BBS > Activities > Meetings and Workshops > Previous >1977
Meetings of the BBS - 1977
Wareham, 30 March - 6 April
The spring meeting was held from 30 March to 6 April at Wareham in Dorset (v.-c. 9), with an excursion in the final day to the New Forest (v.-c. 11 ). About 30 members attended the meeting, but numbers were substantially lower on several days.
31 March. In deplorable weather the cars set off for Swanage, and as members ascended Ballard Down, a cold wind blighted their bryology. Nevertheless, in the shelter of an elder thicket, a few plants of interest were found - Cryphaea heteromalla, Leptodon smithii, Orthotrichum tenellum, Tortula papillosa, Zygodon conoideus and Cololejeunea minutissima. Defeated by the wind, the party crossed the road to Godlingston Hill, recording calcicoles including Bryum torquescens, Phascum curvicolle, Pottia recta, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Scorpiurium circinatum, Seligeria calcarea and S. paucifolia. Shelter was found in a pub for lunch, but the afternoon brought no improvement in the weather. Godlingston Heath had a poor bryophyte flora, but with some bog specialities including Sphagnum pulchrum, Cladopodiella fluitans and (sterile) Cephalozia macrostachya. Dr Pitkin, scuffling in some wet woodland, found Cryptothallus mirabilis.
1 April. The morning took us to Morden Bog, where the weather was wet and high water levels made it hard to see mosses. Nine species of Sphagnum were encountered, and a little Ptilidium pulcherrimum on sallow. In the afternoon, several members went to Piddles Wood in the north of the county, an ancient oak wood on non-calcareous clays, which had a characteristic flora including Dicranum majus, Hylocomium brevirostre, Rhytidiadelphus loreus and Scapania nemorea. Other members visited the banks of the River Stour by Hod Hill, recording Bryum donianum, Cinclidotus mucronatus, Leptodon smithii c.fr. and Tortula latifolia c.fr. Lower down the Stour, near Durweston, another party recorded Bryum flaccidum, Zygodon viridissimus var. vulgaris, Metzgeria fruticulosa s. str. and M. temperata.
2 April. First stop was Oakers Wood near Moreton, an ancient oak wood on non-calcareous soil. The bryophytes of the wood were not remarkable, but members were pleased to see Pulmonaria longifolia in some quantity. Dr. Whitehouse found an arable field with Bryum klinggraeffii, Funaria fascicularis, Riccia glauca and R. sorocarpa. Briants Puddle Heath, nearby, supported Bryum bornholmense and Calypogeia sphagnicola. Portland, in the afternoon, was well known bryologically and not expected to produce anything new; but Bryum canariense and Cololejeunea rossettiana at Church Ope Cove were new for the county. Other finds were much as on previous occasions (cf. Trans. BBS, 1970, p. 213), but we missed Southbya nigrella in spite of careful searching. In the evening a council meeting was held at Furzebrook Research Station.
3 April. On the Free Day, parties went in various directions. One member went to Durlston Head near Swanage, recording Pottia crinita, P. heimii, P. wilsonii and Pterygoneurum ovatum. Another party visited the Army Ranges near Tyneham. The country was pleasant; the bryophytes unremarkable. Much of the grassland was little grazed and subject to fires. Nevertheless, Rhytidiadelphus loreus was unexpectedly found in chalk grassland among the ramparts of Flowers Barrow. Only after examining it did members observe that it was guarded by unexploded shells, two intact and one with explosive spilling out. Moving on rapidly, the same party visited heathland on the Ranges near Povington where Mr Wallace found Dicranum spurium, and stopped by Great Wood, Creech, where he found Eurhynchium schleicheri. Other members visited the South Haven peninsula near Studland, recording Brachythecium mildeanum and Cryptothallus mirabilis. To complete the diversity of the Free Day there was also a visit to the New Forest, where Isopterygium seligeri and Lepidozia sylvatica were found in Mark Ash Wood, and Fossombronia pusilla var. maritima, Frullania fragilifolia and Pallavicinia lyellii at Wood Crates.
4 April. First stop was Newton Heath, where there were old clay pits among planted conifers. The spoil was evidently toxic, and the flora consequently limited. Drepanocladus fluitans c.fr. , Cephaloziella starkei, Lophozia bicrenata, and confusingly inter-mixed Cladopodiella fluitans and Gymnocolea inflata were observed in the pits. Tritomaria exsectiformis was seen on sandy peaty banks by a forest road. In the afternoon, Chapman's Pool, Purbeck provided more diversity, with Eurhynchium megapolitanum, Pottia crinita, P. davalliana, P. lanceolata, P. recta, P. starkeana, Rhynchostegiella curviseta, Tortella nitida, Tortula marginata, T. vahliana and Cololejeunea minutissima.
5 April. The final excursion, to the New Forest began with an examination of Wilverley Bog, which supported Splachnum ampullaceum, Calypogeia sphagnicola, Cephalozia macrostachya (female), Cladopodiella fluitans, Lepidozia setacea, Riccardia latifrons and nine species of Sphagnum, including S. contortum, S. subsecundum s. str. and S. teres. Finally, we went to the Rufus Stone, like Portland a famous bryophyte locality. Local specialities Hyocomium flagellare. Zygodon forsteri, Z. viridissimus var. vulgaris, and Saccogyna viticulosa were duly refound; Polytrichum aurantiacum was detected new to the vice-county.
