Ouch! I didn't mean to do it. I don't know why I did it. And now I'm paying for it! I went back to survey the mosses on the palace leas http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/r.s.shiel/Palace_Leas/index.html
plots and ended up doing 100 quadrats
in 1 day. Granted, I was only recording bryophytes
and most quadrats
1 or 2 species (or sometimes none), so they weren't that demanding. I wanted to do 140 quadrats
and had put aside 3 days to do them. By lunchtime I had done about 40 and then by 5 o clock I had done another 40 or so when I remembered that I had to do a talk for farmers about the Hay Time project in Allendale
that evening at 7.30. So I thought I might as well do some more for an hour or so to pass the time (even though it was getting quite hard to see after 6).
The plots have not been grazed since winter so I had to keep parting the grass with my hands to search for mosses underneath. So now, I've got repetitive strain injury. My hands were killing me when I got home! This is actually my second moss injury, but that's another story, So then of course I spent the next 4 days painting our new house which didn't really do my hands any favours.
Anyway the survey was worthwhile. The more detailed look confirmed what I found on the first visit except that by doing quadrats
I did find several other species that I had not spotted the first time. There are very striking patterns of moss distribution on the different plots subject
to differing fertiliser treatment and I've no idea really what
lies behind this pattern! It will be very interesting to analyse the data against the other data that have been collected from the plots over
There is also a clear difference between the bryophyte
flora on the ridges and on the furrows. There are fewer mosses on the furrows. You might think that the furrows
would be damper and this would encourage bryophytes
, but maybe there is too much competition from the grasses which are significantly more vigorous
in the furrows than on the ridges at this time of year.
I also thought that the 2 most acid plots might have similar bryophyte
floras as they are significantly more acid than all of the others. In fact their bryophyte
floras were completely different, so I guess the direct influence of the fertiliser must be more significant than the pH. Robert Sheil http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/r.s.shiel/
is now going to analyse the data and hopefully we will be able to get a journal article or 2 out of it. Its amazing how few papers there are on the ecology of bryophytes
. The species I found on these
plots are all extremely common plants and we know hardly anything about their ecology! Of course the vast
majority of ecologists would not recognise
them, so that's part of the reason.
Labels: bryophyte ecology