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Meetings of the BBS - 1979


Spring Field Meeting 1979

Ludlow, 4-11 April

The Spring Meeting was held at Ludlow, Shropshire (vc. 40) from 4 to 11 April. During the week, 37 members and other bryologists attended and even on the last day there were still 17. Although the meeting provided relatively few NVCRs and rarities, the total count of about 280 species, from a wide range of habitats provided invaluable experience for the high proportion of near-beginners.

5 April. The morning was spent exploring old, wooded quarries below Wenlock Edge (vc. 40). These produced: Fissidens exilis, Pottia recta*, Weissia controversa v. crispata*, Tortula princeps, Brachythecium glareosum and Phascum curvicolle. Undeterred by a few flakes of snow during lunch the party then split up. One group remained on Wenlock Edge and found Aloina aloides and Mnium stellare, whilst others went either to Wolverton Wood, to record for the Nature Conservancy, to a wooded gorge at Monkhopton, Norton Camp Wood (the turf of the ancient camp had been devastated by tree felling) or to Ash Bridge. These sites were all on limestone though it was seldom near the surface. The species found included Dicranum tauricum*, Orthotrichum rivulare, O. stramineum, Metzgeria pubescens and Ptilidium pulcherrimum.

[* = New vice county record]

6 April. In the morning we walked across Leinthall Common to Croft Ambrey, an iron-age fort on the limestone edge (vc. 36) finding both limestone and heathland bryophytes such as Barbula revoluta, Ditrichum cylindricum, Pohlia lutescens* and the woodland form of Ctenidium molluscum. More notable however were the epiphytes Neckera pumila, Leucodon sciuroides and Metzgeria temperata. The afternoon saw us at Downton Gorge (vc. 36), a ravine cut by a glacial overflow in Silurian shales and limestones, the latter yielding Mnium marginatum and Reboulia hemisphaerica. The environs of the river yielded Cinclidotus mucronatus, Scleropodium cespitans and Taxiphyllum wissgrillii whilst diverse epiphytes on old elders included Cryphaea heteromalla and Orthotrichum pulchellum. A few optimists who proceeded further along the river which in the upper part of the gorge is flanked by an apparently depressing conifer, plantation were rewarded by Targionia hypophylla, Pohlia cruda, Dicranella staphylina and Bartramia ithyphylla. One member noted Funaria fascicularis and Dicranella schreberana, in an unploughed arable field.

7 April. A clear cold morning promised the good weather necessary for exploration of Brown Clee Hill (vc. 40). This consists mainly of Old Red Sandstone with thin calcareous bands. The summit is covered with coal mines leaving a desolate but botanically interesting landscape of overgrown spoil heaps. Confusion about where the path began, split the party into two main groups but nearly all met at the summit just in time to face a blizzard which rapidly obliterated all the bryophytes and prevented the majority from seeing Grimmia incurva. Despite the atrocious conditions 132 species were recorded and nice finds included Blindia acuta, Funaria obtusa, Rhynchostegiella teesdalei and Gyroweisia tenuis. Surprisingly, Racomitrium heterostichum was found on soil.

8 April. This was the 'free' day but most people continued mapping, particularly laudable, considering the day had started wet and continued wetter with a thunderstorm and hail. The main party went to Brampton Bryan Park (vc. 36) an attractive parkland rich in lichens growing on old specimen trees. Species not seen on previous excursions included Scapania compacta c. spor, Plectocolea hyalina, Dicranum montanum* and Dicranella rufescens. Another party went to Mary Knoll Valley (vc. 40), a pleasant wooded valley finding Zygodon conoideus, then proceeded to Cardingmill Valley in the Long Mynd (vc. 40) hoping to pay their respects to Bryum weigelii and Grimmia montana. Others went to Limebrook (vc. 36) finding Ulota crispa, only seen once before at this meeting, to Corndon Hill (vc. 47) and to Ludlow Castle (Tortula papillosa and T. laevipila).

9 April. Despite the rain and dismal weather forecasts many of the local members still decided to brave the elements, and they were well rewarded. The rain soon ceased and a most enjoyable day was spent exploring the Ystol Bach Brook in Radnor Forest (vc. 43), until stopped by the snow line, well below the Whinyard Rocks. Species not seen before included Amphidium mougeotii, Breutelia chrysocoma, Diphyscium foliosum, Drepanocladus uncinatus, Encalypta ciliata, Plagiobryum zierii, Seligeria recurvata and Porella cordaeana.

10 April. In the morning we visited Titterstone Clee Hill, (vc. 40) to examine species growing on the dolerite rocks at the summit. However we found ourselves in dense driving mist with visibility down to barely 50 yards. The party kept well together and was thankful that our leader was able to refind the cars. Despite the difficult conditions, Grimmia incurva was refound. At lunch time we looked for Tortula stanfordensis at Eastham Bridge over the R. Teme (vc. 37), a new station discovered the previous Sunday. The rain then fell torrentially but ceased as we approached Hanley Dingle (vc. 37), a pathless wooded ravine with calcareous outcrops. Particularly notable was the number of species with numerous capsules. These included Eucladium verticillatum, Eurhynchium praelongum var. stokesii, Thamnobryum alopecurum and Conocephalum conicum. Rhynchostegiella teesdalei was abundant on rocks in the stream and Dicranum tauricum and Leiocolea turbinata were also seen. This site could well repay further investigation under less difficult conditions.

The meeting had been very carefully organised by Michael Pearman who must have put in much work to find the interesting and delightful places to which we went. We owe him many thanks for doing this and for making the meeting itself such a success.



Summer 1979, Limerick & Glengarriff

19-31 August

Limerick was chosen for the first week of the Irish meeting. It is a good communications centre and allowed us to visit little-known areas in several vice-counties.

19 August. The turloughs are a characteristic feature of the limestone of County Clare (H. 9) and our first excursion was to Fin Lough, beyond Sixmilebridge. Ricciocarpus natans, growing on some very soft mud, was the most interesting of several species new to the county. The nearby Lough Cullaunyheeda had some fine Bryum neodamense and Campylium elodes. We finished the day by a visit to some more acid ground on the west side of Slievebernagh, going up a muddy lane to some open ground higher up on the hill. This produced no less than fourteen new county records, including Pohlia muyldermansii, P. camptotrachela, Hypnum lindbergii, Riccia warnstorfii and Pellia neesiana.

20 August. The day's excursion was to Clare Glens, a sandstone ravine a few miles to the east of Limerick. Clare Glens of course are not in Co. Clare - this is Ireland - but partly in Co. Limerick (H.8) and partly in Co. Tipperary (H.10). For the first half of the day the rain was torrential, but it cleared up later. On the Tipperary side of the stream we found nineteen bryophytes new to the vice-county, including Fissidens exiguus (new to Ireland), Hygroamblystegium fluviatile, Leptodontium flexifolium, Cololejeunea calcarea and Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii. Other species included Dumortiera hirsuta, Marchesinia mackaii and Lophocolea fragrans. On the Limerick side we spent less time, but made a few additions, including Zygodon conoideus. We finished with a stop at a meadow upstream and added to the North Tipperary flora Dicranella schreberana, Riccia sorocarpa and a few other gap-fillers.

21 August. Keeper Hill, at 2278 feet the highest in the district, had to be visited. After an abortive attempt from the west we eventually assaulted the hill from the south, struggling up through Molinia tussocks on a day of high winds and frequent heavy squalls of rain. Those few brave spirits who reached the top found little to reward them there, but the way up produced several good new records for North Tipperary, including Nardia compressa, Lepidozia trichoclados, Calypogeia neesiana. Sphagnum robustum and Marsupella sphacelata. A very muddy little coppice at the foot of the hill proved rewarding, with Fissidens celticus, Plagiochila killarniensis and fruiting Metzgeria fruticulosa. A visit on the way back to Silvermines, with its extensive spoil heaps, was a little disappointing, but Thuidium delicatulum, T. philibertii and Barbula ferruginascens brought the day's total of new records to twenty-four.

