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eNews September 2019

Atlas 2020

There is a truly amazing amount of recording currently going on across Britain & Ireland in this final year of the 20-year Atlas 2020 project. So far 700,000 records have been added to the BSBI Database (DDb).  There are approximately 2,845 hectads in Great Britain & 1,020 in Ireland. Just over half of them have had Atlas records added to the DDb for 2019 (54% to be precise).  Of course, lots of records are still in the pipeline, and variously still have to be collected, digitised or sent to the DDb so presumably an even greater proportion of Britain and Ireland’s hectads will have been visited by the end of the year! Fantastic.  Keep up the good work!

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

Grid References

When processing records received from other recorders, for import to MapMate, it is important to retain full details of the records.  So, for example, if you receive records with detailed site grid references (100m precision or better), never reduce the precision of the records to monad or tetrad.  The BSBI Database (DDb) automatically maps more detailed records at 100m, monad, tetrad or hectad precision, depending on the map's zoom level.  If you download such records from the DDb, it will have automatically calculated monad, tetrad and hectad grid references.  The DDb also makes it simple to create monad, tetrad or hectad taxon lists from more detailed records.  There are many advantages to precisely located records, and no disadvantages, so please don't throw away useful information.

On a similar subject, never put full grid references in the comments field and a monad or tetrad reference in the grid reference field.  Again, it is a pity to lose all that additional resolution.

I now quickly check all grid references using Cucaera, before entering them. And I always sync records to the DDb promptly, before using the DDb zoomable map to check the records are correctly plotted. It is generally easier getting these things right first time than having to subsequently correct.

Andy Amphlett, BSBI Recorder Banff

Aquatic Plant Project in Northern Ireland

We've just completed another hugely successful 9 days of the Aquatic Plant Project, this time in the Irish Midlands with Nick Stewart. Over 80 people have been involved in the Aquatic Plant Project so far this summer, collecting hundreds of new aquatic records. Having joined Nick for a few days in the Midlands, I can confirm that he's a great teacher who makes this tricky group of plants seem much more accessible and I can't wait to get back out with a grapnel for some more recording!

Thanks to funding from CEDaR we are now taking the Aquatic Plant Project to Northern Ireland in September. If you want to learn aquatic plant identification and recording, please come along! From 7th to 15th September, Nick Stewart will be running free training and recording field days across NI. You can find more details about the project and how to get involved on the Aquatic Plant Project webpage. If you’d like to join any of the training and recording days in Northern Ireland, you can book them here. All are welcome but spaces are limited to 10 people per day.

Sarah Pierce, BSBI Ireland Officer


There is just one national 2019 field meeting remaining (which is fully booked), then there is the Irish Autumn Meeting & AGM, the Scottish Botanists' Conference and the Annual Exhibition Meeting (AEM) to conclude the year (see below).  This means that it is the perfect time to start planning the 2020 programme of field meetings.  There won't be any Atlas 2020 recording, but there will still be local Floras, Rare Plant Registers and site surveys that might benefit from the eyes of many botanists.  You might like to organise field days for beginners or at least BSBI members who have never been on a field meeting before, giving them a particularly warm welcome and friendly encouragement.  Please send in details of the meeting that you would like to offer to your national field meetings secretary – which in the case of England is me.  If possible, please send them by early November so that I can prepare a poster for the AEM.

Jonathan Shanklin, Hon. Field Meetings Secretary

Irish Autumn Meeting and AGM

The BSBI Ireland Autumn Meeting and AGM is fast approaching and we have a great programme lined up!  It will be held at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, on Saturday, 21st September, and will include an update on Atlas 2020 progress, reports from this year's main Irish recording trip in Galway, Rough Crew, and the new Leitrim Local Group, and of course the AGM. We also thought it’d be great to link to the Aquatic Plant Project with a talk on the importance of Irish Wetlands and a short aquatic plant identification workshop. Check the Autumn Meeting webpage for details. We hope to see you there!

Sarah Pierce, BSBI Ireland Officer

Scottish Botanists’ Conference

The 2019 Scottish Botanists’ Conference will be held on Saturday 2nd November at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and will have a great mix of talks, mini-workshops, posters and exhibits – and the BSBI Scottish AGM.  Our main speaker will be Prof Richard Crawford on Plants at the margin in a changing climate. Everybody is welcome! A flyer will appear with the September issue of BSBI News but please book online for the Scottish Botanists’ Conference.  Online booking is simple and saves me a lot of time.  There is a choice of two of eight mini-workshops – all of which have limited capacity. So first come first served!