The Society had visited Wareham in 1930 and made a very similar range of excursions. Then, they were later in the month and the weather had been better. "Sitting still on the sunny hillside" wrote Miss Armitage (Bryologist, May 1931, p. 45) "it was pretty to watch the lizards twinkling in and out of some fallen logs, and tiger beetles in the grass. " Our own experiences were more of driving rain and sloshing about in wellies. But the area has retained its bryophytes. Low air pollution leaves Leptodon smithii, Leucodon sciuroides, Cryphaea heteromalla and Lejeunea ulicina still common on trees. The heaths still have abundant Campylopus brevipilus and Sphagnum pulchrum: Cladopodiella fluitans is still frequent. The drought of 1976 had caused a few bad fires; Hartland Moor was burnt to a frazzle. But on the whole its effects were not visible except in the New Forest, where there had been massive mortality of Pellia epiphylla along streamsides, with only slight recovery in the subsequent wet winter.
M. O. HILL.
About a dozen members and friends joined the first week of the meeting which was based at Pitlochry and made use of facilities at Kindrogan Field Centre. The majority of sites visited were on calcareous ground with a wide range of altitude and a number of interesting discoveries were made.
24 July: Glen Tilt (lower) 27/86 (v.c. 89)
This part of the Tilt Valley is mainly in limestone and has a quite impressive gorge. Dykes of lamprophyre occur within the limestone and provide a rather more acidic substrate. There was a moderately persistent drizzle early in the day but this cleared up after lunch. This part of the glen is notable for the considerable amounts of Orthothecium rufescens and O. intricatum on the rock faces, often associated with Cratoneuron, encrusted with thick calcareous tufa. Anthelia juratzkana was found at a remarkably low altitude (800ft) growing on a moist outcrop of limestone and Ptilium crista-castrensis was seen in one of the conifer plantations above: the gorge, along with Dicranodontium denudatum.
25 July: Glen Loch and Loch Loch cliffs 27/96 (v.c. 89)
The area is extremely complex geologically but again the party concentrated on calcareous areas (calc-schists and graphitic schists) and base-rich flushes. Unfortunately, even with the permission of the landowner to take our vehicles up to Daldhu, about 3 miles from Loch Loch, we did not manage to reach the richest areas at the northern end of the Loch, but a great deal of useful material was seen. Myurella julacea and the var. scabrifolia were seen on dry earthy ledges, mixed with a number of species of Encalypta: M. julacea was fairly common but the variety occurred mainly as isolated stems and was a new county record. The abundance of Pseudoleskea catenulata was quite remarkable and Funaria obtusa was found in a number of places together with Encalypta rhabdocarpa c. spor. Earthy crevices were searched thoroughly for Stegonia latifolia, which had been found in the area, and Desmatodon leucostoma, but to no avail. On the way back to the cars the base-rich flushes were briefly examined and provided Catoscopium nigritum, Meesia uliginosa and Amblyodon dealbatus for our mapping card, growing in handsome tussocks of Gymnostomum aeruginosum.
26 July (morning): Edintian 28/36; and (afternoon): Tomphubil and Lochan an Daimh 27/75 (v. c. 88)
Edintian and Tulach Hill have several interesting habitats and Rhytidium rugosum is recorded from dry limestone areas on the latter, but the site was not found. Edintian has some calcareous flushes and a somewhat derelict raised bog (Cladopodiella francisci and Sphagnum imbricatum were found here). Good material of Mnium seligeri and Dicranella staphylina was found on the banks of a drainage ditch by Miss Hooper and Mr. Townsend but generally the area offered little else of interest. After lunch we visited Phubil, a disused limestone quarry and limekiln which is under threat of development for recreational purposes. The site is not remarkable bryologically but is noted for the occurrence of Gentianella amarella ssp. druceana in one of its few localities; the main reason for our visit was to provide the Nature Conservancy Council with a detailed bryophyte list for their records.
We then travelled a few miles to Lochan an Daimh, north of Schichallion. This is an interesting area with good Dalradian limestone pavement and calcareous flushes in a mosaic with Calluna and Pteridium. A little to the west is a small area of birch wood which has developed on limestone pavement covered with a thin layer of drift. The area yielded a good selection of Barbula spp. and Entodon orthocarpus was almost as abundant as Hypnum cupressiforme var. tectorum and H. cupressiforme var. lacunosum. Some members collected Tortella tortuosa c. spor. and the differences between the bryophyte communities of the exposed clints and the sheltered and often deep grikes were seen to good advantage.
27 July: Schichallion 27/75 (v.c. 88)
Most of the party returned to the Schichallion area and looked at some of the high-level calcareous areas which turned out to be very interesting. A total of 108 mosses and 55 hepatics was recorded including Anoectangium warburgii, Cinclidium stygium and several interesting species of Scapania including S. scandica. The old record for Trematodon ambiguus, once found in a tuft of Bryum alpinum, could not be refound in spite of careful searching in likely sites. The limestone was north-facing and both damper and higher up the mountain than in the areas visited the previous day; as a consequence of this Myurella and Pseudoleskea were not seen, although both occur on calcareous schist rocks at a similar altitude on Creag ne Chailleach and other places in the Lawers area, a few miles to the south. Acrocladium trifarium was found in some abundance in a base-flushed mire.
Two members of the party went to Killiecrankie 27/96 (v.c. 89) to investigate the way in which the bryophyte flora was affected by the increasing public use of the area which was owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Killiecrankie is predominantly Quercus petraea-Betula woodland with little calcareous influence apart from the stones and mortar of the railway viaduct. Fortunately the public use of the area appears to have been restricted to areas along paths and by the R. Garry and the bryoflora does not seem to have suffered unduly.
28 July: Glen Tilt (upper) 27/87 and 27/97 (v.c. 89)
It had been intended to took at Ben Dearg but the consensus of the party was that a visit should be paid to the upper reaches of Glen Tilt. The area around Auchgobhal was rather dry and few hepatics were found apart from Solenostoma levieri and Plectocolea subelliptica; Anoectangium warburgii was found by some members. The best ground was found on the crags to the NE of Forest Lodge (Craig Mhor), with small areas of Dryas-heath just above the river (expertly forded without incident by the party). Just above the Dryas were bands of mica - graphitic schists interspersed with bands of more acidic material. Here, a number of interesting species of Pohlia were found, together with more Myurella julacea and Pseudoleskea catenulata; Pterogonium gracile, Ulota phyllantha and Pterigynandrum filiforme were seen by several of the party and Dr. Watson collected the now rare Bryum uliginosum.
