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Recording Matters

A series of newsletters from the Recording Secretary

Recording Matters 1: Bulletin 57: 25-26 (March 1991) Recording Matters 13: Bulletin 69: 41-43 (February 1997)
Recording Matters 2: Bulletin 58: 25-26 (July 1991) Recording Matters 14: Bulletin 70: 32 (July 1997)
Recording Matters 3: Bulletin 59: 22-25 (February 1992) Recording Matters 15: Bulletin 71: 21-22 (July 1998)
Recording Matters 4: Bulletin 60:18-26 (July 1992) Recording Matters 16: Bulletin 72: 83-85 (February 1999)
Recording Matters 5: Bulletin 61: 25-26 (February 1993) Recording Matters 17: Bulletin 74: 34-35 (February 2000)
Recording Matters 6: Bulletin 62: 20-23 (July 1993) Recording Matters 18: Bulletin 75: 25 (July 2000)
Recording Matters 7: Bulletin 63: 36-38 (February 1994) Recording Matters 19: Bulletin 76: 45-47 (February 2001)
Recording Matters 8: Bulletin 64: 22-24 (July 1994) Recording Matters 20: Bulletin 77: 30-32 (July 2001)
Recording Matters 9: Bulletin 65: 37-39 (March 1995) Recording Matters 21: Bulletin 78: 50-52 (February 2002)
Recording Matters 10: Bulletin 66: 25-27 (July 1995) Recording Matters 22: Bulletin 79: 50-52 (July 2002)
Recording Matters 11: Bulletin 67: 30-31 (February 1996) Recording Matters 23: Bulletin 80: 49 (February 2003) 
Recording Matters 12: Bulletin 68: 33-36 (August 1996) Recording Matters 24 : Bulletin 80: 49 (February 2004) 

 

Recording Matters 5

Regional Recorders
A full list of BBS recorders for vice-counties in Britain and Ireland appeared in this column, Bulletin 60. The following new recorders have since been appointed:

17: Mr P.G. Adams, 5 Elm Cottages, Byttom Hill, Mickleham, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6EL
33: Mr P. Martin, The Archway, The Green, Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, GL2 7DY

Martin Corley has relinquished v.-c. 33 (see above) but remains recorder for the Western Isles region (v.-c.s 101-104,110). Two addresses were inadvertently given for Nick Hodgetts. The correct details are:

31,76,86-88,99: Mr N.G. Hodgetts, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Monkstone House, City Road, Peterborough, PE1 1JY

Recorders are still needed for 5, 39, 56, 76, 68, 71-75, 77, 78, 85, 90-95, 111, 112 and most vice-counties in the Republic of Ireland.

[NB. See latest list of Local (Regional) Recorders above.]

Record Cards
A second batch of the new-style record cards (National, RP22; S.E. England, RP23) with slight improvements has now been produced. These are available from the Recording Secretary (address below) or from Chris Preston at BRC. Although many cards have been given out, the number of completed cards returned to the Recording Secretary for the continuing mapping scheme has been disappointingly small, and from only a handful of vice-counties. It is suggested that Regional Recorders return completed cards at the end of each year or at one of the Society's meetings. Organisers of major BBS field meetings and regional group meetings are requested to make sure that completed cards are sent in. I have received surprisingly few cards from recent meetings – but it is never too late! Remember to keep copies of the cards for your own and future recorders' archives.

Epiphyte Recording
About thirty Regional Recorders and other active field bryologists have been invited to participate in a new recording venture in part of southern Britain. This is a pilot scheme, approved by Council, to explore the distributions of epiphytic bryophytes in selected 10-km squares stretching in a belt from Pembroke/N. Devon to East Anglia. The scheme is aimed particularly at documenting the spread of epiphytes into areas once affected by sulphur dioxide pollution. To improve the rigour of recording only three tetrads in each 10-km square are being sampled. Also, data on tree hosts, position on tree, frequency (number of trees occupied) and fertility are being recorded using a special recording card. The pilot scheme is running from 1 September 1992 until 31 May 1993 so that a 'snapshot' of the current situation is obtained. Participants are requested to send tetrad cards to the Recording Secretary as soon as possible after completion. Early returns show that the simple methodology works adequately, some interesting bryophytes are turning up in unexpected places and the recording is an enjoyable and rewarding exercise. The project may be extended to a wider area if the pilot scheme is successful.