22 August. On this day the party divided. One contingent went south of the Shannon to the Askeaton area of Co. Limerick ( H. 8). Isothecium striatulum was seen on the abbey ruins. New records included Amblystegiella confervoides, Gymnostomum calcareum, Gyroweisia tenuis and Pottia recta. Fissidens crassipes was added from Curragh Chase. A second party returned to Co. Clare, visiting first of all a raised bog near Derrymore House, noted as promising-looking on the first day. It proved worthwhile, with a rich Sphagnum flora and three liverworts new to the county: Calypogeia sphagnicola, Cephaloziella subdentata and Cephalozia media. Visits to a couple of nearby lakes and to Woodcock Hill filled in a few more gaps in the flora of the county.

23 August. We visited the hills to the west of Newcastle West in Co. Limerick. The main stop was at the ravine of the R. Daar by Glenaster House. The water level was very high and must have reduced the number of species seen. New to the county were Fissidens celticus, Plagiochila britannica, Radula lindenbergiana and Colura calyptrifolia. Other good finds included Frullania germana and fruiting Metzgeria fruticulosa. A roadside stop at Sugar Hill added Ditrichum cylindricum and Pohlia lutescens. Knockanimpaha, visited not only for its name, yielded Pohlia lescuriana, new to Ireland, and, on a cutaway bog, Pallavicinia lyellii.

24 August. The party again divided. Some went north to the shores of Lough Dearg and made some interesting additions to the flora of North Tipperary, including Tortula papillosa, Fissidens crassipes and Scapania aspera. Others paid a final visit to Co. Clare and worked a 10 km square to the west of Ennis. Physcomitrella patens and Anthoceros husnotii were seen by Lough Burke. A fortunate misreading of the map lead to the R. Inagh, a little to the north, and to Fossombronia husnotii, Epipterygium tozeri and Dicranella rufescens.

25 August. A travelling day. We shook the litter of Limerick from our feet and drove to the pleasantly rural village of Glengarriff. On the way we stopped at Tralee, and paid homage to Gyroweisia luisieri first seen on a wall near the station in 1951. We found it without difficulty, though with much less fruit on it than in 1951. The way to Glengarriff led past the Tore Cascade, near Killarney, and it was impossible to pass without stopping - three cars met there without prior arrangement. Most of the population of Kerry seemed to have found the attractions of Tore equally irresistible, but in spite of the crowd we found many of the rarities for which it is well known; and we drove to Glengarriff in rain and low cloud, ruefully remembering that oceanic species must be paid for in wet weather.

26 August. We awoke to brilliant sunshine, inaugurating a spell of five days of warm sunny weather. We had several new recruits so that on some days our numbers were over twenty. We had, too, an additional presence, the benevolent and gentle ghost of Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) whose home was just round the corner of Bantry Bay. She was a brilliant field cryptogamic botanist and the list of her discoveries is a long one, including not only all those species with the epithet "hutchinsiae", but many more besides. This was her country, and during the week we re-found many of her plants though some, such as Leiocolea bantriensis, were not revealed to us.

The first day's excursion was to the woods in the immediate neighbourhood of Glengarriff. We did not make many additions to the flora of West Cork (H. 3). - Fissidens celticus, F. curnowii and Tritomaria exsecta were the most interesting - but we did find a great many oceanic species that people were pleased to see: Fissidens polyphyllus, Daltonia splachnoides, Sematophyllum demissum, Fossombronia husnotii, Lepidozia cupressina, Telaranea nematodes, Lejeunea flava, Colura calyptrifolia, Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia, etc.

27 August. The excursion was to Glen Beag Lough and the adjoining hill of Lackawee, to the west of Glengarriff. On a beautiful day Leptodontium recurvifolium and Pohlia lescuriana were added to the flora of W. Cork. There was a rich Radula flora, including R. voluta, R. holtii, R. lindenbergiana and R. aquilegia Other species included Herberta adunca subsp. hutchinsiae, Jubula hutchinsiae, Lejeunea holtii, Marchesinia mackaii and Gymnomitrion crenulatum.

