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Bryophyte Ecology Group


The BBS Bryophyte Ecology Group (or BRECOG) exists to promote study of the ecology of the mosses, liverworts and hornworts of Britain and Ireland. Having a detailed knowledge of their ecology will be absolutely fundamental for effective conservation of our bryophytes in the future. The group seeks to bring together those with practical involvement in conservation and land management, academics and amateur bryologists to develop a core of knowledge about the ecologies of the common and not-so-common species of these islands.

BRECOG was established as a specialist group of the British Bryological Society at a workshop in 2006. It aims to meet annually for a weekend workshop held at a different location early each spring. Informal recording sessions also often happen at the Society’s Spring and Summer field meetings. At the Preston Montford workshop in March 2007 the group launched a major project, the Bryophyte Habitats Survey. This involves the collection of data on the percentage cover of bryophytes from typical bryophyte habitats, plus the scoring of a number of simple environmental factors (e.g. shade, slope, soil or bark pH) at the quadrat sites and the recording of the presence of capsules and their stage of development. The target date for completion of the project is December 2016.

On completion of the Bryophyte Habitats Survey members of BRECOG plan to compile an ‘Ecological Atlas of Common Bryophytes of Britain and Ireland’. This will summarise the field data forthcoming from the survey of habitats and fertility and combine this with information from linked laboratory studies of physiology as well as data available in the literature. BBS members who wish to contribute information from their own ‘patch’ are invited to download the instructions and recording form and to attend one of the group’s gatherings which are advertised from time to time on the BBS homepage.
Jeff Bates (

BRECOG update February 2015

The tiny band of BBS members contributing to the BRECOG survey of bryophyte habitats and ‘communities’ was particularly active in 2014 and the number of individual microhabitats surveyed now stands at 765, based on  4135 quadrats completed. Records in 2014 originated from Anglesey, East Sussex and Kent (Spring Meeting), southern and south-western Ireland, the Outer Hebrides, Shetland, Loch Lomond, Mid Wales, plus several outings in ‘local’ English counties. The map below shows the 180 hectads in which at least one, and often many, microhabitats have been surveyed.


Further details and a report can be found here.




The following resources are available:

(NB People wishing to send soil samples to John O'Reilly should use his correct address: 3 Railway Cottages, Lambley, Northumberland, CA8 7LL)

See also the meeting reports for the 2006 and 2007 meetings.


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