BBS > Activities > Meetings and Workshops > Previous > 1980
Meetings of the BBS - 1980
Haverfordwest, 9-16 April
The Spring Meeting in 1980 was held in Pembrokeshire, S. Wales, from 9 to 16 April. As of late, the intention was to cover some of the underworked areas for our Mapping Scheme, and in this were successful. The Society visited the area last in 1958, but this was before bryophyte mapping had started, so on the present trip it was deemed necessary to re-visit some of the localities in the 1958 programme. Headquarters, as then, was the Hotel Mariners in Haverfordwest. As local secretary I was unable to find suitable "institutional" accommodation where we could all stay in the area, so people booked in at various establishments throughout the town and gathered socially in the HQ hotel in the evenings. About 32 people participated, numbers fluctuating throughout the week; we were glad to have with us for most of the time our North American member Dr Nancy Slack. All the localities we visited were in v.c. 45.
10 April. About twelve people turned up at Hook Wood, an ancient sessile oak woodland clothing the steep outer banks of a major meander of the Western Cleddau estuary. One party worked down through it to the shore and then westwards along the base of the wood; another party worked the east end of wood. We found a considerable quantity of Cephalozia media with sporophytes. We thought we had worked the area reasonably well by 11.15 so moved to Ferry Hill, just south of Benton Castle. Here we worked up the inlet from the Daucleddau and then up the stream that flows into it, through deciduous woodland with brambles, and into another 10 Km square. Cephaloziella turneri was on shaded and overhung rocks by the inlet. Everywhere was very acid. The woodland form of Ctenidium molluscum was on rotten bark and on a roadside bank. The party then split up. One group went to Black Bridge, Milford Haven where they worked along a disused railway line and wooded stream towards Waterston. Martin Corley went to the square west of Dale and found Bryum dunense on the cliffs above Marloes Sands and Amblystegium varium in a swamp at Marloes. The rest went to a strip of old oak woodland with a disused railway line running along the river at Neyland. Again the area was very acid; the woodland was bryologically dull and the railway line was not very interesting. A rock face (presumably left by the railway engineers) at the base of the wood had Racomitrium aquaticum and Scapania compacta, and a bank in the wood yielded Pohlia lutescens.
Our party, in an effort to cover as much ground as possible went first to Walwyn's Castle, the site of a motte-and-bailey castle on a steep-sided spur in the valley leading down to Sandy Haven. In a small gulley with elders and a stream, Campylopus introflexus was on a stump with Orthodontium lineare, and Orthotrichum pulchellum and Cryphaea heteromalla were on elders near Syke Farm. Afterward, the south side of Sutton Mountain, a Molinia bog on clay, was profitably visited, though a struggle to reach. There was not much bryophyte quantitatively, but an interesting assortment, including Funaria obtusa, Breutelia chrysocoma, Campylium stellatum, Dicranum bonjeanii, Solenostoma crenulatum and Scapania irrigua, was noted.
11 April. We all assembled at Strumble Head in the morning, and one party moved south-westwards to work whilst another went eastwards. The sea cliffs here are predominantly west-facing and rise to 450 feet, but the coast is indented and all aspects from north to south occur. It is one of the most geologically complex coasts in Britain and this diversity is matched by a highly varied flowering plant and fern flora. Although the bryophytes were not abundant the lists obtained were quite interesting. The south-west party found Archidium alternifolium amongst cliff top turf, and Eurhynchium speciosum in a marshy patch. Further along, a small valley mire on the cliff top with Royal Fern was examined and had Scorpidium scorpioides, Riccardia pinguis and R. sinuata whilst the craggy sea cliffs nearby had small quantities of Frullania microphylla and F. fragilifolia. Weissia perssonii was noted by Rod Stern. The second party produced a list with several species not noted by the first including Grimmia stirtonii, Riccia beyrichiana and Tritomaria exsectiformis. Having re-joined we again split up about lunchtime, different car loads moving off to different places. One group went to Aber-mawr west of Granston and recorded in sessile oak woodland where Fissidens rufulus was found on wet rocks in a trickle. Further near the coast the out-flowing stream is dammed up by a storm beach backed up by a mire with willows where Cololejeunea minutissima and Orthotrichum pulchellum were noted. Another party, having just recorded at Garn-fawr fort where nothing of note grows, went on to the alder and willow mire at Aber-bach where Frullania germana was on a boulder and Plagiomnium ellipticum grew in marshy ground, but where the physiognomy and bryophytes are similar to those at Aber-mawr.
Trewellwell Wood towards St. Davids, made an SSSI on the strength of the 1958 visit, was due to be de-scheduled by the NCC, so a party recorded bryophytes there to judge whether a de-scheduling was justified. Woods are not very common in this part of Pembrokeshire, and this one is quite small. It has a stream, rock outcrops and marsh, but the bryophytes were not thought to justify its retention as an SSSI.
