Friday, 19 June 2015

Special issue of Biological Journal of the Linnean Society on biological recording

A note from Chris Preston:
Chris Preston (on right), BRC 50th Birthday Party
Image: Courtesy of the Biological Records Centre
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society volume 115 part 3 (July 2015) is devoted to biological recording, and it might therefore be of special interest to many BSBI members. The issue (guest-edited by H.E. Roy, C.D. Preston & D.B. Roy) marks the 50th anniversary of the Biological Records Centre and many of the papers are based on talks given at the celebratory conference held at the University of Bath in June 2014. In addition to an editorial introduction, there are 22 papers of which the following deal specifically with vascular plants:
  • Chapman, D., Bell, S., Helfer, S. & Roy, D.B. (2015). Unbiased inference of plant flowering phenology from biological recording data. BJLS 115: 543–554.
  • Gurney, M. (2015). Gains and losses: recent colonisations and extinctions in Britain. BJLS 115: 573–585. [Includes vascular plants as well as bryophytes and many animal groups]
  • Hill, M.O. & Preston, C.D. (2015). Disappearance of boreal plants in southern Britain – habitat loss or climate change? BJLS 115: 598–610. [Bryophytes and vascular plants.]
  • Pescott, O.L., Walker, K.J., Pocock, M.J.O., Jitlal, M., Outhwaite, C.W., Cheffings, C.M., Harris, F. & Roy, D.B. (2015). Ecological monitoring by citizen scientists: the history, design and implementation of schemes for plants in Britain and Ireland. BJLS 115: 505–521.
  • Preston, C.D. & Pearman, D.A. (2015). Plant hybrids in the wild: evidence from biological recording. BJLS 115: 555–572. [An analysis based on the recent BSBI publication Hybrid Flora of the British Isles.]
  • Stewart, A.J.A., Bantock, T.M., Beckmann, B.C., Botham, M.S., Hubble, D. & Roy, D.B. (2015). The role of ecological interactions in determining species ranges and range changes. BJLS 115: 647–663. [The ranges of phytophagous insects in relation to their hosts.]
In addition, there are papers on the Biological Records Centre as a pioneer of citizen science and on bias in biological records, and reviews of the uses of biological records in general and in IUCN Red List assessments, in understanding biological invasions and in tracking the spread and impacts of diseases in particular. 
More specific studies cover the history of the water beetle recording scheme (‘the oldest insect recording scheme’), the effects of air pollution on bryophytes, lichens and lichen-feeding lepidoptera, recent trends in the insects of early successional habitats, the impact of climate change on the northern range margins of a range of invertebrate groups and the effectiveness of protected areas in conserving species with changing ranges. 


From right: Pearman, Preston & Dines.
Co-authors, New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora
Image: L. Marsh
The remaining papers examine the future influence of emerging technologies and of molecular techniques on biological recording and discuss the pitfalls of ecological forecasting. 

A final paper sets out a 10-point plan for biological recording in the next decade.

The publisher has arranged to make these papers available free-to-download for three months after publication so if you are interested in them, act quickly. For details, see:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bij.2015.115.issue-3/issuetoc
C.D. Preston