28 August. Uragh Wood by Inchiquin Lough, to the north-west of Glengarriff but in Co. Kerry (H. 1) was visited this day. South Kerry is a well-worked vice-county and nothing new to it was found, but the rocks and streams of the wood give it a rich flora including many of the species seen on the two preceding days. Noteworthy were both the Sematophyllum spp., Metzgeria temperata, Lophocolea fragrans, Plagiochila corniculata, Harpalejeunea ovata, Cephalozia catenulata and Adelanthus decipiens.

29 August. We drove a few miles to the north-east, to Gouganebarra lake. Streams and ravines in the conifer plantations surrounding the lake produced many of the small hepatics already seen. In the open ground above Ted Wallace found Campylopus shawii. After lunch we went up by different routes to the ridge above and made several additions to the flora of West Cork: Rhabdoweisia crenulata, Sphagnum recurvum var. tenue (new to Ireland), Cephaloziella hampeana, Anthelia julacea, Lepidozia pearsonii and Anastrepta orcadensis.

30 August. The party divided. One car load went north into Kerry, worked up the Roughty River, and found several species that had not been seen previously on the meeting. New to South Kerry were Metzgeria fruticulosa, Eurhynchium murale, and Gyroweisia luisieri. Others explored the Sheep's Head peninsula, on the south side of Bantry Bay. Among species new to West Cork were Bryum tenuisetum (new to Ireland), Odontoschisma elongatum (the second Irish record), Fossombronia incurva and Calypogeia sphagnicola.

31 August. By now the spell of fine weather had come to an end and we were confronted with low cloud and driving rain. A wet and not particularly productive stop by the Adrigole River was followed by a rash sortie to some higher ground where at Glen Lough Jean Paton managed to rescue from drowning some Atrichum tenellum, new to Ireland. A descent to the sea shore, where the weather was a little less impossible, produced a few final new records for West Cork: Grimmia trichophylla var. robusta, Leptodontium flexifolium, Bryum ruderale and Lejeunea lamacerina var. azorica.

So ended a most enjoyable and profitable meeting, attended by a good number of Irish and British members and by some very welcome visitors from the Netherlands. We found five species or varieties new to Ireland, made over 150 new vice-county records, of which only a fraction have been listed here, and made lists from twenty-seven 10-kilometre squares, averaging nearly 100 per square. All those who participated owe a big debt of gratitude to Donal Synnott for his efficient organisation and excellent leadership.


AGM & Symposium 1979

Manchester, 22-23 September

A total of 54 members and guests met at Hulme Hall in the University of Manchester for all or part of the autumn paper-reading and annual general meeting, held during the weekend of 22-23 September. We were particularly pleased to welcome a number of new members attending their first meeting of the Society, and to have three overseas visitors. The participation of several members of the Manchester Department of Botany, including three of its professors, was also very welcome.

On the Saturday, the President and Vice-President introduced six speakers whose papers reflected an increasing awareness of the desirability of more experimental work on bryophytes, a trend which was applauded by the Society during its international symposium in Bangor. Thus, we heard accounts of genetical, morpho-genetical, biochemical and ecological experiments which, apart from their intrinsic interest, served to emphasize the morphological implications of physiological and behavioural characters. Summaries of these papers are given below.

Mr. P. M. HAYWARD and Dr. R. S. CLYMO (Department of Botany, Westfield College, London): "The growth of Sphagnum: effects of environment. "

Two aspects of the environment were considered: water and light. An important feature of these is that they affect the growth of different species in different ways. This point was illustrated with some results from a factorial growth experiment which combined the effects of shade and water level on two species: Sphagnum rubellum and S. papillosum. Growth in mass increased with more light for both species but S. papillosum was more tolerant of higher water levels. Conversely, shading caused the plants to grow longer and become etiolated.

Both water and irradiation affect the plants by acting on the apical growing region. Water gets to the apex by capillary action in the small spaces between plants so that an individual will receive less water when growing above the general surface and more water below. The reverse is true of irradiation which will be reduced below the surface due to shading by neighbouring plants. It was demonstrated that this shading effect followed Beer's Law with absorbance being proportional to depth. In general, S. rubellum attenuated light more strongly than S. papillosum but the exact amount depended on the previous growth history.