Dowrog Common, an extensive tract of wet heath and marsh in the upper reaches of the River Alun, is famous for its rare heath and marsh plants. Two parties visited it, a thorough search was made, and the bryophytes listed. Scleropodium tourettii grew on the public road through the centre of the Common together with Brachythecium mildeanum. Further recording was done in Merry Vale, SW of St. Davids, where Bryum donianum and Diphyscium foliosum were detected, and another party visited Abereiddy Bay, noting Pottia crinita and Cephaloziella stellulifera.
12 April. The weather remained excellent and a party of about 22 people arrived at Brynberian Moor. The wet moorland was carefully explored and some stalwarts ascended the N. slopes of the Prescellys to reach Carnalw, Carnbreseb and Carngoedog. The moorland has several streams running through it and lower down these often form flattish flushed areas. Here grow Acrocladium sarmentosum, Polytrichum alpestre, Lepidozia setacea and twelve different Sphagnum species. On the somewhat steeper slopes of the Mynydd slightly basic-flushed areas, originating from the dolerite, occur, and these gave rise to an additional list of species including Rhizomnium pseudopunctatum, Fissidens osmundoides, Drepanocladus vernicosus and Solenostoma cordifolium. Gors-fawr, another area of wet moorland, this time on the S. slopes of the Prescellys, was next on the programme, but several carloads dissented from working here: they had had enough of bog trotting for the day, and instead made trips to other localities. The wet moorland, though very quaking in parts, was worked reasonably thoroughly and I have to thank Stephen Evans of the Nature Conservancy Council for showing it to us and guiding us safely across it and back.
Two cars went to Cwm Gwaun, a series of oakwoods clothing some 4½ miles of the steep sides of the Gwaun valley sub-glacial channel. Here, one or two nice bryophytes such as Trichocolea tomentella, Nowellia curvifolia and Jubula hutchinsiae, were turned up. Martin Corley went to examine the small bog in the narrow ice-melt-water channel between Dinas Island and the mainland and found Sphagnum squarrosum. And then he went to work the area round Abercych in the extreme NE of the county to be joined in the area by a second party who worked Penrhiw and Cnwcau. Schistidium alpicola var. rivulare was recorded in the Afon Cych and Scleropodium cespitans and Tortula latifolia at Abercych. Fissidens exilis was on soil from a ditch in a quarry at Cnwcau. During the day Harold Whitehouse went on a stubble field jaunt. In one near Llanbed east of Mathry he recorded Bryum microerythrocarpum, Dicranella staphylina and Ditrichum cylindricum and in another near Camrose he noted these three together with Bryum klinggraeffii and B. sauteri.
A Council meeting was held in the evening.
13 April. Minwear Wood, a deciduous woodland on the S.bank of the Eastern Cleddau, was visited by the main party. Rain had lightly fallen during the previous night, and looked like falling again very soon. The wood is mainly beech and oak, the former looking native. Orthotrichum lyellii and O. strictum were seen on the same ash and Nowellia was on several dead trunks, but the bryophytes were on the whole rather dull. As rain started to fall the party drove for drinks in the pub in Cresswell.
Afterwards, in continuing rain the sessile oak woodland on the eastern bank of the Daucleddau west of Lawrenny was reached and worked. The wood is known to date from at least 1600, and is the finest relict of the extensive oakwoods that once clothed all the shoreline of the "drowned valley" system of Milford Haven. The low stature and gnarled appearance of the oaks towards the base of the slope reflected the western aspect and moderate exposure to salt-laden winds. The epiphytes, both lichens and bryophytes, were spectacular but the latter were unfortunately not as exciting as the lichens. Lepidozia pinnata and Barbilophozia attenuata not previously seen during the week were reasonably common on rocky outcrops.
During the morning Rod Stern and his party worked the grounds of Picton Castle down to the N. bank of the Eastern Cleddau and found Tortula marginata on a concrete block and Gyroweisia tenuis on mortar in a wall. Pembroke Castle was worked by the same party who recorded Scorpiurium circinatum there.
