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Conservation and monitoring of legally protected and Red Listed bryophyte species in Ireland

Christina Campbell

Christina Campbell

(campbech@tcd.ie)

Supervisors: Dr Daniel L. Kelly & Dr Noeleen Smyth

Bryophytes, Monitoring, Ex situ Conservation

Ireland has one of the richest bryofloras in Europe, with over 50% of European bryophytes represented, and comprises of 454 moss species, 227 liverworts and 3 hornworts. Some species occur in very specific habitats such as dune slacks, machair, alkaline fens and metal-rich mine sites. These habitats are under threat from land use change and other human activities and there is an increasing need to intervene to conserve and manage these habitats into the future if we are to conserve some of our more threatened bryophyte species. The research in this project is sectioned into three parts and aims to develop both in situ and ex situ conservation methods for ten target bryophyte species. Firstly, monitoring methods are being tested in the field for selected bryophyte populations to record the conservation status of each species and the habitats in which they occur. Recommendations to maintain the species in favourable conservation status in situ will be proposed. The second part deals with developing in vitro propagation protocols and devising the best method for long-term storage in ex situ conservation collections. The third part of the project involves sampling all known populations for more detailed genetic analysis (AFLP), to obtain a genetic fingerprint of each population of selected species and further statistical analysis will be carried out to identify the genetic variability and distinctiveness of these species in Ireland. The research is funded by the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and is a collaborative project between TCD Department of Botany, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin and Teagasc Research Station, Kinsealy.

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Last updated 14 December 2009 botany@tcd.ie.