29 July: Ben Vrackie 27/96 (v.c. 89)
Heterocladium heteropterum was seen on some sycamores and lime trees by the car park and after a pleasant walk over moorland on which we gradually gained height. Acrocladium sarmentosum and A. trifarium were seen in a peaty area below the dammed lochan. The party (inadvertently!) split up and searched the peak for basic ground - in this case, mainly epidorite. Cinclidium stygium was seen in a flushed area and Mr. Crundwell found Tayloria lingulata. Tetraplodon mnioides, occasionally found in the area, turned up in several places, including the corpse of a vole. 'Pohliophiles' found 8 species including Pohlia proligera, P. gracilis and P. bulbifera and hepatics were well represented. Scapania degenii, S. scandica, Barbilophozia quadriloba and Cynodontium tenellum were seen. Several members (the hardier ones) enjoyed a swim in the lochan on the way back.
During the course of the week, five 10 km grid squares were visited and because the area was well-known bryologically very few new county records were made. The meeting seemed to be very successful, partly because the group was quite small and tended to keep together; the less-experienced bryologists certainly benefitted from the field and laboratory work. We were also very fortunate in having good weather for the majority of the time. Our thanks are due to the landowners who gave their permission to collect material from their estates and to use private roads; to Mrs. Paton and Mr. Crundwell for devoting much of their time in the field and the lab. to helping the less experienced members, and to Brian Brookes and his staff at Kindrogan for helping with the organization of the meeting and providing facilities which were appreciated by the participants.
P. D. COKER
On 30 July Dr. Agneta Burton and I drove north for the second week of the meeting based on Elgin and organized by Dr. Roland Richter. Mrs. Joan Appleyard, Mr. Michael Fletcher, his wife and family were the only other people present. The majority of places visited were in Morayshire (v.c. 95), the first day being spent on the coast. Crossing a dry heathy slope at Covesea W. of Lossiemouth, to the shore near Gow's Castle where the sea has eroded the basic triassic sandstone cliffs into spectacular stacks and caves, we passed Pottia heimii on the path, and Grimmia maritima associated with Ulota phyllantha on boulders on the upper shore. Plants on the moist sandstone and on vertical dripping cliffs behind a mass of Urtica dioica, included Leiocolea turbinata, Amblyodon dealbatus, Amblystegium compactum and fruiting Gymnostomum calcareum. Dr. Richter showed us a few plants of Mertensia maritima on the shore before we retreated from the incoming tide and the clamour of nesting seabirds.
After lunch we examined part of the extensive old gravel works W. of Kingston, now partly colonized by Calluna vulgaris and, in the shallow hollows, by Salix spp. Here we were joined by the Fletcher family all of whom happily took part in the search for bryophytes. Haplomitrium hookeri, Preissia quadrata, Riccardia incurvata, Aongstroemia longipes, Drepanocladus aduncus and Campylium polygamum occur in some of the damper depressions, but the most abundant species are C. stellatum and Scorpidium scorpioides. Lophozia excisa and L. bicrenata, scattered in drier, less densely vegetated areas, were seen again in Lossie Forest when we explored a flooded gravel pit (with Mnium rugicum), and old sandpit (with Tritomaria exsectiformis) and the surrounding conifer plantation in the area N. of Speyslaw. Barbilophozia hatcheri, which grows on sandy banks here, subsequently proved to be a common plant on rocks in this part of Scotland, whereas B. floerkei was recorded only once.
On 1 August the venue for our single excursion into Easterness (v.c. 96) was Loch Loy in the western part of the Culbin conifer forest. In deciduous woodland south of the loch we saw a few plants of Goodyera repens and Corallorhiza trifida; Scapania umbrosa and Tritomaria exsectiformis were noted on rotten logs and Ptilidium pulcherrimum on a Betula trunk. Despite the high level of the water in the loch and the flushes and marshes on the margin we managed to slosh along the sea shore, enjoying what became a nature ramble thanks to the presence of the Fletcher children. Some of the flushes are base-rich with Cratoneuron commutatum and Scorpidium scorpioides, whilst Acrocladium cordifolium, Mnium rugicum. Sphagnum fimbriatum and S. squarrosum are present in the marshy areas. Much of the moist sandy shore was too densely vegetated for small bryophytes but a few plants of Haplomitrium hookeri were seen, and Riccardia incurvata in an unusual association with R. latifrons.
Dr. Richter then led us along forestry tracks south of the lane (with Diplophyllum obtusifolium and Pohlia bulbifera) to a small wet heath. In the 1930's the area consisted of completely bare peat but is now covered in an almost continuous stand of Sphagnum auriculatum. On the sandy banks of a water-filled pit, Mrs. Appleyard found Pohlia camptotrachela new to the vice-county.
Finally we visited an area of concretionary limestone in Old Red Sandstone exposed in shaded disused quarries and on the east bank of the R. Findhorn near Mundole 3 km S. W. of Forres (v. c. 95). Here we saw Barbula reflexa and Trichostomum crispulum near the river, Brachythecium glareosum and Gymnostomum calcareum on an old wall, Campylium calcareum on isolated blocks, Mnium stellare on a bank, and sheets of Eucladium verticillatum (some of it fruiting) on a vertical rock face. Barbula hornschuchiana and large quantities of Riccia sorocarpa occur on the welt-trodden path which is lined by masses of the magnificent Heracleum mantegazzianum.
On 2 August four of us drove to Bridge of Brown in the hills N, W. of Tomintoul, from where we explored the Allt lomadaidh valley, ascending to the steep-sided part at about 400 m. Most of the rock is siliceous schist and granulite but small quantities of metamorphic limestone are exposed in the upper part of the valley where the local drift is basic, and the general vegetation contrasts sharply with the Calluna-clad peaty slopes flanking the stream lower down. On the N. E.-facing slope there are several base-rich springs and flushes with Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Leiocolea bantriensis, Scapania degenii, Ditrichum flexicaule, Philonotis calcarea, Amblyodon dealbatus, Meesia uliginosa and hummocks of Catoscopium nigritum, as well as abundant Cratoneuron commutatum, Ctenidium molluscum, Drepanocladus revolvens and Scorpidium scorpioides. Ulota drummondii and several species of Orthotrichum were seen in deciduous woodland in the lower N. E. part of the valley, but trees are replaced further up by extensive stretches of Juniperus communis, with Lophozia longidens and Orthotrichum speciosum on some of the shrubs. Antitrichia curtipendula, Hookeria lucens, Plagiothecium denticulatum var. obtusifolium and Grimmia donniana were noted on non-basic block screes, G. torquata, Isopterygium pulchellum, Pterygynandrum filiforme and Metzgeria pubescens on limestone, Acrocladium giganteum, A. sarmentosum and Mnium rugicum in some of the marshy areas, and a few stems of Barbilophozia kunzeana amongst turf. Blasia pusilla, Plectocolea subelliptica, Riccardia incurvata, Solenostoma pumilum, and Pohlia camptotrachela occur on sand or gravel near the stream, and in one place P. bulbifera, P. gracilis, P. muyldermansii and P. proligera were associated with Atrichum tenellum and A. undulatum. Cinclidium stygium grows on a moist base-rich turfy slope in the upper part of the valley, and there is luxuriant Marchantia alpestris in a similar situation near by. Unfortunately it was raining hard by the time we reached these calcareous slopes and we were unable to work them adequately. It was during our long walk back through thick Calluna that the tragedy of the meeting occurred. Mrs. Appleyard stumbled and badly damaged an ankle. With great courage she reached the car unaided but most regrettably she was unable to attend any subsequent excursions. Our sympathy and concern did nothing to assuage her frustration and disappointment.
Thus, on 3 August only three of us visited the gorge at about 300 m altitude near Huntly's Cave 4½ km N. of Grantown-on-Spey. Our first find in the lay-by where we had parked, was a saturated wallet containing bank notes and other treasures. Its safe return by post to its owner produced a small reward for the President! Intrusive granite is exposed on the roadside here, whilst the rocks and boulders near and in the stream consist mostly of nonbasic gneisses and schist, but base-rich water seeps over some of the rock cuttings beside the disused railway line partway down the slope. Deciduous trees and conifer plantations help to shelter the valley which is reminiscent of more western sites, with luxuriant ferns and woodland mosses such as Hylocomium splendens, Ptilium crista-castrensis and Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus. Bazzania trilobata, Lophozia longidens, Scapania gracilis, Ptilidium pulcherrimum (with sporophytes), Antitrichia curtipendula and Plagiothecium laetum occur on boulders, P. curvifolium, Riccardia palmata and Scapania umbrosa on rotten wood, and Trichostomum tenuirostre on rocks in the stream where Plectocolea obovata is abundant. Steep earthy banks yielded P. subelliptica, Dicranella rufescens and Bryum riparium.
During a quick look at an area of degenerate heath bordering Dorback Burn near the old Dava railway station, several common Sphagna were added to the list, and small populations of Cephalozia leucantha, Lepidozia trichoclados, Mylia anomala, Odontoschisma denudatum, O. sphagni and Sphenolobus minutus were seen on horrible algal-covered peat cuttings.
Mr. Fletcher joined us on 4 August when we explored the east bank of the R. Findhorn in the picturesque vicinity of Randolph's Leap and its junction with the R. Divie. The numerous trees here include several interesting conifers, some of them of splendid proportions, and the path down to where the R. Findhorn narrows dramatically, passes a stone marking the terrifying fifty foot height of the 1829 floods. Much of the exposed rock is nonbasic gneiss but close examination of small areas of base-rich schist revealed Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Leiocolea heterocolpos, Scapania mucronata and Isopterygium pulchellum scattered among Anoectangium compactum and Amphidium mougeotii. Other plants noted on rocks by the river included Cirriphyllum crassinervium, Grimmia hartmanii, Isothecium holtii, Pterigynandrum filiforme, Ulota hutchinsiae, Gymnomitrion obtusum (at an unusually low altitude of 60 m), Hygrobiella laxifolia, Lophozia alpestris, Scapania subalpina, abundant Lophocolea cuspidata on silt, and a small quantity of Dicranella crispa on a sandy ledge. On the way back to Elgin, Dr. Richter took us on a slight detour to see Orthotrichum speciosum on the bole of a roadside Fraxinus.
5 August On our final day Dr. Richter showed us Orthotrichum obtusifolium growing with Tortula papillosa and T. laevipila on an Ulmus at Fochabers, and we stopped in Speymouth conifer forest to look at a small, deep ravine in Old Red Sandstone conglomerate below Gallows Hill. Nowellia curvifolia and Riccardia latifrons were seen on a rotten log, Campylium protensum and Gyroweisia tenuis (both with sporophytes) on rocks above the stream, and Brachythecium mildeanum on a roadside bank; the last two species were new to the county, bringing our total records for v.c. 95 up to thirty.