A method for measuring profiles of water content in peat was also described. This utilized the attenuating effect of water on gamma radiation. It was demonstrated that the capillary spaces in S. rubellum were smaller than in S. papillosum allowing it to maintain a similar water content in the apex even with lower water-tables. However, the actual moisture profile depended on whether the water-table was raised or lowered to a particular position. This hysteresis effect was often as great as the differences between species.

Finally, a tentative model incorporating these various effects was described.

Miss O. M. BRAGG (Department of Biological Sciences, University of Dundee): "The water relations of Sphagnum communities."

This paper was concerned with the water economy of the surface layers of Dun Moss, a raised bog in the Grampian foothills. The vegetation consisted largely of Sphagnum species, which formed a characteristic mosaic of hummocks and hollows. The seasonal behaviour of the water table in relation to these elements of microrelief was described. It emerged that there were significant differences in the response of the water table to varying meteorological conditions, both between adjacent hummocks and hollows, and between hummocks of S. magellanicum and S. capillifolium. Scanning electron micrographs were presented to illustrate the capacity of individual Sphagnum shoots to retain and conduct water. Microscopic examination of thin sections cut from intact stands of the two species indicated that there were obvious differences in pore structure between associations of their living shoots, but that these differences disappeared within 20 cm of the surface as a result of humification. The spatial variations in structure were reflected by variations in horizontal hydraulic conductivity, whose value at the surface was much greater in S. magellanicum stands, but which decreased exponentially with depth in areas of both species. The greater seasonal variability of water table relief observed in S. capillifolium stands was attributed to the comparatively high resistance to horizontal flow within them. Finally, the possible bearing of pore structure on the rate of vertical water movement, and the effect of the presence of vascular plants, were discussed.

Dr. D. H. BROWN and Dr. G. W. BUCK (Department of Botany, University of Bristol): "The cation content of bryophytes."

Much recent work on the cation content of bryophytes, under natural and polluted conditions, has failed to determine the cellular location of specific elements. Only material within the cell (plasmalemma) can have an immediate effect on metabolism.

A sequential cation elution technique was described, separating four cellular compartments: 1) intercellular soluble, 2) extracellular exchangeable (nickel usually used as the displacing agent) = cell wall, 3) intracellular soluble and 4) residual. Generally, in washed material, potassium and sodium are mainly located in 3 but after sea water treatment non-halophytes show increased sodium in 2 and 3 (potassium in 3 decreases) while halophytes show slight increases in 2. Depending on the species, calcium is present in either 2 and/or 4 and magnesium and zinc show patterns intermediate between calcium and potassium (i.e. in 2, 3, and 4).

Following desiccation stress (storage at 52% and 0% RH) potassium leaks from 3 mainly into 1 while soluble magnesium may be trapped in 2. The degree of potassium loss has been used as a measure of membrane damage and reflected the depth and duration of desiccation, species used, water availability in the habitat and availability of metabolisable reserves to repair membrane damage.

After exclusion of particulate matter material from heavy metal rich sites showed almost identical cellular locations for strontium and calcium (Brachythecium rutabulum), copper mainly (Solenostoma crenulatum) and lead exclusively (Grimmia donniana) in 2.

Dr. C.J. GLIDDON (School of Plant Biology, University College of North Wales, Bangor): "Studies on the population biology of four species of thallose liverwort."

Natural populations of four species of thallose liverwort (Pellia epiphylla, Conocephalum conicum, Lunularia cruciata and Marchantia polymorpha) were collected from sites throughout Britain. The populations sampled were all riparian and at least two of the species under study were always present in populations sampled. In this way it was hoped to minimise any differences between species which were a result of differences in their physical environment. Populations of the four species were assayed for protein polymorphism using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). Eight specific enzyme stains were used, which on subsequent genetic analysis yielded data on between 24 and 61 loci, depending upon the species. Estimates of genetic variability in the four species were made (average number of alleles per locus, and the proportion of loci polymorphic). In addition a theoretical estimate was made of the average amount of heterozygosity (H) on the assumption that the haploid gametophyte mated at random to form a diploid sporophyte. This was to allow a direct comparison with the literature for higher plants and animals. Estimates of genetic distances between populations were also made.