Leicestershire Bryological Survey
Our Regional Recorder, Dennis Ballard, has kindly written the following account of recent bryological exploration in vice-county 55. Dennis organises a busy programme of meetings during the winter in Leicestershire and also produces a bryological newletter summarising progress.

The Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Records service and its predecessors, and the associated Literary and Philosophical Society (Natural History section) have been the main-spring in the production of the county's floras and continue to give support. The first account of the bryophytes was by Dr R. Pultney in Nichol's 1795-1815. Bryophytes were included in the floras of 1886 and 1909, and in F.A. Sowter's cryptogamic flora of 1941. Apart from various lists of records in the Literary and Philosophical Society's Transactions, there has been no comprehensive flora since 1941.

Vice-county 55 has been known traditionally as Leicestershire & Rutland and the two components have usually produced separate floras. In 1990 Dr P.E. Jackson published his Rutland bryophyte flora but in 1983 he was already contacting local botanists to continue with the Leicestershire section of v.-c. 55 on the 2x2 km grid that he had used in Rutland. It was in 1984 that I became involved in the survey. In 1988 the most recent vascular plant flora for Leicestershire was published and gave further impetus to the production of a cryptogamic flora. Work proceeds in this direction with different groups working on lichens, fungi and bryophytes. Only a few people are involved in the bryophyte project.

Approximately 300 mosses and 60 liverworts have been recorded in v.-c. 55. In the old county of Leicestershire there are 617 tetrads wholly or partly within the area. Earlier workers did not record the commoner species systematically and the aim of the present group is to rectify this omission. New county records are being made, perhaps because new areas are being looked at. The extent of losses through habitat destruction is not yet known but there have been losses in previously recorded sites.

The museum service is a great help in obtaining access permission to normally inaccessible sites for our regular Autumn/Winter field visits. It may be a long time before we can produce a flora but the foundations are being laid.

D.W. Ballard, 84 Leicester Road, Groby, Leicester, LE6 0DN


Eastern England Bryophyte Mapping Project Update
Mapping is now almost complete in Beds., Hunts. and Essex, and is well under way in Norfolk and Suffolk. English Nature has generously provided the BBS with a grant to purchase a complete set of the new Pathfinder 1:25,000 maps of the area to support the project. Any competent bryologists interested in joining the team of recorders would be more than welcome, especially if they can assist in the daunting task of covering Norfolk (see Bulletin 55: 14 for an outline of the project).

Dr Jeff Bates, Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY

 

Recording Matters 6

(see Bulletin 62:20-23 (July 1993))

Regional Recorders
The following is a list of the BBS recorders for vice-counties in Britain and Ireland to whom completed field record cards should be sent. Records from vacant vice-counties should be sent directly to the Recording Secretary (address below). Stocks of recording cards are also available from the Recording Secretary.

(This list is replaced by the up to date list shown above.)

Neil Redgate has resigned as recorder for vice-counties 107-109 owing to closure of the Northern Highlands Environmental Records Centre and John Port has relinquished Worcestershire (v.-c. 37) in the hope of encouraging someone more local to take on the job. We thank them for their valuable efforts. Recorders are needed for the following vacant vice-counties: 5, 37, 39, 56, 59, 67, 68, 71-75, 77, 78, 85, 90-95, 106-109, 111 & 112. Donal Synnott would be glad to hear from anyone willing to take on individual vice-counties in Ireland.

BBS Recording Initiative in Waterford and Wexford
Despite the stirling efforts of bryologists over the many years of the BBS Mapping Scheme there are still significant areas of the Britain Isles from which few records of bryophytes have been obtained. Large, thinly populated tracts in Ireland and Scotland away from the western coasts constitute some of the most poorly recorded areas. Now that we have the Atlas of the Bryophytes of Britain and Ireland as a guide, it seems logical to try to improve recording in the poorly known regions. In this spirit Council has approved a plan to undertake a concentrated recording programme in two very poorly known and abutting counties in the south-east corner of Ireland, Waterford (H6) and Wexford (H12). This is an attractive area including extensive uplands to over 800 m, lowlands and a long and varied coastline, but in the past visiting British bryologists have usually passed through quickly en route to the better known areas in the west. The bryophyte flora will certainly be interesting and yet there are very few records from this region in the Atlas.