The three of us spent most of the day in Banffshire (v.c. 94) in which two of us had made a short stop on our way to Elgin. This was at a rather unpromising site near Bridge of Derrybeg 3 km S. W. of Charlestown of Aberlour, but Fossombronia incurva, Riccia sorocarpa, Pohlia bulbifera and P. gracilis were found near the road, and Dr. Burton located Cryptothallus mirabilis in the small Betula wood. On 5 August we visited Tarnash S. E. of Keith where a stream flows north through deciduous woodland and cascades over an outcrop of metamorphic limestone. Metzgeria pubescens amongst Ctenidium molluscum, and Trichostomum crispulum were seen on limestone near the waterfall, Leiocolea muelleri and Rhynchostegiella pumila on earthy banks, and a few stems of Amblystegiella confervoides in a crevice at the base of one of the rocks. Calypogeia arguta, Scapania scandica and Pohlia delicatula grow on banks beside the path, and typical woodland mosses include Cirriphyllum piliferum.
We then explored the old limestone workings in the valley to the west of Meikie Ardrone, E. of Keith, where deciduous woodland contains a large patch of Paris quadrifolia. Metzgeria pubescens on metamorphic limestone here is associated with Distichium capillaceum and Scapania aspera, whilst S. aequiloba, Lophozia excisa and Leiocolea badensis are present on earthy base-rich spoil, and Grimmia stricta is one of several mosses on rocky waste.
Our final stop in Banffshire was at a roadside cutting on the vice-county boundary W. of Fife Keith where a few plants of Funaria pulchella were found on earthy rock ledges. This was not only one of our nineteen new records for v. c. 94, but was also new to Scotland.
The total number of species seen during the week was not expected to be particularly high since the rainfall in this part of north-east Scotland is very low; this was sometimes difficult to appreciate as it rained for part of every day except the first. Also, since we did not ascend above 400 m (1300 ft), we did not see any of the montane species characteristic of the Cairngorms. Nevertheless, we found several interesting additions to the flora of the area, and recorded in fifteen 10 km grid squares. Our lists, however, would have been more comprehensive had there been more participants. The paucity of members was also a disappointment to Dr. Richter who had taken so much trouble over the arrangements for the meeting, for which we were very grateful.
JEAN A. PATON.
The annual meeting was held on the weekend of 1-2 October in Beaumont Hall situated in the Botanic Gardens of Leicester University. About sixty members and guests attended on the Saturday when the President introduced seven speakers, summaries of whose papers are given here.
D. GLYN JONES (Nature Conservancy Council Aberystwyth): "Aspects of growth and development in Sphagnum cuspidatum."
The production of innovations on mature Sphagnum shoots was discussed. An innovation is a branch of unlimited growth resembling the parent Sphagnum shoot in that it has a comal tuft and lateral branches in groups, known as fascicles. As Sphagnum shoots die and disintegrate from below, innovations become separated from the parent axis and give rise to new individuals. The frequency with which innovations are produced determines the extent to which Sphagnum is able to exploit its habitat and it is surprising that so little attention has been paid to the factors affecting innovation production the Sphagnum shoot. Results of decapitation experiments suggested that the apex was exerting some sort of control over innovation production, possibly a hormonal type of control.
Since algal infestion of culture solutions containing nitrates hampered experiments with mature shoots, experiments with aseptically-produced primary shoots (shoots from protonemata) were carried out. Originally, the aim of the work described was to investigate the factors affecting the initiation and development of innovations on primary shoots. However, difficulty with interpreting growth of primary shoots in liquid culture led to a study of the developmental morphology of the Sphagnum shoot as a whole.
Shoots grown in balanced inorganic culture solution, with the concentration of ions resembling that of bog water, showed little or no inclination to branch. However. with increased nitrate concentrations branching increased, although these shoots did not resemble mature shoots in that the branches continued growing and comal tufts failed to develop.
Other investigators have failed to grow Sphagnum shoots of normal appearance in liquid culture, unless some organic carbon source was present but no explanation for this requirement was suggested.
The addition of 1% sucrose to low nitrate cultures did not produce Sphagnum shoots of normal appearance. However, addition to high nitrate cultures produced shoots of normal appearance with comal tufts and branches of limited growth, in fascicles.
The production of a great variety of extracellular substances including both simple and complex polysaccharides by a large number of taxonomically diverse algae is now well established.
On testing some inorganic culture solution, containing primary shoots, for soluble carbohydrates by the Anthrone test, a positive result was obtained. The only source of carbohydrate was the Sphagnum shoots themselves. It was concluded that, to grow normally in liquid culture, Sphagnum shoots require sugars to compensate for that lost by leakage. Further evidence for this was that Sphagnum shoots growing into air above inorganic culture medium showed normal growth on the aerial portions.
In a final experiment with S. papillosum, in the presence of high nitrate and high sucrose, 30% more branches were produced than in any other treatment - and only in the presence of high nitrate was a significant proportion of the branches innovations.
It is difficult to relate these experiments directly to the field condition because the concentrations of nitrate found to be effective are relatively so high. It should be remembered, however, that the typical habitat for S. cuspidatum is a shallow depression on the bog surface which is not permanently flooded. During wet periods, therefore, the rain which has a considerably higher concentration of nitrate than bog water, in effect flows through the Sphagnum mat and it is well known that ions are absorbed more efficiently from flowing than from stagnant water. Also, it is likely that the growth-rate of shoots in the lower temperatures of field conditions is slower than in experimental conditions, with the result that more efficient use can be made of the nitrogen absorbed, and furthermore there will be other N2 sources, such as ammonium, in the bog system. So far as sugars are concerned concentrations in excess of 0.01% have been measured in cold water extracts of peat, but because the shoots are exposed for much of the time leakage should be less severe than in water cultures. Also, long unbranched shoots, resembling primary shoots, have been found in permanent pools on ombrotrophic bogs.