14 April. The day started wet but undaunted we drove north out of Haverfordwest to Treffgarne Rocks, an area of Pre-cambrian rocks formed into impressive crags and tors. The area had been worked in 1958 and it was on that occasion that the Fissidens eventually described as F. celticus was first detected in Britain. Among the species noted on the present trip were Lepidozia pinnata, Bazzania trilobata and Barbilophozia attenuata. The nearby banks of the Western Cleddau and Nant-y-Coy Brook were explored and the list was augmented with species such as Plagiothecium latebricola and Porella pinnata. Fissidens monguillonii, recorded here new to Wales on the previous BBS visit, was not seen, the continuing rain probably causing this. After lunch the weather improved and we drove to Fishguard and then to Esgyrn Bottom, a raised bog with a wooded fringe in a valley left as an ice melt-water channel after the last Ice Age. Eight species of Sphagnum, Cladopodiella fluitans, Cephalozia media, Calypogeia sphagnicola, Riccardia latifrons and Lepidozia setacea were detected in the bog which, however, seemed much drier than I remembered it from a visit seven years previously. I am grateful to Mr and Mrs Jim Robinson for allowing us access. The adjoining woodland had Pohlia lutescens on a bank and Ptychomitrium polyphyllum in small quantity on boulders.
On the way back to the hotel one party looked at Ambleston Common, very wet ground with small disused claypits filled with Sphagnum. Ten different species of the latter were recorded and Jean Paton collected Pohlia camptotrachela and Lepidozia sylvatica. Another party visited Garn Turne Rocks, an archaeological site containing a burial chamber on the orthostats of which they found Andreaea rothii and Hedwigia ciliata. Eustace Jones, retracing a route he had walked in his youth, visited Solva and made a useful list from the slopes on the SE side of the harbour, including Campylopus brevipilus, Grimmia trichophylla var. subsquarrosa, Lophocolea fragrans and Marchesinia mackaii. Afterwards he listed on the southern end of Trefeidden Moor which is wet heath and marsh with some open water and found Scorpidium scorpioides in an area with slightly basic depressions.
15 April. An extensive area of limestone ridges bordered by saltings in the old quarry workings at West Williamston, and the adjoining deciduous woodland, were worked in the morning. The limestone grassland and rocks yielded a rich bryophyte flora including Bryum torquescens, Dicranella schreberana, Gymnostomum calcareum and Leiocolea turbinata.
Afterwards Lydstep Point, Carboniferous limestone sea cliffs with sea caves, was visited. This proved rather disappointing because we seemed to miss the best ground-blown sand over limestone rocks, often high above the beach. However, we saw Bryum dunense, Eurhynchium megapolitanum, Pottia bryoides and P. crinita, Scleropodium tourettii and Cephaloziella stellulifera.
Thus ended another pleasant and profitable field meeting. Including some recording done on the days of arrival and departure (not documented in the account above) twenty two 10 Km squares were visited in the county and recording cards filled in each, thereby adding greatly to our knowledge of Pembrokeshire bryophytes and helping our mapping scheme by filling in some of the gaps. Though nothing of exceptional note was found, everyone saw bryophytes, habitats and plant communities of great interest to them. I wish to thank Stephen Evans (N. C. C.) for spending a good deal of time with me in arranging the programme for this meeting and acquiring access to some of the localities visited, and I thank all those who sent me lists of bryophytes they recorded.
A. R. PERRY
Durham, 27 July - 1 August
The Summer Field Meeting was based on St Aidan's College, Durham University. It had a distinctly international flavour with participants from New Zealand and Holland as well as from various parts of Great Britain.
27 July. The party assembled at Hamsterley Forest, where the Forestry Commission Ranger, Brian Walker, acted as a useful guide. At the NW corner, there are basic rocks and flushes alongside Sharnberry Beck where Sphagnum russowii and S. squarrosum were found as well as Philonotis calcarea, Pohlia proligera, and P. camptotrachela. Among the plantations inside the Forest, there are some rocky streams and dripping rocks, where Sphagnum quinquefarium, Tetradontium brownianum and Solenostoma sphaerocarpum were seen. Also seen was Dr David Bellamy, preparing for a TV programme on his "home ground".
28 July. An unusually fine and sunny day encouraged the main party to walk the well-known "circuit" in Upper Teesdale from Sand Sike over Widdybank pastures, past Falcon Glints and Cauldron Snout and alongside the Cow Green Reservoir. Two members made full use of the special permission which had been obtained to explore Widdybank Fell itself. The bryology of the area is well-known, but the following were among the more interesting plants which were seen: Tortella densa, Catoscopium nigritum, Grimmia ovalis (= G. commutata), Rhabdoweisia fugax, Orthothecium intricatum and Schistidium trichodon; a little S. agassizii was fished out deep from the R. Tees. Much searching for dead sheep with Haplodon was done without success but there were some good patches of Splachnum sphaericum.
29 July. On another fine day, two woods lower down the R. Tees near Eggleston, well-known for their lichens but less so for bryophytes, were the object of our attention. In the morning, Great Wood produced some characteristic species of basic rocks such as Mnium marginatum, M. stellare, Taxiphyllum wissgrillii, Metzgeria pubescens and Plagiochila britannica. By the river the exposed limestone and detritus had Barbula spadicea, Porella cordaeana and Schistidium alpicola vars. alpicola and rivulare. After lunch similar habitats at the bottom of Shipley Wood were "ablaze" with yellow and orange Mimulus hybrids; the woodland had abundant ash with epiphytes including Orthotrichum stramineum and Bryum flaccidum.
