Thursday, 30 May 2013

Natural migration of British plants: new research just published.   

Quentin Groom, BSBI Head of Data Management, wanted to find out whether there is a poleward migration of plants within Great Britain, and whether any such movements of plants can be explained by climate change and dispersal syndrome. Rather than looking at plants that are deliberately dispersed by humans, through horticulture or forestry, he concentrated on the migration of British native plants, driven by the plants' own dispersal mechanisms.


         Marsh Stitchwort at Lockington, Leics.
Photo: S. Woodward
Quentin used data from the BSBI Distribution Database for this investigation, and his findings have just been published here on PeerJ. I don't want to spoil the surprise by telling you what he found out, so I'll wait a few days before I post Quentin's comments on his findings. Here's that link in full: http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.77 


And don't forget, you can see a map of the distribution of any British plant here. It's great to go out with local botanists and see something interesting, beautiful and/or uncommon, like this Marsh Stitchwort, on your home patch and then see its national distribution map and pick out "your" population! 

This is only possible because of 63 years (so far) of volunteer effort by BSBI members who have contributed 30 million plant records (so far) to our Distribution Database. Find out more here about BSBI's Maps Scheme, which pioneered these new approaches to species distribution mapping and has become one of the world's longest-running natural history distribution mapping projects. BSBI is now one of the world's largest contributors of biological records, so I hope you'll forgive me if I keep banging on about all this!