The results presented indicated that high levels of nitrogen and sugar together stimulate the development of lateral meristems and, at the same time, limit the period of activity of some, which thus become fascicular branches and promote the activity of others, which become innovations. But so far we have not been able to throw light on the mechanism which controls the type of branch into which a lateral meristem develops.
Dr. D. J. BOATMAN (Department of Botany, University of Hull): "Experiments on the growth of protonemata of Sphagnum papillosum."
Protonemata were grown on cellophane discs supported at the surface of a balanced inorganic culture solution in 25 ml beakers ('Boatman & Lark, 1971). Previous work in which the concentration of the whole nutrient solution and that of individual ions was varied indicated that the growth of protonemata was directly related to the concentration of phosphate and indirectly related to the concentration of calcium. Subsequent investigations revealed that although the pH of the solutions was only slightly affected by autoclaving in the absence of cellophane discs, they were considerably and differentially affected by the presence of discs. Initially the pH of all solutions was about 5.1 but after autoclaving in culture beakers containing cellophane that of the most dilute solutions exceeded 7.0 while that of the most concentrated was about 5.8.
When solutions and the cellophane discs were autoclaved separately the pH of the diluted and undiluted solution was similar even after the culture chambers had been assembled, the range being 5.8 to 6.7. The addition of small quantities of 0.01N hydrochloric acid had a differential effect on the growth of protonemata although the effect on the pH of the various culture solutions was similar. It was concluded that the acid might be having a differential effect on the amounts of metal ions adsorbed on the cellophane discs and this in turn might be affecting the growth of the protonemata.
This hypothesis was tested by treating cellophane discs from the culture chambers with 0.05N nitric acid and determining the amounts of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium in the leachate. The amounts of all ions in the leachate decreased with increasing dilution of the culture solution and, at all concentrations, with the addition of hydrochloric acid to the culture solution. Only the amount of calcium in the leachate was affected more by the addition of hydrochloric acid to the culture solution than dilution of the solution as a whole.
Since the addition of acid did not affect the concentration of metal ions in the solutions, diluted or undiluted, it was considered that the protonemata must be depending on adsorbed ions for their growth. Both adsorbed calcium and growth of protonemata are more affected by the addition of acid than dilution of the solution. It is unlikely that the growth of protonemata is directly related to the amount of available calcium but other ions present at low concentrations which are more likely to affect growth, particularly iron, might behave in a similar way to calcium. This has yet to be tested.
Experiments on the growth of protonemata completely immersed in culture solution have also been carried out. No leafy buds developed in inorganic solution but in similar cultures containing glucose at a concentration of 1% almost all of the protonemata produced buds.
Boatman, D. J. & Lark, P. M. (1971). Inorganic nutrition of the protonemata of Sphagnum papillosum Lindb., S. magellanicum Brid. and S. cuspidatum Ehrh. New Phytol. 70, 1053-9.
Dr. M. A. S. BURTON (Chelsea College, London University): "Heavy metals in aquatic bryophytes."
Metal accumulation by terrestrial bryophytes in ore-bearing and polluted habitats is well known, but less information is available on aquatic species. Analysis of bryophytes collected from rivers and streams in a lead-zinc mining area in Wales has demonstrated their capacity to accumulate high concentrations of zinc: up to 7,000 ppm/dry weight in Philonotis fontana; and of lead: up 16,000 ppm/dry weight in Solenostoma crenulatum.
Investigations on the localisation of zinc in aquatic bryophytes showed that the distribution between soluble and insoluble fractions was 10-20% soluble and 80-90% insoluble. There have been similar reports for lead in terrestrial bryophytes, and in algae and grasses zinc has also been shown to be present chiefly in the cell walls. Zinc in the soluble fraction was found to be cationic. A wide range of tolerance to metals is indicated by the occurrence of the bryophytes in waters polluted with up to 50 ppm zinc and 6 ppm. lead and the extent of accumulation was found to reflect the state of metal pollution in the water.
Dr. M. E. NEWTON (Stalybridge, Cheshire): "Environmental factors controlling sexual reproduction in mosses of the genus Mnium."
Although Mnium hornum and M. undulatum, are both dioecious, sexual reproduction is rare only in the latter, apparently due to the wide separation of male and female inflorescences. Male plants of M. undulatum are outnumbered by female plants but this alone can not account for the rarity of sporophytes, since most populations are potentially bisexual. The difference appears to be related to male inflorescence development as well. Thus, the regular annual production of male and female inflorescences of M. hornum is determined by an endogenous rhythm, whereas M. undulatum is critically controlled by photoperiod and temperature. Stimuli required by male plants of the latter species are much more exacting than those necessary for female inflorescence production and are such that they are likely to be received by few actively growing male plants in. the field. Spatial separation of male and female gametes of M. undulatum appears, therefore, to be directly related not only to the unequal sex ratio but also to the lower fertility of male than female plants. Since environmental factors determine the frequency of sexual reproduction in M. undulatum, and hence of genetic recombination, they must also control the variability and to some extent the further evolution of the species.
Dr. J. GORHAM (Department of Biological Sciences, Portsmouth Polytechnic): "Recent research on lunularic acid."
Lunularic acid, a bibenzyl compound originally isolated as a dormancy factor in Lunularia cruciata, has been identified together with lunularin in extracts of a wide range of liverwort species. It was not detected in any of the members of the Anthocerotales which were examined, nor in any of the mosses. This finding supports previous chemotaxonomic evidence for the separation of the Anthocerotales from the other orders of liverworts. Contrary to earlier reports, neither lunularic acid nor lunularin could be detected in algae. Traces of lunularic acid, lunularin, 3,4'-dihydroxystilbene and a bound form of lunularic acid, possibly the 3-beta-D-glucopyranoside, were identified in extracts of the roots of Hydrangea macrophylla.