The aim is to obtain detailed records for the 10-km squares (about 70) and to publish a bryophyte flora of the two counties. The project will be open to all interested persons and we anticipate that most of the recording will be done by individual members or small informal parties visiting for short periods. It is hoped that the project may stimulate interest in bryology amongst Irish naturalists and it should also contribute to the atmosphere of common purpose in the Society. The rewards for participation are likely to include new vice-county records and new Atlas dots a-plenty, plus, for those who contribute significantly, inclusion as an author on publications resulting from the project. Serious participants may be able to obtain a contribution towards their travel and accommodation expenses. It is envisaged that the recording will be done over a five year period, 1994-98. The project will receive an initial boost from the Summer Field Meeting in this area with The Nordic Bryological Society next year. Members wishing to participate in the flora project are invited to attend an inaugural meeting during the AGM and Symposium Meeting at Ripon in September (details of time and place from the local secretary) or they should write to one of the project organisers, Dr Jeff Bates and Mr Donal Synnott. At the meeting we hope to discuss the recording method, data storage and general logistics and to assign some of the major tasks.

Bryophyte Recording in Northern Ireland
Paul Hackney is our Regional Recorder for the counties of Northern Ireland. In this account he describes his recent efforts to put recording in this bryologically neglected Province onto a sound footing.

Bryophyte recording in Northern Ireland (vice-counties H33, 36-40) has long suffered from a chronic shortage of resident bryologists despite the importance of the local amateur botanist C.H. Waddell in the foundation of the British Bryological Society.

The only published bryophyte county floras are those for Down, Antrim and Londonderry (H38-40) in the second edition of Stewart & Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland (1938), prepared by W.R. Megaw, and the Fitzgeralds' (1960) 'Bryophyte Flora of Co. Tyrone' (Trans. Brit. bryol. Soc. 3, 653-687).

More recently there has been a revival of interest in bryophyte recording in the Province. For a number of years Dr Richard Weyl of the Countryside and Wildlife Branch of the Department of the Environment (NI) has been collecting bryophyte lists for the national nature reserves and areas of scientific interest in the Province, and in 1992 I commenced the building up of a computerised bryophyte database at the Ulster Museum, which also holds the Province's only bryophyte herbarium (BEL).

The database uses the RECORDER package developed by Dr Stuart Ball and is a part of a general biological database which was recently established in the Museum in association with the Department of the Environment (NI). Our intention is to transfer all available bryophyte information onto RECORDER as time allows, and also to carry out a programme of field recording with a long-term aim of producing a 'bryophyte flora' for Northern Ireland.

Initially my own work is being concentrated on the flora of Co. Tyrone (H36) for two reasons. First, a vascular plant flora of the county is currently being prepared for publication in about 1995 or 1996. Second, the Fitzgeralds' work referred to above and the Ulster Museum herbarium material from this county make it a comparatively simple matter to up-date the Fitzgeralds' 1960 Flora. The new county flora will thus contain both vascular plant and bryophyte records.

Recently I published a new edition of Stewart & Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland (Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University of Belfast, 1992), but because of other commitments I was unable to include any revision of the bryophyte section which had been prepared for the 1938 edition by W.R. Megaw. After the Flora of Tyrone, a revision of the flora of these three north-east counties will probably become the next priority.

Paul Hackney, Ulster Museum, Belfast, BT9 5AB


Epiphyte Recording
Thanks are extended to all those who participated so readily in this pilot scheme to map the distribution and frequency of epiphytes within selected tetrads in a belt across southern Britain (see this column, Bulletin 61). The closing date for the scheme was 31 May 1993 but this has now been extended to 30 November to allow completion of the project. If you have not already done so, please ensure that completed survey cards are sent to the Recording Secretary as soon as possible so that analysis of the data can commence. It is hoped that a report on the project will appear in this column in a future issue of the Bulletin.

Dr Jeff Bates, Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY

 

Recording Matters 8

(see Bulletin 64:22-24 (July 1994))

Regional Recorders
The following is a list of the Regional Recorders for vice-counties in Britain and Ireland. Completed recording cards should be sent to the appropriate Recorder. If a vice-county is not listed the records should be sent directly to the Recording Secretary (address below) from whom new recording cards may also be obtained.

(This list is replaced by the up to date list shown above.)

