you find in bloom during a three-hour walk at New Year? Records you send in to our New Year Plant Hunt, now in its tenth year, are helping us build up a clearer picture of how our plants are responding to changes in autumn and winter weather patterns. Follow the links (in red) in the poster below to find out more.

Interesting finds in Kincardineshire (VC91) during 2020

Despite travel restrictions during lockdown, we have made many good finds during 2020. Finds selected for display in the poster are: Melilotus altissimus (tall melilot) at Bridge of Muchalls NO89, new to VC91; Carex vesicaria (bladder-sedge) at Whitewater Moss NO77, first in VC91 since 1860; Vaccinium oxycoccos (cranberry) at Glen Dye NO68, first in VC91 since 1970 assuming differentiation between this and the recently recorded V. microcarpum (small cranberry) are correct; Hieracium sabaudum forma bladonii (a leafy hawkweed) at Durris NO79 and Stonehaven NO88, first in N Scotland since 2000. Additional finds of particular interest that we have made but omitted from the display include: Epilobium montanum x parviflorum = E. x limosum at Benholm NO86, only record in Scotland since 1995; Euonymus latifolius at Knappach NO79, third record in Scotland since 2000; Utricularia minor at Greendams NO68, second site in VC91 since 1860; Equisetum arvense x fluviatile = E. x litorale at Catterline NO87, second site in VC91.

Tiny and Tangled: Unteasing Bryophytes for the Darwin Tree of Life

As a Genome Acquisition Lab for the Wellcome Trust-funded Darwin Tree of Life project, a major focus at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is bryophytes. The goal of this phase of the project is to generate high quality genome sequences from one species per family within Britain and Ireland, and our contribution towards this is to obtain fresh material from collections of living mosses, liverworts and hornworts, both from wild habitats and from within the Gardens.

Dumfriesshire Botany in 2020 – Highlights

The Dumfries Botany Group held their pre-season meeting on 10th March. They could not meet again until 26th July. In the meantime we were forced to look more closely at places near home. Some very interesting botanical finds have been made during this period and also once we were able to meet again in small groups and travel restrictions were lifted. Some of the highlights are shown.

Under Recording Problem

The case of mistaken identification of the rare neophyte Verbascum densiflorum, Dense-flowered Mullein, as the much more common native Verbascum thapsus, Great Mullein, in Fife.

Sedum villosum

Recording in the time of Covid

I systematically recorded the flora of a 10km square in Selkirkshire near my home over the summer of 2020. I visited 43 of the 100 1km squares (monads) in the 10km square (hectad), and collected more than 7,500 records of over 600 species. Some notable and surprising are reported here.

A study of the flora of urban walls

50 mortared walls near my home in West Dundee were surveyed between April and June 2020 and vascular plants noted in 100m sections, between 0-1m and 1-2m above ground level. The results along with a short discussion are given.