30 July. The morning was free and some sought shelter from the heavy rain in the splendid cathedral. After lunch, the party travelled east to little known areas bryologically. Finchale Priory and the banks alongside the R. Wear nearby were examined as the weather cleared; liverworts were scarce in this polluted area but mosses seen included Leptobryum pyriforme growing in a "natural" habitat, Dicranum tauricum and Fissidens crassipes. Later, a brief visit was made to a roadside exposure of Magnesian Limestone at High Moorsley, where several Barbulas were recorded including B. rigidula.
31 July. A short delay in departure was utilised in discovering 18 species in as many minutes in the garden of St Aidan's College, including Dicranella staphylina. The upper reaches of Weardale were to be explored. An old stone quarry at Westgate and a spoil heap yielded Lophozia bicrenata, Plectocolea hyalina and Scapania aspera. A pleasant walk down the Middlehope Burn added Plagiochila britannica and there was luxuriant growth of Ulota crispa var. crispa and norvegica, the only time these mosses were seen all week. Near the County boundary at Killhope, there was much excitement at finding what seemed to be Bryum weigelii, but alas it subsequently turned out to be yet another form of B. pseudotriquetrum. On the various boulders near the burn, there were fine patches of Orthotrichum cupulatum, O. rupestre and O. anomalum.
1 August. The final day started as one of the hottest of the generally cool summer and finished with violent thunderstorms. The morning was spent at Bishop Middleham quarry among the most superb display of orchids including the Dark-red Helleborine. The Magnesian Limestone had abundant Leiocolea badensis with some Preissia quadrata, Distichium capillaceum and Gyroweisia tenuis. Later the main party found Rhizomnium pseudopunctatum at S. Hetton pond in the most easterly location visited during the week while the writer, returning south, found luxuriant Tortula subulata var. subinermis, T. latifolia and Leskea polycarpa growing at the bases of elms by the R. Tees at Croft.
Although the number of new records was not great, a pleasant week was capably organised and led by Rev. Gordon Graham, who had also arranged for the University's Botany lab. to be available in the evenings, a facility which was utilised by several participants. A total of ten 10km squares was visited and in some of them at least some useful contributions to the mapping scheme were made.
R. C. STERN
AGM & Symposium Meeting 1980
Bristol, 20-21 September
AGM & Symposium Meeting 1980, Bristol, 20-21 September
Those of us who attended the paper-reading meeting and annual general meeting at Badock Hall, University of Bristol on the weekend of September 20 - 21, were rewarded by an interesting and stimulating programme in very comfortable surroundings. It was particularly pleasing to be joined by several members, including one from overseas, who were attending their first meeting of the Society. The President and Vice-President introduced seven speakers whose topics were exceptionally diverse, a trend which was warmly welcomed and matched by the wide-ranging interests of the audience. For his skill in establishing such a programme, we are greatly indebted to Prof. J. G. Duckett. Not only were there papers devoted to field work in Britain, Bhutan and Canada, but there were others detailing fine structure of spermatozoids, carbohydrate chemotaxonomy and an analysis of bryophyte communities. Summaries of these papers are given below.
Mr. T. BLOCKEEL (Leeds): "Bryologists and Bryophytes from South Yorkshire."
Watsonian vice-county 63 (south-west Yorkshire) is the heart of industrial Yorkshire, but the composition of its flora and its recent history has much of interest for the bryologist.
Bryologists of the area have included: James and Thomas Bolton (Halifax), Jonathan Salt (Sheffield), Robert Leyland (Halifax), Samuel Gibson (Hebden Bridge), John Nowell (Todmorden), Amos Carr (Sheffield), Abraham Shackleton (Keighley), Charles P. Hobkirk (Huddersfield), Dr. Franklyn Parsons (Goole), James Needham (Hebden Bridge) and Harold Walsh (Luddendenfoot).
Floristically, the vice-county may be divided into four areas.
1. A small part of the north-western tip of the vice-county is Carboniferous limestone, consisting of low rounded hills without the natural scars and river gorges of the Dales to the North. Nevertheless, grassy banks have such species as Thuidium philibertii, and the river-bank flora is better developed than in other parts of the vice-county, with Schistidium alpicola, Orthotrichum sprucei and others.
2. The millstone grit and coal measures occupy the entire western part of the vice-county. The richest habitats are in the deep wooded valleys or cloughs, of which the best example is the Hebden gorge north of Hebden Bridge. Here are one or two oceanic plants (Lepidozia cupressina, Jubula hutchinsiae) and many other species, including Andreaea crassinervia, Tetrodontium brownianum, Blindia acuta, Schistostega pennata, Isopterygium pulchellum, Mylia taylori, Saccogyna viticulosa, Nowellia curvifolia and Lejeunea lamacerina. The millstone grit also has a few atypical pockets of highly calcareous material, supporting in single sites Moerckia flotowiana and Cololejeunea calcarea. Bogs are poorly developed, probably because of the effect of acid rains; consequently, the bog hepatics are sparsely distributed. Plants of open habitats include Physcomitrium sphaericum, Discelium nudum, Nardia geoscyphus and Solenostoma caespiticium.
3. A narrow strip of magnesian limestone separates the coal measures in the west from the low-level plain in the east. Desmatodon cernuus occurs on quarry waste and Lophozia perssonii on open ground and on the walls of a ruined Abbey. Open calcareous ground also has various small acrocarps including Pottia recta and Phascum curvicolle. In a few places there are wooded crags and valleys, of which the best example is Anston Stones Wood, near Rotherham. Among species known from here are: Metzgeria pubescens, Leiocolea muelleri, Scapania aspera, Marchesinia mackaii, Cololejeunea rossettiana, Distichium capillaceum, Tortula marginata and Amblystegium compactum.
4. The eastern part of the vice-county is flat and intensively cultivated. Ricciocarpus natans occurs in ponds, and there are two extensive peat bogs, Thorne Waste and Hatfield Moor. Though both of these are cut commercially for peat, some good plants remain, notably Sphagnum balticum, recently refound on Thorne Waste.
Mrs. A. G. SIDE (Rochester): "Amateur bryological work in Kent"
The speaker's amateur work in Kent began with filling in records on the 10 km. record cards of Dr. Francis Rose. Permission was given by Dr. Rose to use the cards in the production of An Atlas of the Bryophytes found in Kent which was published in Kent in 1970 as vol. 4 of the Transactions of the Kent Field Club. Since 1971 mapping had continued but on a tetrad basis, as in the Monks Wood records centre. Such mapping had shown abundance of the species much more clearly than did the 10 km. maps though it entailed much more work.
Types of woodland to be found in Kent were illustrated and some lists of species found in these woods were given. Special emphasis was laid on Ham Street wood where Discelium nudum had been found in 1970. Pictures of Cryptothallus mirabilis, found in other woods in Kent, were shown together with more of the less common species.
Chalk downland, an important feature of the Kentish scene, had special interest for work on Seligeria paucifolia and Fissidens viridulus subspecies tenuifolius, both very common species on chalk stones in downland woods. Thuidium hystricosum and Tortella inflexa were shown as locally abundant species on the chalk.
Brief mention was made of Romney Marsh with its somewhat limited habitats, but with a capacity to produce some interesting mosses.
Work on the bryophytes of arable fields in Kent had occupied much time and patience but was inspired by the pleasure of seeing the various rhizoidal tubers to be found. A number of these tubers were illustrated to show their diversity. The results of this work had been published in Trans. Kent Field Club. volume 6 part 2, 1976.
Finally an interest in the numbers of "failed" archegonia around the bases of the sporophytes of mosses had given this amateur another subject on which to work.
Prof. J. G. DUCKETT, Dr. W. C. PANG and Dr. Z. B. CAROTHERS (Department of Plant Biology & Microbiology, Queen Mary College, London and Department of Botany, University of Illinois, Urbana, U. S. A.): "Pellia neesiana: the biggest spermatozoid in the bryophytes."
Pellia neesiana and P. epiphylla have the largest spermatozoids yet recorded for any bryophyte. The mature gametes comprise an 8.5 µm diameter helix of 3½ gyres circumscribed by a band of microtubules (the spline) of about 95 µm in overall length. Although an earlier electron microscope study by Suire suggested fundamental differences between spermatids of Pellia and other bryophytes including branching of the spline over tubular diverticula of endoplasmic reticulum and maturational disappearance of some of its microtubules, our analysis supports a quite different interpretation.
The broad anterior region of the spline (15 tubules in P. epiphylla and 13 in P. neesiana) is retained but is restricted to the first half gyre. The diverticulum in mid-stage spermatids is a tubular extension of the nucleus, devoid of chromatin which runs posteriorly for over 60 µm (2½ gyres) and is overlain by 6 or 7 long, parallel tubules.