M.C. Robinson, A.G. Payne and N.D. Redgate have retired as recorders for, v.-cs 89, 96 and 107-109, respectively. We thank them for their service. Replacement recorders are sought for these and other vacant vice-counties.

Bryophyte recording in Buckinghamshire (vice-county 24)
Seán O'Leary, our Regional Recorder for v.-c. 24, writes a timely account of his experiences in the vice-county and requests further records.

When I was asked to become recorder for Buckinghamshire four years ago, I assumed that I would inherit a weighty document, compiled over generations, detailing the whereabouts of bryological niceties in the region, and listing, perhaps on a 10-km square basis, all records currently known. This just shows how naive I was.

I therefore decided to help the next recorder, by compiling my own version of such a document. I don't like to call it a 'flora' – it sounds a bit pretentious coming from an amateur like myself, so I'm calling it a 'Recorder's file'.

I've started going through the Atlas, compiling a card for each 10-km square in Bucks with all known bryophyte records from this source, so that I can identify 'weak-spots' where little recording has been done. Corley & Hill (1981) and the Bulletin have, of course, been useful guides to new vice-county records.

I have not been able to trace any published bryophyte flora of Bucks and indeed there is none mentioned in Taylor's (1954) and Pearman's (1979) bibliographies. However, E.R.B. Little, between 1962 and 1967, did a considerable amount of work in the area, obtaining many hundreds of records, including over twenty new vice-county records, and he has deposited a substantial herbarium with the county museum in Aylesbury. He has kindly given me his day-books and a partially completed flora, which now forms the basis of my file. Alan Crundwell, Rod Stern and Fred Ambrose have also kindly sent me information.

I started recording in Bucks myself this year, and hope to work through the county on a 10-km square basis. I have found three new vice-county records so far.

I would be grateful if anyone recording in Bucks would let me know, and send me information about current (or old) records from the area. Try to be as specific as possible about grid references, as the county boundaries have changed in some areas.

I hope soon that I will have a Recorder's file which will be worth handing on to my successor.

References
Corley, M.F.V. & Hill, M.O. (1981). Distribution of Bryophytes in the British Isles: a Census Catalogue of their Occurrence in Vice-Counties. Cardiff: British Bryological Society.
Pearman, M.A. (1979). British bryophyte floras and check-lists, 1954-1878. J. Bryol. 10: 561-573.
Taylor, F.J. (1954). Bryophyte county floras I. The Channel Islands, England and Wales. Trans. Br. bryol. Soc. 2: 446-457.

Dr S.V. O'Leary, J.J. Thompson Physical Laboratory, P.O. Box 220, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 2AF


Survey of Regional Recorders
It is now four years since the network of Regional Recorders was established. To investigate the level of bryological recording in Britain and Ireland all Regional Recorders have been circulated with a questionnaire asking for some basic details about their recording activities and those of other local bryologists. A resumé of their replies will be presented in the next issue of this column. Regional Recorders have also been offered copies of the records held at the Biological Records Centre for their region. These will be sent out later during 1994.

Dr Jeff Bates, Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY

 

Recording Matters 9

(see Bulletin 65:37-39 (March 1995))

Regional Recorders
A full list of BBS recorders for vice-counties in Britain and Ireland appeared in this column, Bulletin 64. The entry for Mr N.G. Hodgetts should have included the following vice-counties: 31,76,86-88,99. Donal Synnott is no longer able to act as a recorder for Irish vice-counties.

Survey of Recording Activity in Vice-Counties
During 1994 a questionnaire was sent to all Regional Recorders to gather some basic information about the status of recording in Britain and Ireland. Recorders were asked the following questions: (1) Are you currently making field records in the region? (2) Are you working on a bryophyte flora of your region? (3) Name other active bryologists who contribute records. Completed questionnaires were kindly returned by 42 Recorders representing 83 vice-counties. A few Recorders failed to respond. As the data give a fairly detailed picture of the current level of bryological recording activity in Britain and Ireland it seemed worthwhile making available a summary of the responses.

It is evident from inspection of the Table (below) that the majority of Recorders are actively undertaking field recording, however the level of activity varies considerably between vice-counties. It is obvious that the recording is in many cases being stimulated by county flora projects; an unambiguous 'no' to the question (2) about floras was registered for only 13 vice-counties.

An approximate answer to another question – how many active field bryologists are there in Britain and Ireland? – is possible from these returns. It cannot, however, be calculated directly from the Table because the same individuals crop up as recorders and 'active bryologists' in several different vice-counties. The tally of names recorded in response to the third question is 46 which, when added to the 42 responding Regional Recorders, yields a total of 88 active field bryologists. This may be an underestimate because of the 'missing' vice-counties, the occurrence of bryologists in vice-counties without a recorder, and because several respondents gave hard-to-interpet answers like, 'the Cambridge Group'. A check can be made by examining another indicator of 'active bryologists', the lists of recorders of New Vice-county Records and Amendments to the Census Catalogues in recent issues of the Bulletin. This includes a significant number of names missing from the questionnaire returns and suggests that there is a recognisable and significant ('twitcher/specialist') group of field bryologists who are concerned more with finding new or unusual taxa than with more mundane systematic recording. Many questionnaire respondents added qualifiers like, 'not very active now' or 'too busy to do much' to their list of active bryologists so the total quoted above probably gives an over-optimistic view. Balancing this overestimate against the underestimated 'twitcher/specialist' category it still appears unlikely that more than about 80-90 souls are gathering data on bryophyte distributions in the British Isles on a regular or reasonably frequent basis.

These results are encouraging. We would appear to have a good number of county bryophyte floras to look forward to in the future. The local flora projects are continuing to stimulate new bryological talent and the proliferating BBS local groups have considerable potential to encourage 'trainee' bryologists and make new records, even in areas where specific projects are not underway.

Vice-county Current recording Flora project Active bryologists
1, 2 Yes Perhaps in future 1
3, 4 Yes Yes 1
6 ? No 0
7 Yes, infrequently No 0
8 Yes Yes, 10-km squares 2
9 Yes, infrequently Yes 3
10 Yes Yes, being published 2
11 Very little No 3
12 Yes Yes, 5-km 5
13, 14 Yes Published 1991 4
15 Yes Yes, 2-km (with 16) 1
16 Yes See 15 Not specified
18, 19 Yes Yes, 5-km 4+
20 Yes Yes 3
21 Yes Yes See under 18, 19
22 Yes Just completed 5+
23 Yes, infrequently Yes 0
24 Yes No, making index 1
25, 26 Yes Perhaps in future 2+
27, 28 Yes Yes 4+
30 Yes Yes, 2-km 0
31 Yes Yes 0
32 No No 1
33, 34 Yes Yes, 5-km 1
35 Yes No 1
36 Yes, limited Part, 5-km 0
38 Yes No 1
40 Yes Yes Not specified
41 Yes Published 1994 See under 35
42 Yes Red Data account 1
43 Yes Published 1993 See under 42
44 Yes No See under 35
45 Yes Yes 1
46 Yes Yes, 2-km (part, 5-km) 2
47 Yes Part, 5-km 2
48-52 Yes No, but S. part of 48, 5-km 3
53, 54 Yes Yes 5
55 Yes Yes (not Rutland) Uncertain
57 Yes Planned for future 0
58 Some No, local recording 6
60 No Yes, + part of 64 1
61-65 Infrequently No 2
66 Yes No, mainly updating 2
69, 70 Intermittently No 2
72-74 Not yet Perhaps in future 0
76 Infrequently No 0
79, 80 Sporadically Perhaps in future 0
81 Yes Yes, preliminary flora already published 0
82-84 Yes Yes 2
86-88, 99 Infrequently Perhaps in future 0
100 Yes No 1+
H8 Yes No 0
H33, H36-H40 Yes Yes 1

BRC Data
I hope that by the time this article appears Regional Recorders will have received the printouts/disks of BRC data requested for their vice-counties. The first major update of the BRC bryophyte database since production of Atlas of the Bryophytes of Britain and Ireland should take place in 1995.

Dr Jeff Bates, Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY.

 

Recording Matters 10

(Bulletin 66:25-27 (July 1995))

Regional Recorders The following is a list of Regional Recorders for vice-counties in Britain and Ireland. Completed bryophyte recording cards should be sent to the appropriate Recorder. If a vice-county is not listed the records should be sent directly to the Recording Secretary (address below) from whom new recording cards may also be obtained.

(This list is replaced by the up to date list shown above.)

