British Bryological Society visiting Teesside and South Gare

Teesside University hosted the British Bryological Society (BBS) autumn meeting and AGM on September 10th and 11th 2022. The BBS focusses on the study of mosses and liverworts, plants that can be easily ignored due to their diminutive size, but that are highly diverse and of extremely important for example for carbon capture in peatlands in nutrient cycling.

The full report of the meeting has just been published into Field Bryology no 129 (2023) and can be accessed following this link here.

Some 30 bryologists joined the 2-day meeting. On the first day, the indoor meeting featured talks by some of the biggest names in the field, including Dr Alain Vanderpoorten who came especially for the occasion from Belgium. Teesside’s very own Dr Jamie Bojko also presented preliminary results of his investigation on viruses and other microorganism in bryophytes.

On the second day, the group visited South Gare and made the largest bryophyte survey of the site to date. No less than 70 species were found, including 6 either new or not reported for Northeast Yorkshire for over 30 years. Among these rarities, one, the so-called Ribbed Extinguisher-moss appeared to be at its Southmost coastal site in Britain. Another, Warne’s Thread-moss was last seen in the area in Coatham Marshes in 1901, over 120 years ago!

South Gare is well known by botanist and other nature enthusiasts as a biodiversity hotspot of national importance. Because of this, it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and highly protected by law since the 1970s. More recently, local botanist Dave Barlow even wrote a Flora of South Gare, but we did not have a detailed idea of bryophyte diversity at the site until now.