Preliminary studies on other Metzgerialian spermatozoids (Petalophyllum, Riccardia, Symphyogyna, Fossombronia) indicate that these are all appreciably larger and more highly coiled than those of the Marchantiales (Dumortiera, Marchantia, Sphaerocarpos, Riella). The parallel orientation of the basal bodies in the Metzgeriales, a feature shared with Haplomitrium, contrasts sharply with their divergent disposition in Marchantia. As more taxa are investigated from all the major groups, but as yet lacking Treubiales and isophyllous Jungermanniales, there is growing evidence that spermatozoid ultrastructure supports Schuster's phylogenetic scheme for Hepatic evolution.
When the well established criteria of evolutionary advancement from animal spermatogenesis are applied to archegoniates striking parallels emerge. Primitive animal spermatozoids have roughly spherical nuclei with prominent structures anchoring the flagella (analogous to the multilayered structure) whereas advanced taxa possess elongate nuclei and the complex anchoring apparatus is reduced or lost. In the Lycopsida, homosporous Lycopodium has 40 spline tubules and a fat pyriform nucleus whereas heterosporus Selaginella only 17 tubules and a rod-like nucleus. Similarly in the Pteropsida there is a reduction in the number of spline tubules from Osmunda (180) and Pteridium (150) to Marsilea (25) and a concomitant elongation, narrowing in maximum diameter, and degree of coiling of the nucleus from 2 and 3½ to 8 gyres respectively,
Haplomitrium (57 tubules) has by far the widest spline and broadest nucleus (coiled in about 1¼ gyres) yet encountered in the bryophytes which contrasts sharply with the much narrower splines and 3½ gyres of the rod-like nuclei in Pellia and Riccardia. Less highly coiled (24 gyres) and slightly broader splines occur in supposedly less advanced Metzgerialian taxa such as Petalophyllum (22 tubules), Fossombronia (18) and Symphyogyna (17).
Miss A. CHRISTIE, Dr. D. H. LEWIS (Department of Botany, University of Sheffield) and Mr. A. R. PERRY (Department of Botany, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff): "Carbohydrates and chemotaxonomy in the Ptilidiaceae."
The genera, Anthelia, Blepharostoma, Herberta, Hygrobiella, Mastigophora, Pleuroclada, Ptilidium and Trichocolea were placed in the Ptilidiaceae by Evans (1939) and Jones (1958). Other taxonomists have treated these genera differently and there has been a progressive segregation of genera into several families, culminating in the schemes of Schuster (1972,1979) which recognize seven families for the eight genera.
A correlative evaluation of a range of morphological features of both gametophyte and sporophyte demonstrated that a large number of characters separated Anthelia, Hygrobiella and Pleuroclada from the other five genera. Anthelia was especially isolated.
Within the Jungermanniales, the possession of a particular combination of soluble carbohydrates is chemotaxonomically useful since patterns are consistent within species of one genus and within genera of relatively well defined families, e.g. Cephaloziaceae, Lepidoziaceae and Scapaniaceae. In addition to sucrose, the 7-carbon monosaccharide, sedoheptulose, its reduction products, alpha-sedoheptitol (volemitol) and beta-sedoheptitol, a third uncharacterized heptitol and the 6-carbon sugar alcohol, mannitol, occur in the Ptilidiaceae (s.l.) in seven combinations. These not only emphasize the diversity of the group but also coincide with the families recognized by Schuster (Antheliaceae, Blepharostomataceae, Cephaloziaceae, Herbertaceae, Mastigophoraceae, Ptilidiaceae and Trichocoleaceae). The absence of mannitol and 7-carbon carbohydrates from Anthelia re-inforces its morphological isolation and the presence of mannitol (but absence of 7-carbon carbohydrates) in Pleuroclada and Hygrobiella supports Schuster's placing of these genera in the Cephaloziaceae.
Dr. R. W. ALEXANDER (Department of Geography, University of Liverpool) : "Some Bryophyte and Macro-lichen communities on the Pillow Lava Band Rocks of Cader Idris, Gwynedd."
This paper presented the results of a survey of the bryophyte and macro-lichen vegetation of the pillow lava outcrops on the north face of the Cader ldris range of mountains in the county of Gwynedd. The aims of the work were to sample the vegetation in an objective fashion in order to discover whether any distinct and recurring species assemblages could be identified and, if so, to examine the environmental factors controlling the distribution of such assemblages.
The major problems involved in this type of investigation are those of scale (size and distribution of rock outcrops compared to size of plants and plant communities) and the three-dimensional nature of the substrate surface. These problems could not adequately be overcome by the use of conventional methods of sample distribution and thus a new technique for the distribution of (in this case 10 x 10 cm.) quadrats was developed. This technique operated by superimposing a flexible grid onto the rock surfaces and then sampling randomly from within this grid. Application of this partial random technique gave rise to a data set of 162 quadrats containing 135 species and these data were analysed using Reciprocal Averaging ordination and a polythetic, agglomerative clustering technique. The results of both techniques indicated that the major environmental variables influencing the bryophyte and macrolichen vegetation were base status of substrate and some measure of 'wetness' of habitat. At the four-cluster level the quadrats could be divided into 'Wet calcifuge', 'Dry intermediate to calcifuge', 'Dry calcicole' and 'Wet intermediate to calcicole' groups on the basis of certain recognised indicator species. These four major groups were further sub-divided into 14 distinct assemblages identified by constant and faithful species, and these 14 assemblages were examined in terms of their interrelationships, ecology and distribution patterns.