It is a pleasure to welcome new Recorders for v.-cs 5, 59, 67, 68, 89 & 96. The Recording Secretary is always pleased to hear from volunteers who would like to become Regional Recorders – there are still plenty of vacant vice-counties in the less populous regions where much remains to be done!

Recording cards Stocks were exhausted by the end of 1994 but BRC has printed a new batch and these are now available again from the Recording Secretary. Please specify whether you require the SE (RP23) or standard (RP22) versions.

BRC records I apologise for the non-arrival to Regional Recorders of the promised records. Chris Preston tells me that he has been too busy with other projects to give attention to this but he hopes to be able to start sending out the data, bit by bit, over the coming months. Please be patient! I can report that all completed bryophyte cards received by me from Regional Recorders over the past five years were handed over to Chris at BRC on 18 May for update of the computerised bryophyte database.

Dr Jeff Bates, Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY

 

Recording Matters 11

(Bulletin 67: 30-31 (February 1996))

Regional Recorders
A full list of BBS recorders for vice-counties in Britain and Ireland appeared in this column, Bulletin 66. The following new Regional Recorders have recently been appointed:

62: Mr J.M. Blackburn, 6 Bylands Grove, Fairfield, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, TS19 7BG
(Mr Blackburn takes over in v.-c. 62 from Tom Blockeel who has done an excellent job since the Regional Recording scheme was initiated.)
92: Mr K. Raistrick, 1 Drewton Avenue, Heysham, Lancashire, LA3 1NU
17: Mr P.G. Adams, 5 Elm Cottages, Byttom Hill, Mickleham, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6EL
(Address correction.)

New Recording Secretary
By the time this article appears Ron Porley will have succeeded me as Recording Secretary. Many of you will know that Ron works for English Nature and that he is unassuming, but a competent bryologist indeed! I hope that he will receive the generous support of members in continuing our flourishing recording activities that I enjoyed. In future, Regional Recorders should send their completed record cards to Ron who now also holds the stock of new cards.

In my five or so years as Recording Secretary I have enjoyed developing the network of Regional Recorders. I think that we have also just about got over the inertia against further recording that followed publication of Atlas of the Bryophytes of Britain and Ireland. Continued recording is necessary to fill in gaps and to identify future changes in distribution patterns (including extinctions, and invasions of aliens), and it provides a unique meeting point of amateur and professional, so vital to the Society's well being. It is gratifying to see recording activities picking up in different vice counties so that the survey of recording activities that appeared in this column in Bulletin 65 is already out of date for some areas (e.g. Cornwall). I hope that members will support any future 'special' recording projects that are initiated as there is a lot more to 'knowing' bryophytes than simply mapping where they live! This is an area that could be taken a lot further. The development of local groups is a very encouraging feature of the Society's 'recording' activities - if you have felt too intimidated to attend a national meeting, please try to get along to the local meetings (or even help start a new group) where I am sure you will be warmly welcomed and helped in your endeavours to get to grips with mosses and liverworts.

Dr Jeff Bates, Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY

 

Recording Matters 12

(Bulletin 68: 33-36 - August 1996))

To begin, I would like to say a big thanks to my predecessor, Jeff Bates, for all the work he has done over the last five years as Recording Secretary, and for ensuring a smooth handover to me. Since the Regional Recorder network was set up in 1990/91, bryological recording has undergone a renewed momentum with the formation of several local groups and a recording ethos that brings together amateur and professional, beginner and expert, and all things in between.

