Botanists at Edge Hill University, the UK’s newest University, have discovered a population Carex salina (Salt-marsh sedge), near Morvich on the west coast of Scotland, in the UK for the first time. Scientists from the University are calling on members of the public to help them search for other populations of this species. Identification keys and recording forms are available from the University’s website.
‘We are really keen to enlist the help of others in looking for this species of sedge that, as far as well can tell, is new to the UK,’ said Dr Paul Ashton, Senior Lecturer in Biology at Edge Hill University. ‘It is entirely possible that this plant has been on our shores for many years and just overlooked, but we will never know that unless people help us with our study. If we discover that Salt-marsh sedge is entirely new to the UK it will be a very exciting find that will enrich our knowledge of British flora.’
The new species of sedge was discovered by Keith Hutcheon on 2 July 2004, while undertaking a National Vegetation Classification survey of the Kintail Estate for the National Trust of Scotland. Sedge are typically grass-like plants but are most easily separated from grasses and rushes by their triangular stems. It was originally thought that the sedge was the species Carex recta, (Estuarine sedge) the only other UK species of sedge likely to be found in the area that can withstand such high levels of salt water.
Dr Paul Ashton and Dr Mary Dean, from Edge Hill University, began the process of identifying the specimens that were collected. After consultation with colleagues from Canada and Norway they came to the conclusion that the species must be Carex salina, which is found in both those countries but never before seen in the UK.
Salt-marsh sedge is thought to be a result of hybridisation between two other plants Carex paleacea (Beach sedge) and Carex subspathacea (Cold Sea sedge), however neither of these parent species are present in the UK botanical record. It is thought that the Scottish location is the first area in the world where Salt-marsh sedge is apparently growing outside of the ranges of parental species. Botanists at Edge Hill are trying to research the reason for its appearance on UK shores; it could have originated in Scotland by long distance dispersal, alternatively it may have arisen in situ and the parent species are now extinct, or are still present in the UK but are currently undetected.
If migration of this species from the colder, stormier climates like those on the coast of Norway and North America has taken place the presence of Carex salina could be an indication of stormier times ahead for the UK coast. Botanists need to first establish whether there are other populations of this hybrid species, or of its parents, in the UK before investigation into migration and possible climate repercussions can take place. However, two scientists cannot carry out this survey on their own, which is why the website has been set up to enlist the help of the botanical enthusiasts in sampling possible populations.
This survey will take place over 3 years and results will inform future studies into sedge species, and their related habitats on the UK coastline.For more information, images or to interview Dr Paul Ashton please contact:
Becci Cussens | alfa
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy