BSBI's Recorder eNewsletter is a monthly email newsletter full of useful info, links and topical tips for botanical recorders.

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Recorder eNewsletter March 2021

Spring cleaning

Now spring is here, that are a few jobs that are worth completing before the next field season.

  1. One is to check that all your 2020 record cards and notebooks have been digitised, then
  2. Check that all your 2020 records have been sent to the DDb. If you use MapMate, do a “Reset Synch” and synch in the normal way.
  3. Finally, follow the guidance in March 2019 Recorder eNewsletter, to back up your MapMate and Compact your MapMate database.

And, of course, once the records arrive at the BSBI database, go through and validate them!

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

County Recorder details

We’ve been spring cleaning the list of County Recorders on the BSBI website to bring it up to date and in line with the 2021 Yearbook. Recorders, could you please check the entry for your County?  It would be great to have everyone’s email included, but we haven’t added any email addresses where they weren’t already there. But please let us know if you would like your email address added - or updated or even removed. Where there are joint Recorders, can you check that the order is correct with the lead contact first?

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer & Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Red List for GB

The vascular plant Red List for GB indicates the current threat status of all of native species and includes detailed reasons for any threat category, even down to the latest population estimate, where relevant. The latest version of the Red List, updated to 2018, is available as a DDB checklist, on the BSBI’s Taxon lists page and on JNCC’s website. This version includes the latest preferred nomenclature, which largely follows Stace (2019) with only a few exceptions.

The list is maintained by the BSBI, with the assistance of its partners from the three Country Agencies, JNCC, Kew, Natural History Museum and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. More…

David Pearman, Simon Leach & Pete Stroh, BSBI members of the Red List Group

Northern Ireland Schedule 8

We have just added the list of Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 Schedule 8 species to the DDb.  You can see the actual list by navigating Tools > Checklist and Scrolling down to “Conservation Status” and clicking NI Schedule 8. Click the “Items” tab to see the list of species.

To use it as a search constraint, for example to list all records of NI Schedule 8 taxa made in 2020 in Northern Ireland click this DDb query. This was an omission from the DDb. If you are aware of any other list that should be there but isn’t, please let us know!

Tom Humphrey, BSBI Database Officer

How to identify taxa recorded in 2020 but not since before 2000

To find records of taxa recorded in 2020 that had not been recorded post-1999 (including any new county records) login and modify this BSBI Database query to suit:

  • To adapt for other counties or years, make sure same VC is listed in both parts of the query
  • "to year" in the second part of the query should be one less than year in the first part of the query
  • taxon rank option - stops agg / s.l. taxa being returned
  • In the second part of the query you can change from year to an earlier year, eg. This DDb query will find records of taxa recorded in 2020 that had not been recorded post-1969 (including any new county records)

Andy Amphlett, Joint County Recorder, Easterness

VC Annual Reports

Thank you very much to everyone who has submitted their 2020 VC Annual Report. We received 100 reports for 2020 - slightly fewer than the previous year. It is a great pleasure to read them. What an amazing diversity of botanical discovery and endeavour - even in lockdown! As soon as they are uploaded to the Scotland, England, Wales & Ireland pages, respectively, I’ll include the links in a future Recorder eNewsletter. If you prefer the printed page, then you will be able to read the Scottish reports in the Scottish Newsletter.

Jim McIntosh, Senior Country Officer

England Annual Meeting

The England Annual Meeting will take place by Zoom this Sunday, 28 February, starting at 2pm.  The agenda and other information are on the England AGM page.  Note that you need to register in advance for this meeting.

Jonathan Shanklin, Chair BSBI Committee for England

Scottish Spring Conference

The 2021 Scottish Spring Conference will be held on 20th March by Zoom at 10 – 1pm. There will be a major announcement about the new Scottish recording projects, followed by a couple of related talks. There will also be talks on Carrifran Wildwood, the importance of local groups, an update of the latest news from BSBI by me.

All BSBI Recorders and members are very welcome! The conference will be a live Zoom webinar for which registration is essential. For further details and to register please see the Scottish Spring Conference booking page.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

Irish Spring Conference

The BSBI Irish Spring Conference will take place on Saturday 27th March from 10am until 1.30pm. We have ten exciting short talks plus a slideshow of ‘Nice Finds’ from around Ireland during the mid-morning break. (If you would like to include a photo please send me your pictures.)

All BSBI recorders, members and non-members are very welcome. The conference will be a live Zoom webinar for which registration is essential. For further details and to register please see the Irish Spring Conference booking page.

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

British & Irish Botany

The latest issue of British & Irish Botany features seven papers, four of which are (co-)authored by BSBI County Recorders. From Scotland, Paul Smith, Ian Strachan & Angus Coupar give an overview of the Rannoch Rush and Michael Braithwaite reports on naturalised medicinal plants; from Wales, Tim Rich et al. consider the distribution and conservation statuses of two endemic hawkweeds; Hazel and Chris Metherell join forces with Fred Rumsey (NHM) to explore records of the hybrid clubmoss Diphasiastrum x issleri ; Wilcox, Desjardins & Stace review the occurrence and identification of intergeneric hybrids between Elymus (couchgrasses) and Hordeum (barleys); and Daniel Buckley offers observations on two non-native alder species naturalising in Ireland. You can view or download any or all of these open access papers here.

Ian Denholm & Louise Marsh, British & Irish Botany

iRecord – DDb synchronisation

Several County Recorders have been asking when automated transfer of iRecord data to the DDb will resume after Covid-19 restrictions disrupted the process. The delays have caused widespread frustration but progress will be made to clear the backlog of records in March.

Thousands of records from iRecord have already been transferred to BSBI’s system, including important data sets from the NPMS and the Urban Flora of Scotland, alongside many local surveys. Records go initially to a separate holding area, only reaching the main DDb workspace once they have been checked.

It’s critical that Recorders do not import data from iRecord directly into MapMate or other local databases - please wait until the iRecord-DDb synchronisation process is up and running again:

  • We need to avoid duplication of data once the automated transfer process restarts.
  • Retention of the full details of the record including photographs, habitat metadata and validation annotations is only possible using the official process.
  • Maintaining the link between iRecord data and BSBI's database is vital - a key part of well-run citizen science projects is that those who contribute records are kept in the loop - receiving feedback when their records are validated etc. Once the transfer process is fully operational there will be two-way exchange of validation details, so that iRecord data can be validated in either system.
  • Older recording software can't properly accommodate the accurately geo-referenced centroid data from mobile recording apps and retain details of both how a record was geo-referenced and an estimate of its precision (an error radius).
  • Additional validation rules are applied to iRecord data in the DDb: for example, marking when a record has been recorded using a vernacular name (which may have been misapplied); and ensuring that certain iRecord datasets are flagged automatically as likely to be from garden surveys that should not be included on BSBI distribution maps.

BSBI is keen to encourage County Recorders to submit data to iRecord and to become verifiers for their county, we’ll make sure that data and verification annotations reach the DDb soon.

Tom Humphrey, BSBI Database Officer

Recorder eNewsletter

Recorder eNewsletter is aimed at all BSBI recorders, referees and members involved with recording. It has 420 subscribers. I’d welcome short contributions from anyone on topics of interest to fellow readers. Recorder eNewsletter is generally published at the beginning of each month so contributions should reach me at the beginning of the preceding week. I’d also be pleased to have feedback on any of the articles.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer