Monday, 16 July 2018

BSBI Summer Meeting 2018: Day One

Jonathan Shanklin in the field
Image: K. Edkins
This year's Summer Meeting kicked off today on the Isle of Man. Organiser Jonathan Shanklin, BSBI's Field Meetings Secretary, will be sending us daily updates. 

Today's report  is quite short as the team only had a chance to spend a couple of hours in the field, but there has already been some tweeting about the meeting and a note appeared on the local radio station's website.

Over to Jonathan: 

One of the IoM habitats waiting to be explored
Image: P. Tomlinson 
"Botanists from across the country converged on the Isle of Man using many different routes. Remarkably, five managed to meet up on the ferry from Liverpool, which also had a sixth on board. Although the ferry passed through some heavy rain showers, the Island was still dry and looked very parched. 

"By the time we got to King William's College where we are based, the scheduled walk to Langness was about to depart, however to make life easier we drove there rather than walking the three kilometres from the College. We were lead around the peninsula by Richard Selman, who introduced us to the Lesser Mottled Grasshopper, which is found on the Isle of Man and not in the UK. 

Andree's opening slide
Image: K. Imms
"Botanically, whilst the short turf was well browned, many species were identifiable, for example Scilla verna. Elsewhere we debated whether a Stonecrop had a papillose stem (it did), examined the scales on the outer ring of achenes of a Leontodon and noted the glandular hairs on a perennial Spergularia. By the time we got back to the car park we had about 100 species on the list, not too bad for a monad in a few hours.

"Returning to the College, we found our rooms and then dinner in the school hall ("like Hogwarts" was one comment). After dinner, Andree Dubbledam entertained us to an account of the varied habitats of the island and some of the flora that we might find. We promised to leave most questions until we met up with him in the field later in the week!

"Tomorrow we head to the north of the Island to see some dune flora and on the way back some ancient meadows. Watch this space!"