Studies in evolution, ecology and conservation of mosses, liverworts and hornworts at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Aug 122016
Student projects at RBGE: Barcoding British Liverworts: Metzgeria

University of Edinburgh/RBGE student Kimberley Fackler, studying for the Masters degree in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants; thesis submitted August 2013. Supervisors: David Bell, Dr David Long and Dr Laura Forrest.   Kim sampled from the six species of Metzgeria generally recognised to occur in the UK. She used standard DNA barcode markers rbcL, […]

Aug 122016
Student projects at RBGE: Barcoding British Liverworts: Plagiochila (Dumort.) Dumort.

University of Edinburgh/RBGE student Lucy Reed, studying for the Masters degree in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants; thesis submitted August 2011. Supervisors: Dr David Long, Dr Michelle Hart and David Bell. The leafy liverwort genus Plagiochila is known for high levels of infraspecific morphological variation and blurred species boundaries. To address this, Lucy sequenced […]

Aug 122016
Student projects at RBGE: DNA barcoding British liverworts: Lophocolea

University of Edinburgh Biotechnology student Kenneth McKinlay’s 4th year honours project, 2013. Supervisors: Dr David Long, Dr Laura Forrest Kenneth barcoded all six species of British Lophocolea, L. bidentata, L. bispinosa, L. brookwoodiana, L. fragrans, L. heterophylla and L. semiteres, attempting to get data from three plastid regions (rbcL, matK, psbA-trnH) and one nuclear region […]

Jul 202016
A rapid phylogeny of Marchantia, from the RBGE collections. I. Sampling

Not long ago, the only non-crop plant that the mainstream scientific community seemed to be aware of was the brassica Arabidopsis thaliana – easily cultivated, with a short generation time and small nuclear genome, it seemed the perfect plant model. The model moss Physcomitrella patens came along some years later, again with a short generation […]

Jul 192016
Schistidium caps an old wooden fence

Recently in Kufstein, the home of Austrian bryologist Wolfgang Hofbauer, the demolition of an attractive old building and clearing of trees and other plants from the land, leaving a bare gravel patch used as a parking space, did have one interesting outcome: The new clearing led Wolfgang’s eye to a decaying wooden fence between concrete […]

Jul 062016
Impressions of a workshop: New model systems for early land plant evolution, 22 - 24 June 2016, Vienna, Austria

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in Vienna, my first visit in 11 years, when I was last over for the 2005 XVII International Botanical Congress. The location was practical – the hotel neatly nestled underneath a main road overpass, but extremely convenient from the airport, only a short train ride, […]

Jun 302016
The complex thalloid liverwort Aitchisoniella, and its place in the tree of life

The genus Aitchisoniella contains a single species, A. himalayensis, which was described by Pakistani botanist Professor Shiv Ram Kashyap from plants that he collected in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India (1914). Subsequently (1929) he also found the species in Shimla and Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. Although reports of new locations followed (Kanwal, 1977, Pant et al., 1992, […]

May 132016
In plain sight - the mosses that grow on British walls

Plant diversity does not have to be far-flung and exotic to be worth studying; even within Scotland, there are unanswered questions about plant distributions. Growing in our towns and cities, sharing our walls and pavements, there are bryophytes, tiny mosses and liverworts. We pass these every day, step over them, walk past them, hardly noticing that they […]