This page briefly describes the bryology work I am currently carrying out in the Porter Valley, Sheffield, UK. Bryology is a branch of botany that focuses on bryophytes, i.e. mosses, liverwort and hornworts.
I have undertaken to compile a comprehensive list of bryophyte species for the Porter Valley. This includes bryophytes growing in the ancient and modern woodlands from the valley bottom, the grasslands, as well as from urban areas and sub-urban areas.
Why the Porter Valley?
The Porter Valley is a great wildlife corridor between the Peak District and the city of Sheffield, UK (550,000 inhabitants).
I got extremely enthusiastic about plant life in the Porter Valley as soon as we moved in the area in September 2012. As I am most of the time kept busy by family life and work, biological recording at my doorstep (literally – I have recorded interesting plants in my front garden!) is very practical because I don’t spend any time travelling to access recording sites.
Why a comprehensive list?
A comprehensive list of plant species for a relatively small area such as the Porter Valley is sometimes called a Florule (i.e. a small Flora) or a Site Flora as on the BSBI website. Of course no survey can ever claim to be absolutely comprehensive! There are always species not recorded either because the recorder(s) are not experienced enough to recognise a species, or because they did not look where it grows.
The interest of a comprehensive list is that it tell us as much about which species are present than about species that are absent. On the contrary, a collection of opportunistic records do not tell us much about those species that have not been recorded.
So, in the future, a comprehensive list of species can be the basis of an analysis regarding the environmental changes the Valley will experience, e.g. conservation efforts, climate change, pollution, urban encroachment, changes in agricultural practices.
Preliminary list (as of 20.01.2014) –
Amblystegium serpens var. serpens
Barbula convoluta var. convoluta
Hypnum cupressiforme var. cupressiforme
Hypnum cupressiforme var. resupinatum
Isothecium myosuroides var. myosuroides
Orthotrichum cf. speciosum
Orthotrichum cf. stramineum
Phascum cuspidatum var. cuspidatum
Polytrichum commune var. commune