Latest science blog posts from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Apr 172014
More on the importance of bryophytes

As a follow-on to my post about why bryophytes are important is this thoughtful piece by Dr Janice Glime, author of the comprehensive and freely downloadable book Bryophyte Ecology: In some ecosystems, bryophytes are much more important than in others, but in most systems they are important in many ways.  They house a wide range [...]

Apr 152014
Why bryophytes matter

As someone who has used taxpayers’ money to fund research on bryophytes (the collective term for mosses, liverworts and hornworts), ‘But why do bryophytes actually matter?’ is one of those questions you start to dread. Admittedly it’s not one everyone asks, presumably as many people haven’t realised that there IS a collective term for mosses, [...]

Nov 212013
84° East somewhere in the Nepal Himalaya.

In biogeographic circles everyone likes a good line and no I’m not talking about illicit substance abuse. Biogeographers draw lines on maps to divide geographic area and to help explain the patterns of diversity that we find. Probably one of the best known of these is the Wallace Line that divides the faunal components of [...]

Nov 212013
The Bluebell debate

When the RBGE announced the results for the public vote on Scotland’s Big 5 Favourite Plants the Scottish Bluebell came second to the Scot’s Pine. Since then, there has been discussion around which species was intended, as some  people were familiar with the Scottish common name and others assumed it was referring to a different [...]

Nov 192013
Timber buildings reveal lost world of lichen species

Lichens are a specialised group of fungi that are useful indicators of the state of the environment. The loss of various species sensitive to air pollution created by industrialisation is something that many school children will be familiar with. Recent research by RBGE lichenologist Rebecca Yahr on lichen communities in pre-industrial England is now shedding [...]