Work is in progress to test the validity of some of the conclusions drawn by examining the nutrient status of plants and substrates from type examples of the communities identified.
Mr. D. G. LONG (Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh): "Bryophyte exploration of Bhutan".
A brief historical outline of bryological exploration and study in the western Himalayas was given, from the earliest Nepalese collections of F. Buchanan-Hamilton and N. Wallich in the early 19th century, published by W. J. Hooker and W. Harvey, followed in 1848 by the large Sikkim collections made by J. D. Hooker, these largely forming the basis for W. Mitten's "Musci Indiae Orientalis" (1859) and "Hepaticae Indiae Orientalis" (1861). The only early collector to visit Bhutan was W. Griffith, in 1838, whose bryophyte discoveries remain largely unpublished. The bryophytes of Bhutan were not studied again until a Japanese expedition visited western districts in 1967, from which a check list was published in 1971. Recent work covering some of the bryoflora includes the up-to-date E. Indian moss flora of Gangulee and monographic studies of genera such as Plagiochasma and Sphagnum. Considerable collections, most as yet unstudied, were made by the author in the forests of Bhutan in 1975 and 1979.
The main forest zones of Bhutan were described and illustrated with characteristic flowering plants and bryophytes. The jungle-clad foothills (200-1200 m) are poor in bryophyte species but with increasing altitude the forest changes to warm broad-leaved (1200-2100 m) then cool broad-leaved or evergreen oak forest (2100-3000 m), above which bryologically very rich montane coniferous cloud forest of spruce, hemlock and fir, is found up to an altitude of 3500 or 4000 m. In drier main valleys xerophytic pine forest occurs.
In the cool broad-leaved forests species such as Trachypodopsis serrulata, Meteorium buchanani, Meteoriopsis squarrosa, Herbertus dicranus, Porella campylophylla and Plagiochila chinensis are found, mostly as epiphytes on tree trunks and logs. The montane cloud forests are the richest, with a dense carpet of such species as Lyellia crispa, Actinothuidium hookeri, Ptilium crista-castrensis, Scapania ferruginea, Dicranum lorifolium. On rotten logs are found, for example, Acrobolus ciliatus, Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Lophozia incisa, Metacalypogeia alternifolia and Schiffneria hyalina, whilst common epiphytes are Chandonanthus hirtellus, Trichocolea tomentella, Diaphonodon blandus, Anastrepta orcadensis and many Herbertus, Scapania, Porella, Plagiochila and Frullania species. Aongstroemia orientalis is common on road cuttings in the forest.
In the dry pine forests Rhytidium rugosum was common and Targionia hypophylla, Trocholejeunea sandvicensis and Frullania ericoides were found on dry rocks. In moist paddy-fields the interesting pan-tropical moss Barbula inaequalifolia was often abundant. The world distribution of some of these species was illustrated, of particular interest being the group of hepatics such as Anastrepta, Anastrophyllum and Mastigophora whose origins are considered to have been in the southern hemisphere.
Dr. R. E. LONGTON (Department of Botany, University of Reading): " A British bryologist in Canada."
Canada is a vast country and it is sparsely populated except in the extreme south. It thus contains several million sq. km. of virtually undisturbed natural vegetation, principally coniferous forest and tundra, occurring at a wide range of elevation and climate. There are few bryologists: the second edition of "Directory of Bryologists (I. A. B. 1979) includes only 20 Canadian entries, and of these perhaps 9 can be regarded as established research workers. In contrast to Great Britain there is no strong tradition of cooperation between amateurs and professionals. Thus, despite the vigorous efforts of a handful of bryologists past and present, Canada offers tremendous scope for bryological research across the whole spectrum from basic floristics to the most sophisticated modern studies.
Some of this potential was illustrated by an illustrated account of vegetation in the Province of Manitoba. Among the points noted were the poor state of knowledge of the bryophyte flora of the Province, from which no species of such ubiquitous genera as Cephalozia and Cephaloziella had until recently been recorded, the strong circumpolar element in the boreal bryophyte flora, the high frequency of sporophyte production of Pleurozium schreberi throughout the forest region, the extensive destruction of P. schreberi and other mosses by pollutants from isolated industrial operations, and the use of dried Sphagnum in baby-care by indigenous Canadians.