Lunularic acid was found in all parts of Marchantia and Preissia and in sporophytes of Pellia epiphylla. The greatest concentration (more than 600 µg/g fresh weight) was found in the young thallus tips of Conocephalum conicum grown in continuous light. In general the quantities of lunularic acid present increased at higher light intensities and decreased in older tissues. Members of the Jungermanniales contained smaller quantities of lunularic acid (between 1 and 50 µg/g fresh weight). When thallose liverworts were grown in different daylengths, in which a basic 8 hr photoperiod was extended by light of the same intensity, both fresh weight increase and lunularic acid content were greater in continuous light. In these conditions either lunularic acid was not inhibitory or the inhibition was overcome by the products of photosynthesis.
When tested in Marchantia and Lunularia gemmaling assays and the cress root growth test, lunularic acid was not found to be more effective an inhibitor than a wide range of similar compounds. Indeed, lunularin was slightly more active than lunularic acid. No correlation between structure and inhibitory activity was observed for a number of analogues of lunularic acid.
Attempts to relate the inhibitory activity of lunularic acid and its analogues to their ability to modify indol-3ylacetic acid oxidase (IAA-oxidase) activity were frustrated by the ambiguous nature of results obtained from in vitro experiments. Both stimulation and inhibition of the lAA-oxidase activity of horseradish peroxidase were observed, depending on the nature and concentration of other cofactors. In the presence of 2,4-dichlorophenol, polyphenols were generally inhibitory to IAA-oxidase activity whereas carboxylic acids, monophenols and non-phenolic compounds had little effect. Whilst the IAA-oxidase modifying effect of strong acid fractions of extracts of Conocephalum was attributable to lunularic acid, a stronger modifier, which had the properties of a phenolic glycoside, was found in aqueous extracts. Inhibition of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity by lunularic acid was also observed.
The proposed biosynthesis of lunularic acid and lunularin via the phenyl-propanoid pathway was supported by the demonstration of the enzymes phenyl-alanine ammonia lyase, cinnamic acid-4-hydroxylase and lunularic acid decarboxylase in Conocephalum, and by tracer studies. 14C-phenylalanine was more readily incorporated into lunularic acid than was tyrosine. Over 16 hours, 12.5% of phenylalanine fed to Conocephalum was converted to lunularic acid. Time-course and pulse-labelling experiments showed that radioactivity derived from 14C-phenylalanine remained high in lunularic acid and lunularin over a period of 144 hours, whereas radioactivity in 14C-lunularic acid declined rapidly when it was fed to Conocephalum. An analysis of material which had been incubated with 14C-lunularic acid revealed that most of the radioactivity had been incorporated into an insoluble residue which was resistant to attack by lytic enzymes and solvents.
The role of lunularic acid as an endogenous dormancy factor in all liverworts is not established. The compartmentation of lunularic acid metabolism within cells of liverworts renders interpretation of extraction and assay experiments hazardous.
Dr. M. C. F. PROCTOR (Department of Biological Sciences, The University, Exeter): "Structure, function and environment in some poikilohydric bryophytes."
Bryophytes share the poikilohydric habit with many other plants and animals, e.g. many bacteria, lichens, seeds, nematodes and rotifers. Tolerance of desiccation is a prerequisite for all, and features of response to desiccation may be common to widely differing organisms.
Behaviour in relation to water during moist periods is also important in the biology of poikilohydric bryophytes. Species of continuously moist habitats (e.g. Pellia epiphylla, Hookeria lucens) reach maximum photosynthesis only at water contents in the region of 500% to 1000% of dry weight; respiration is little affected until very much lower water contents are reached. In such species as Tortula intermedia and Anomodon viticulosus photosynthesis and respiration show a much more nearly parallel response to water content, but with a strongly marked decline in photosynthesis at high water contents due to the superincumbent water interfering with diffusion of carbon dioxide. It is suggested that strongly poikilohydric species possess adaptations that tend to regulate the distribution of water to the photosynthesising shoots and maximise the time at near-optimal water content. The papillose cells of Tortula intermedia provide a system of capillary spaces covering the surface. The volume of the spaces is too small for significant water storage in an exposed situation, but calculation shows that they provide a conducting system adequate to balance high rates of evaporation in the field as long as water is freely available at the leaf base. Thuidium tamariscinum combines papillose abaxial leaf surfaces and the conducting 'wick' of paraphyllia on the stems with storage in the non-papillose concavities of the branch leaves; Cololejeunea rossettiana shows a somewhat similar combination of features. In bryophytes with smooth leaf surfaces conduction through the cell walls is likely to be important, and this may be a major factor in the evolution of the thick cell walls of many species of dry habitats. At low wind speed, low radiation income and high humidity (as in sheltered woods) evaporation rates may be very much lower, and local storage of water becomes a viable adaptation for prolonging periods of near-optimal cell water content. Structures such as the "water sacs" formed by the postical lobes of the small Lejeuneaceae may function in this way.
Dr. S. R. EDWARDS (The Museum, Manchester): "Taxonomic implications of cell patterns in haplolepidous moss peristomes."
Although a 16:24 PPL:IPL ratio had previously been noted in transverse sections of haplolepidous moss capsules by Evans and Hooker, Kreulen, and Mueller, it has never been recognised in mature teeth where ironically it is most easily seen. In section the 16:24 ratio usually becomes approximate owing to irregularities in peristome development and also to the limited vertical extent of the pattern; but when even very reduced haplolepidous peristomes are viewed from the inside it is generally possible to detect a 2:3 PPL:IPL ratio. Moreover, the above authors have each reported the pattern only in one species or in one case two species in one family, and none has suggested it as an essential haplolepidous character.