Recording has for many years been on a 10 km square basis, but with the publication of the Atlases now behind us, the opportunity has arisen to take a look at where we are going in the future. We continue to work within the vice-county system for the publication of new records, and this is always a strong incentive to come up with unexpected finds. Indeed this is the framework for Regional Recorders. However, even though we now have a good understanding of the distribution of bryophytes in Britain, the situation is dynamic and change needs to be monitored. For this reason 10 km, 5 km and even 2 km grids will continue to be important recording units and are most usefully applied by those engaged on producing local floras. We are more aware today of the numerous threats to biodiversity globally and locally. Conservation is an important activity of the Society, and all members can contribute by going out there and recording on a site basis. It is often at the site level that we have any chance at all of defending our bryological heritage. Recording on a site basis is not new, but it has taken on a new imperative. Conservation bodies and individuals need to have access to information that enables them to make informed decisions on the impacts of land-use changes. One of the most serious impediments to effective conservation is ignorance of the value of a particular site for most groups of plants and animals, and that includes the bryological interest. The Bryophyte Site Register, which was begun in the early 1980s, floundered a bit, but was then resurrected in 1994/5 with Gavin Stark working for JNCC. Competing priorities for resources have unfortunately put this project on hold yet again, but as a Society we can continue to contribute by building up a databank on a site by site basis. What is the procedure once you have recorded your site? Several members have already asked me this question. Send your record cards (you should be using the new RP22s and 23s now) to the relevant Regional Recorder for the particular patch in which the site occurs, or, if there is no appointed Regional Recorder as yet, send them direct to me at the address below. All Regional Recorders should send completed and checked cards to me; annually will do or when you see me at a BBS meeting. The Regional Recorder should check the cards to see they are satisfactorily filled in and that there are not any suspect species for the area, and if appropriate any critical or very rare plants checked. Guidance for filling in the cards was given by Chris Preston in Bulletin 59, and for the time being I would just emphasise that when scoring off a species, please do not put a line through the species code as this causes much grief for the hapless inputter! The Regional Recorder should also keep an archive copy of the card which can be passed onto a successor. Thank you to those that have already passed cards on to me, but there must be many more cards out there that are not finding their way to me. Also, it is the responsibility of field meeting organisers to send in a completed set of cards. I can, at least for the time being, supply replacement cards on request.

Recording Matters 13

(Bulletin 69: 41-43 (February 1997))

Since the last Bulletin(68) there have been a few changes to the list of Regional Recorders:

38: Mr T. F. Robinson, Beverley Cottage, Park Lane, Snitterfield, Warwickshire, CV37 0LS
48-52: Mr M. J. M. Yeo, Countryside Council for Wales, Plas Penrhos, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2LQ
111: Mrs R. McCance, West End House, Burray, Orkney, KW17 2SS

I would like to welcome our new Regional Recorders, and thank Tim Blackstock for his stint with VCs 48-52, now handed over to Marcus Yeo. Also, I have been informed by Katie Cocking, that she is looking for someone else to take on VC 100, so if you are interested please let me know. This leaves the following vice-counties unadopted: 37, 39, 56, 71, 75, 85, 90, 91, 93-95, 106-109 and 112. Much of Ireland is also there for the taking.

Some time ago a number of Regional Recorders asked if they could have details of occurrences of bryophytes within their vice-county. The data is held by BRC and has been used to compile the series of atlases. Chris Preston is very pleased to supply data to Regional Recorders, but there have been problems due to staff pressures and other competing priorities for time. However, I understand that those who have already written to Chris requesting data should have something by the time you read this Bulletin. Once this small backlog is out of the way we can start thinking how data exchange can be improved in the future. It would be more efficient if Recorders could accept data on computer disk. However, I have no idea of how many of you have access to a PC and appropriate software. A simple way to accept data is by ASCII file that can then simply be downloaded onto a spreadsheet. An alternative is a database such as ADDITSITE, and the advice I'm getting is that there are some problems with RECORDER. Can you therefore let me know if you would like data on disc in ASCII form. I will then co-ordinate responses so Chris is not inundated with lots of separate requests.

Some members have asked me about the possibility of a Scottish (a better term would be Highland) card. Again BRC is happy to produce something, say a 500 to 1000 print run. If there is the demand for such a card then I will need some help in designing one. You will need to decide whether you want a Highland or Western card, or a combination of both. Remember the more species that are on a card the smaller the type face. You will also need to define the area, either by vice-county or 100 km square. The NE lowlands should clearly be excluded. Chris can then interrogate the database and determine which are the most frequently recorded species and those that are characteristic of the Highlands and/or western seaboard. Do let me know if anyone wants to proceed with this.

Current stocks of cards (RPs 22 and 23) are still available so if you need more do get in touch. I'm also waiting for all the completed cards to eventually find their way to me!

The recording activities of our members are always of interest to the Society as a whole, and I hope to occasionally feature a small contribution from members informing us of what they are doing bryologically. John Blackburn has kindly put pen to paper.