After the annual general meeting (Minutes in Bulletin 38), members were welcomed by Prof. B. K. Follett, who had kindly arranged an enjoyable University reception on our behalf. The meeting continued in the evening with a conversazione which provided an opportunity to examine a large number of exhibits, as indicated by the following list.
The Sunday excursion was blessed with fine weather, a matter for thanksgiving in such a poor season.
In the morning Ebbor Gorge was visited. This is a well-worked site on the Carboniferous Limestone, now a National Trust Nature Reserve. Most of the more interesting calcicoles known from the Reserve were seen. These included Cololejeunea rosettiana, Marchesinia mackaii. Metzgeria conjugata, Isothecium striatulum, Grimmia orbicularis. Bryum canariense and Tortella nitida. Alan Crundwell spotted Zygodon baumgartneri on an ash tree and Jean Paton added Fossombronia pusilla and Dicranella rufescens to the list. Some people sought for Plagiochila britannica among the rich welter of bryophytes but without success. Several members were pleased to see Rhynchostegiella teesdalei in the small stream at the bottom of the Gorge.
After a climb through somewhat undistinguished woodland the party emerged rather dazedly onto the plateau above the Ebbor Rocks. Nothing of particular interest was found but it was generally felt that the magnificent view amply compensated for the lack of bryological entertainment.
Lunch was eaten in warm sunshine on the grassy verge of the car park. After this pleasant al fresco interlude a move was made to the vicinity of the area known locally as Priddy Pools, on the Old Red Sandstone. Soon after leaving the cars the attention of several of the party was attracted by a small moss growing on firmly compacted soil in company with Dicranella varia, Ceratodon purpureus and Barbula convoluta. It has since been found with fruit and appears to be closely related to Dicranella varia but has not been named. Leptodontium flexifolium was sought and found on a Calluna covered slope in its only known station in North Somerset. There was not time to visit the pools nor to go as far as the old lead mine about half a mile away but a small heap of lead mine waste was found on which Racomitrium lanuginosum and Grimmia donniana were seen. David Long was especially pleased to find Equisetum prothalli, of particular interest to Jeff Duckett who unfortunately was not present. Dr. Dennis Brown then took us over the road into a Forestry Commission plantation to demonstrate an area where the concentration of lead is so high+ that no trees can be persuaded to grow. The conditions are exactly those rejoiced in by Ditrichum plumbicola* which was found on this otherwise almost barren patch of soil.
I would like to thank those members who sent me lists of species seen during the day.
+ 31,000 to 51,000 ppm dry wt. of soil for Pb; 500 to 550 ppm for Zn.
* New vice county record.
Coupled with the Sunday field excursion, kindly summarized by Mrs. J. Appleyard, this was a successful and rewarding meeting. It could not have been so without the efforts of Dr. D. H. Brown and Mrs. Appleyard, who organized the indoor and outdoor activities respectively, and the Society must be very grateful to both.
M. E. NEWTON
Autumn Meeting 1980
Reading University, 1-2 November
Autumn Meeting 1980, Reading University, 1-2 November
This meeting was held over the weekend of 1 and 2 November, based at the Department of Botany, University of Reading by kind permission of Professor V. H. Heywood. About 30 members and guests attended.
Saturday was spent on the chalk of south Oxfordshire. In the morning we visited the Warburg Reserve at Bix Bottom, owned by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Naturalists' Trust and named in honour of the late Dr. E. F. Warburg. No rare bryophytes were recorded, but a good range of woodland and chalk grassland species was seen, including Brachythecium salebrosum, Bryum flaccidum, B. ruderale, Entodon concinnus, Orthotrichum affine, Pottia recta, Ulota crispa and Zygodon conoideus. The keen eye of Mr R. J. Fisk detected a single plant of Ephemerum recurvifolium! In the afternoon chalk grassland on the north side of Watlington Hill yielded, among others, Mnium stellare, Neckera crispa (c. spor.), Thuidium abietinum ssp. hystricosum and Tortella tortuosa.
Saturday evening and Sunday were spent in and around the Botany Department working over specimens and enjoying talks and demonstrations on the themes "Identification of Bryum and Pohlia", and "Cultivation of Bryophytes". Dr. E. V. Watson gave a talk entitled "Problems of a Referee in the Bryaceae" as well as displaying slides depicting leaf and peristome characters of member species. Demonstrations of bryophytes in agar culture were presented by Drs H. L. K. Whitehouse and R. E. Longton, and the greenhouse culture collections of Mr M. V. Fletcher and the University of Reading were examined. Thanks are due to Mr Fletcher, Dr Watson and Dr Whitehouse for their contributions to what appeared to be an enjoyable and instructive meeting.
R. E. LONGTON.