Thus a survey was conducted of over 60 arthrodontous species to see i) whether the 2:3 ratio was universal to all the five haplolepidous orders (Dicranales, Fissidentales, Pottiales, Syrrhopodontales and Grimmiales), and ii) whether it was absent from the remaining eight diplolepidous orders. The PPL:IPL ratio of 2:3 was indeed found throughout all five haplolepidous orders, and the only "diplolepidous" species found to shew this pattern (such as Ptychomitrium and Glyphomitrium) are clearly misplaced. It is thus concluded that the Haplolepidae form a natural monophyletic group characterised by a PPL:IPL ratio of 2:3 except in species where the peristome is very degenerate or secondarily aberrant. All Encalypta species examined shew an OPL:PPL:IPL ratio of 4:2:4. which together with the frequent development of an outer peristome weakens any suggestion that the Encalyptales form a link between the Haplolepidae and the Diplolepidae. Also, characters distinguishing the Dicranales from the Grimmiales were discussed, and it was suggested that the Seligeriaceae is ill-placed in the Dicranales. In Splachnum ampullaceum, 16 vertical ducts were noticed which communicated between the air-sac and the PPL where PPL/IPL walls ruptured upon dehiscence.
The Society is most grateful to Dr. C. A. Stace (Department of Botany, University of Leicester) who acted as local secretary not only for the organisation of this meeting, but also for making arrangements for members to stay at Beaumont Hall over the weekend.
J. G. DUCKETT
On 2 October, members explored several localities in Rutland (v.-c. 55) and South Lincolnshire (v.-c. 53) to the north of Stamford. The convoy of cars was indicative of the interest engendered in the autumn meeting as a whole and not necessarily the field trip. But it was pleasing to see such a good turn-out to study bryophytes in Lincolnshire - a county not hitherto visited by the B. B. S.
Ketton limestone quarry (43/974057, v.-c. 55) furnished a useful list of over 50 bryophytes, the most interesting of which were Aloina aloides var. aloides and Rhynchostegiella tenella.
After refreshment at "The George", Stamford, bryology was renewed with full vigour. At Holywell (53/006161, v.-c. 53) one of the few remaining areas of limestone grassland hereabouts was investigated. Unfortunately a change in management of the area had radically changed the flora in recent years: it proved bryologically and lichenologically poor. and the single remaining plant of Thesium humifusum was located by Miss Conolly in a manner best described as "buried treasure pacing". A range of substrates was investigated, including a streamside, trees, logs and walls, but the most profitable habitats were located in an abandoned garden (53/004163). Dicranella schreberana* found on moist clay by the stream was amongst the notable finds which also included Tortula laevipila on a log, and Neckera crispa which has been rarely seen in the county this century. The poor hepatic flora here was typical of all the sites visited on the excursion.
[* = new vice-county record.]
Clipsham quarry (43/081154, v.-c. 55) provided the most interesting bryophyte flora. Thuidium abietinum on a roadside, Brachythecium glareosum on a limestone bank, and Gyroweisia tenuis c. spor. in limestone crevices were particularly handsome. The epiphytic flora was relatively good here, and a Prunus thicket supported Bryum flaccidum*, Orthotrichum affine and Radula complanata. A form of Bryum bicolor with rhizoid tubers was collected by Mr Long.
Lincolnshire Gate (53/002148. v.-c. 53) contrasted markedly with the other sites visited; here one of the few pockets of sand in the region is found. Unfortunately, by this time the members were strung out over the countryside (many of them still crawling around Clipsham quarry), and the site did not receive the full attention it deserved. Mr Wanstall displayed his taxonomic skills in a failing light - large areas of the sand being in various stages of colonisation by Polytrichum spp. with particularly fine patches of P. piliferum and P. urnigerum.
M R D SEAWARD
Oxford, 19-22 November
The fourth Taxonomic Workshop was held in the University Department of Botany in Oxford on Saturday 19 November, 1977. About 28 members attended. In the morning Dr H. L. K. Whitehouse talked on 'Rhizoidal Gemmae and Tubers' of mosses; with the aid of colour photographs and drawings he demonstrated the diversity of form which may exist within a family and the value of rhizoidal gemmae as specific characters. In the afternoon Martin Corley talked on the identification of the British species of Campylopus and species of Dicranodontium, Dicranum and Ditrichum which might be confused with Campylopus; he stressed the critical features in the nerve- section, shape of leaf and areolation.
In the evening members gathered for a conversazione. The early bryological collections in the University Herbarium were illustrated by sheets from Dillenius' and Morison's Herbaria relating to the fragrant 'moss' (Chiloscyphus pallescens) which had long been known from St Winifred's Well at Holywell, Flintshire (see Grolle, Transactions of the British Bryological Society 5, p. 766 for a discussion of the taxonomic significance of these specimens). Boswell's Herbarium, built up during the second half of the 19th C. was illustrated by specimens of the first English gatherings of Dicranum strictum (1864) , D. montanum (1669), D. flagellare (1874) and D. polysetum (1887), and by Boswell's annotated copy of Wilson's Bryologia Britannica.
We are deeply indebted to Professor F.R. Whatley for permission to use the laboratory, to Dr S.C. Watkinson for acting as local secretary, and to Dr Whitehouse and Mr Corley for giving up their weekend to come and teach us.
On Sunday 20 November we enjoyed perfect weather in Wytham Wood (the property of the University) by kind permission of the University Land Agent and, in the afternoon, on White Horse Hill. In Wytham Wood Platygyrium repens proved to be abundant and in fine condition, densely covered with deciduous branchlets; it has certainly increased considerably in abundance since it was first discovered there. Dicranum strictum was seen, as small cushions, on several bushes; this also is clearly increasing in frequency in the wood. On White Horse Hill it was too early to find sporangia of Weissia sterilis though the plants were found. Pottia caespitosa had young sporangia which were much less mature than they have been at this season in some years.
E. W. JONES