In comparison with higher plants, the thallose liverworts were genetically uniform (H = 0.020 for liverworts, H = 0.108 for 2 species of higher plant). The four liverworts divided into two groups on the basis of variability: P. epiphylla which was genetically uniform (H = 0 ± 0.000) throughout the British Isles; L. cruciata, M. polymorpha and C. conicum which possessed low levels of genetic variation (H = 0.026 ± 0.005). This grouping is in accord with the taxonomic relationships of the four species, P. epiphylla being relatively distantly related to the other three which are all placed in the same super-genus.

The data on genetic distances were only calculated for between-population, within-species comparisons,due to the difficulties with the PAGE-technique of assigning identities to bands which migrate the same distance in different species. Due to their genetic uniformity, P. epiphylla populations of course had a genetic distance of 0 between them. A Canadian population of P. epiphylla was obtained, giving a genetic distance of 0.14 from the U.K. populations. This distance was of the same order as that obtained between populations of the other three species, some populations of which were only separated by about 400 metres. This illustrates the difficulties of utilising genetic distance measures derived from PAGE in taxonomic analysis, as fundamental life-history and genetic parameters may strongly bias the magnitude of such estimates.

Work is in progress to assess the levels of genetic variation in two other species of the genus Pellia (P. endiviifolia and P. neesiana) to see whether the lack of genetic variability in P. epiphylla is a facet of its particular life-history or of the genus as a whole.

Dr. L. P. NYMAN and Prof. E. G. CUTTER (Department of Botany, University of Manchester): "Control of bud outgrowth in the gametophore of Plagiomnium. "

In growing shoots of P. cuspidatum and P. undulatum an inhibited bud meristem was present on the stem above each leaf axil. Following decapitation, several buds in upper axils grew out; others were activated, but were re-inhibited by growing buds. Applied auxin failed to inhibit buds in decapitated shoots completely, but after treatment with some concentrations they developed as spherical structures devoid of leaf primordia. Cytokinins permitted initial bud development, but completely inhibited later development. Auxin and cytokinin applied in combination yielded buds which morphologically resembled those which had been released and then re-inhibited naturally.

Enzyme histochemistry of released and inhibited buds suggested that oxidation processes may be important in maintaining bud inhibition in intact gametophores. Further investigations of enzyme histochemistry and of endogenous hormone levels in mosses are likely to be fruitful.

Prof. D. J. COVE (Department of Genetics, University of Leeds): "Genetic studies on the roles of auxins and cytokinins in the development of Physcomitrella patens."

Observations of wild-type and mutant strains of P. patens lead to the following conclusions:

Conclusion Evidence
1) Auxins are required for the transition of primary chloronemata (the first cell type to be produced on spore germination or tissue regeneration) to caulonemata.

a) Auxin non-synthesising mutants produce no normal caulonemata.

b) Drip feeding (the supply of a steady stream of fresh medium) of wild-type cultures produces only chloronemata. If auxin is added to the drip-feed medium, caulonema production is restored.

2) Auxins depress the proliferation of primary and secondary chloronemata (cells morphologically similar to primary chloronemata but arising as side branches on caulonemata) but only in the presence of cytokinins a) Direct observation of the effects of auxins on the wild-type.

b) Auxin non-synthesising mutants produce more chloronemata than wild-type.

c) Cytokinin non-synthesising mutants insensitive to auxins.

3) High auxin concentrations interfere with gametophore development and enhance rhizoid production. a) Direct observation of the effects of auxins on the wild-type.
4) Cytokinins play no major developmental role until caulonemal side branches have been initiated. a) Cytokinin non-synthesising mutants develop normally to this stage.

b) The addition of cytokinins to drip-feed medium has no effect unless caulonemata production has been induced by the supply of auxin.

5) Cytokinins are required for caulonemal side branches to develop into buds. High cytokinin concentrations both lead to every side branch forming a bud and block further gametophore development. a) Cytokinin non-synthesising mutants produce no buds or gametophores.

b) Direct observation of the effects of cytokinins on wild-type cultures.