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

Annual Exhibition Meeting and AGM

This year’s BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting (AEM) will take place on Saturday 23rd November at the Natural History Museum, London. Everybody is welcome, whether or not you are a BSBI member! The programme and booking info (including for exhibitors) will be available as a flyer inside the September issue of BSBI News (mailed out to all members) and details will be posted shortly after on the AEM webpage. Please use the online booking form if at all possible: it’s quick and easy to use and makes life much easier for the organisers!

This year’s speakers include several County Recorders talking about BSBI’s botanical year; a new ‘lightning talks’ slot; Tim Rich on his new Gentians Handbook; Alex Twyford from RBGE; and our keynote speaker is Clive Stace talking about the birth and evolution of the New Flora of the British Isles.  We hope to see you in London on 23rd November!

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

New Year Plant Hunt 2020

This time we are breaking with tradition! We have always announced the dates of the New Year Plant Hunt (NYPH) on 1st December but so many of you now have the Hunt as a firm fixture in your diaries and you told us that you’d like to have the dates in advance so you can start planning to go out in groups. We’ll be publishing the dates in the September issue of BSBI News but if you can’t wait until then… Wednesday 1st January to Saturday 4th January. If you’re organising a group Hunt, send us details so we can help spread the word.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

British & Irish Botany: third issue out now

Last month we reported that the first two issues of British & Irish Botany, BSBI’s scientific journal, had been published earlier this year.  The third issue of Volume 1 has just been published and is available now to view or download free of charge, whether or not you are a BSBI member.

In the third issue there are papers on the invasion and colonisation of the Sefton Coast by Rosa rugosa (Japanese Rose); inland populations of Juncus balticus (Baltic Rush) in Scotland; the Conservation status of Sorbus cuneifolia (Llangollen Whitebeam); whether Euphorbia hyberna (Irish Spurge) is native or naturalised in England and a paper on the first records of Pangium edule drift endocarps from UK and Bermuda waters. You can view or download all these papers here.  Many thanks to all those who have submitted manuscripts.

Ian Denholm, BiB Editor-in-Chief

County Recorder Vacancy

2020 will be just the time to take up a new challenge, with the Atlas fieldwork finally behind us.  Why not become a County Recorder? Berwickshire is vacant and the retired Recorder, Michael Braithwaite, has written a prospectus to inspire would-be recorders with an emphasis on the opportunity to repeat-record the botanically interesting sites beautifully presented in his Berwickshire BSBI Botanical Site RegisterRead it here.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

New Phytologist

A complete run of bound New Phytologists from Volume 1 (1902) to Volume 160 (2003) is going free to a good home. Collect from Shrewsbury. If you are interested please contact me.

Mark Duffell,

New on the BSBI website in August

Another quiet month on the website with very few updates!

  • The latest version of the Rare Plant Register for Monmouthshire can now be downloaded from the Monmouthshire page.
  • County pages for Cumbria, Shropshire, Clyde Islands, Carmarthenshire, Brecknockshire, Glamorgan, Merionethshire and Monmouthshire were updated with reports on recent meetings, revised contact details and alerts on changes to assembly points for forthcoming meetings. Link to all the county webpages via the Local Botany page where you will also find the interactive map for Britain & Ireland.
  • The Aquatic Plant Project (see above) is being updated regularly by BSBI Ireland Officer Sarah Pierce. It now links straight through to online booking forms for forthcoming training sessions.
  • Country pages for Scotland, Ireland and Wales are all being updated regularly. Don’t forget to contact your Country Officer if there’s anything you think should appear on the page.
  • The News page is also updated regularly so please let me know if you’ve spotted an interesting scientific paper or job opportunity for a botanist.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

On the News & Views blog in August

We reported on the BSBI sedges workshop, held in Mugdock, Scotland, and on the four-day recording meeting held in West Galway, Republic of Ireland; we published an interview with Dan Eatherley, author of Invasive Aliens, and there was a competition so you could win a copy of the book; we told you about the publication of volume 1, issue 3 of British & Irish Botany (see above); our monthly post about an ingredient in Byron’s Gin focused on rowan; our latest blogpost by a recipient of a BSBI Training Grant featured Emily’s story of attending a course on Advanced Plant Identification at FSC Preston Montford; and finally, we featured the first in a series of guest blogposts about the work of the Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer