Thursday 26 September 2013

Natives vs aliens II: David Pearman on Countryfile.

David Pearman and a rather large hogweed, northern Turkey
We have a broadcast date of 7pm this Sunday, 29th September, when you can see former BSBI President David Pearman on 'Countryfile' on BBC1. He will be challenging some preconceptions about the behaviour of 'alien invaders and native thugs' in the UK. The programme will be available all next week on iPlayer so you can listen to it again at leisure. And you can see 'Alien Invaders', the discussion paper co-authored by David, here. 

This subject does seem to be "trending" at the moment. A paper by Prof Rob Marrs and colleagues on 'Over-dominance in British woodland ground flora: a potential cause of reduced species-richness?' is to be published in the next (December) print issue of New Journal of Botany.  

Rob peering at some bracken rhizomes.
Their abstract begins "The invasion of native habitats by alien species has received considerable attention. In Britain, however, high levels of dominance by a small number of aggressive native plant species may have an equal, or greater, impact on the richness of native woodlands". Rob looked at five dominant native species - Ivy, Bramble, Nettle, Dog's Mercury and Bracken - and his findings make interesting reading.

Do take a look at the paper, which should be available on-line in the next few weeks: if you are a member, you can head over here, log in and start reading - email Alex if you've forgotten the password. If you're not yet a member, you could pay £233 for an annual institutional subscription to NJB, but I'm sure you'd rather join BSBI (£25) and receive three free copies a year and on-line access whenever you like. Otherwise you may never know what Rob discovered about those 'native thugs'...

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