6) Cytokinins depress chloronemal proliferation but only in the presence of auxin. a) Cytokinin non-synthesising mutants produce more chloronemata than wild-type.

b) Direct observation of the effects of cytokinin on the wild-type.

c) Auxin non-synthesising mutants insensitive to cytokinins.

The A. G. M. was held after tea. Members later enjoyed a reception which had been generously provided by the Vice-Chancellor and kindly arranged by Prof. J. Colhoun, who deputized for the Vice-Chancellor on the day. Demonstrations on display during the evening conversazione included the following:

Dr. K. J. Adams: Some acquisitions of the B. B. S. library.
Dr. H.L.K. Whitehouse: Tortula stanfordensis in Britain.

After a day of sunshine, the Sunday dawned distinctly damp but began to clear up before the first field locality was reached, obviously with bryologists in mind. Our first stop was to the north of Heywood where members explored part of the Cheesden Brook valley. The area is one of varied habitats including woodland, rocks in the stream, wet outcropping gritstones, heath and unstable wet clay. Among the species seen were Atrichum crispum, Seligeria recurvata, Dicranella subulata (recently recorded in v.c. 59 for the first time this century), Gymnostomum aeruginosum, Discelium nudum and Heterocladium heteropterum. The best discovery, however, was undoubtedly Mark Hill's new county record of Fissidens curnowii.

A leisurely picnic lunch above Wardle prepared us for an onslaught on bryophytes in the vicinity of Watergrove reservoir, which we visited by permission of the North West Water Authority. There, we found Nardia compressa, Atrichum crispum, Oligotrichum hercynicum, Tetrodontium brownianum and plentiful Discelium nudum, all species that are so typical of the Lancashire hills and, indeed, of similar parts of Yorkshire, as shown by the list compiled by two members returning home to that county. While most of us were ranging widely to see these plants, some concentrated on the exposed banks of the reservoir itself, to be rewarded by interesting discoveries of Fossombronia wondraczekii, Archidium alternifolium and Pohlia camptotrachela. It was there, also, that Alan Crundwell in finding Atrichum tenellum and Bryum tenuisetum made two further records for v.c. 59. One member seemed oblivious of time at this point but, once collected, we all went on to pay homage to an exceptionally fine population of Schistostega pennata in the vicinity of Brushes Clough reservoir above Crompton, arriving just as the moss was highlighted by the late afternoon sun.

I think it is true to say that this was an enjoyable meeting. For helping to make it so, the Society and I are indebted to Dr. J.N. Hartshorne and Mr. R. Wilson, the warden and administrator of Hulme Hall, for considering our needs so well and, above all, for their tolerance of late bookings and changed plans. My thanks are also due to Prof. Colhoun, whose assistance in organizing the reception I greatly appreciate, and to all those members who kindly sent lists of species seen during the field excursion.



Autumn 1979, London (QMC)

27-28 October

This was held over the weekend of October 27th and 28th at the Plant Biology Field Station of Queen Mary College near Brentwood, Essex. About eighteen members and two guests attended the Workshop and in addition the organiser was assisted by Drs. K.J. Adams, A.J. Harrington and H.L.K. Whitehouse.

On Saturday Grays and Warren chalk quarries at Thurrock were visited. The Essex Naturalists' Trust Reserve warden, Mr. Colin Studholme, kindly acted as guide around the largely overgrown Grays Quarry where no unusual bryophytes were found but a good range of chalk scrub and grassland species were collected for later examination. At the more recently opened Warren pit we failed to refind the unidentified acrocarp discovered by Mark Hill a few years ago but Harold Whitehouse and Chris Preston did add Lophozia perssonii to the records for v.c. 18.

The afternoon and evening were spent in the field laboratory examining the morning collections and Dr. Whitehouse gave a talk on 'Arable Field Bryophytes'. On Sunday it was intended to follow up the talk by examining local arable fields but the recent mild weather had persuaded local farmers to plough all their fields and the party visited instead Mores Wood, Navestock, to see a good range of bryophytes on basic and acid soils. We also visited South Weald Country Park to see the locally abundant Dicranum tauricum which grows on a variety of tree and shrub barks. After lunch laboratory work continued interspersed by a talk by Peter Wanstall on the problems and methods of examining members of the Polytrichales.



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