Bryophyte recording in NE Yorkshire (VC 62) (contributed by J.M. Blackburn)

My interest in bryophytes started in 1990. At the same time as learning about these fascinating plants I decided to record occurrences on a tetrad (2 x 2 km square) basis in Cleveland. This coincides with the area covered by the Cleveland Wildlife Trust. After four years of recording in Cleveland I felt the need to extend the work and embarked, somewhat apprehensively, on the remainder of VC 62. This has never before been done in any systematic way. The 5000 records already assembled relating to that part of Cleveland south of the River Tees formed a useful basis for the project. This s tarted seriously in late 1994 using the tetrad recording unit, one that I felt comfortable with. I bought a computer in January 1995 and use Dr Alan Morton's DMap for Windows package, which I am very happy with and which provides for speedy data entry. NE Yorkshire comprises some 903 tetrads. The area includes the whole of the North York Moors National Park occupying 359 square miles. This is where the main bryological interest lies. Outside the National Park the landscape is predominately agricultural, with extensive forestry and mining operations.

There is a long history of bryophyte recording in VC 62. Richard Spruce was very active in the mid 1800s, and many members of the Society have made contributions over the years. The bulk of the records though come from the activities of the Yorkshire Naturalist's Union, founded in 1861. Its records have incorporated details extracted from Baker's North Riding Flora. Over 500 taxa have been recorded in VC 62, though many of these, such as Paludella squarrosa, are sadly long gone. The Y.N.U. holds a field meeting in VC 62 each year and its Bryological Section, led by Tom Blockeel, meets about every second year. The BBS summer meeting of 1967, led by Mary Dalby, was based in Northallerton and added many new records, mainly in the west of the county.

The ultimate aim of the survey is to publish a bryophyte flora for VC 62, although this sounds somewhat pretentious from someone with my limited experience. However, this is thinking many years ahead, as much recording remains to be done. The old records, mainly at the 10 km square level, have been incorporated into the appropriate 10 km file and I am happily working through these hoping to rediscover at least some of them. A total of 339 taxa have been identified since 1990 (including several new VC records) f rom 18000 records in 450 tetrads. Any records from members are welcome, preferably accompanied with grid references!

John M. Blackburn, 6 Bylands Grove, Fairfield, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, TS19 7BG.

If any other members out there are engaged on a particular recording project, either in this country or abroad, do let me know.

Ron Porley, English Nature, Foxhold House, Crookham Common, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 8EL

 

 

Recording Matters 14

(Bulletin 70: 32 (July 1997))

There are two updates to the list of Regional Recorders (given in Bulletin68, with updates in Bulletin 69). We welcome Bryan Humphreys who has now taken over VC 66, with many thanks to Revd Gordon Graham for his services in the past, and Gordon Rothero has kindly taken on VC 108 (address in Bulletin 68).

66: Mr B.M. Humphreys, 10 Maple Crescent, Crook, County Durham, DL15 9LE

There is also a change of address:

67,68: Mr T.S. Wharton, c/o Ms J. McCutcheon, 33 Ennerdale Drive, Watergate Estate, Crook, Co. Durham, DL15 8NT

This now leaves the following vice-counties unadopted: 37, 39, 56, 71, 75, 85, 90, 91, 93-95, 106, 107, 109, 112 and most of Ireland. I reported last time that Katie Cocking is looking to pass VC 100 on, so if anyone would like to take over, or adopt any of the above, do let me know.

In April I took a day out to visit Chris Preston at Monks Wood. This enabled me to see the bryophyte database 'in action' and to discuss with Chris members' needs from BRC. The most pressing urgency is to provide those Regional Recorders who want them, data for their vice-county. In terms of extracting the data all that is required is to nter the appropriate command words and the database does the rest. An example was actually executed while I was there, with the data copied onto a disc in ASCII form. This seems to be the best way of transferring data. Other Regional Recorders should also now have data relevant to their vice-counties. There are also better arrangements in place for entry of new records onto the database, and an update to the atlases will thus be much facilitated.

I deposited a batch of recording cards with BRC, so do keep sending them in to me. If anyone needs any RP22s or RP23s let me know. Much more still needs to be resolved in terms of transfer of data from Regional Recorder to BRC and vice versa, but this is being discussed.

Finally I've had no response to my piece in Bulletin 69 about the possibility of a Highland card. If there is a need for such a card please let me know - I will need help from our recorders in Scotland to ensure we come up with a usable, well-designed recording card.

Ron Porley, English Nature, Foxhold House, Crookham Common, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 8EL

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