Updates from the Annual Meeting

Here for our wider audience are pieces from the Synopsis of Forum Activity 2012: An Olympian year.

Thorne Moors Botanical Survey: 2012 saw the third and final field season of this project. In total the project, in so far as Thorne fieldwork is concerned, has identified some 369 species of flowering plants (236 in 2010 and 287 in 2011) and taken around 1400 hours to generate some 2600 records from approximately a quarter of the site (27 full or part 1km squares) by some 27 dedicated individuals. The drive to undertake this work was generated by Ian McDonald because there was neither historical nor current data easily accessible for botanists interested in visiting Thorne Moors. The Project Management Team evolved to become the Publication Management Team. It is hoped that the publication, provisionally entitled ‘Flora Thornensis’, will be available towards the end of the year.

Invertebrate Survey: By far the most ambitious project undertaken by the Forum in recent years has been an invertebrate survey of a fragment of lagg fen on the periphery of Thorne Moors SSSI.   The methodology adopted and implemented followed that devised by the late Peter Skidmore, and the decision to replicate was taken in order to facilitate comparisons against earlier work.  However, given the sheer volume of material and the associated costs of determinations this is taking longer to complete than anticipated.

The field work was completed at the end of September 2012 after 26 weeks of collecting.  Supplementary collecting was also undertaken.

Much of the material from the traps has been passed to specialists for determination.  The pitfalled Coleoptera and Formicidae, in the region of 8000 specimens, have been determined and some 290 species have so far been identified; further work on the small rove beetles will add to this number and take the list of Coleoptera alone to over 300 species.  Notable species of conservation significance include the small ground beetle Philorhizus sigma (NA), the water beetles Agabus striolatus (RDB2), A. uliginosus (NB), Enochrus affinis (NB), and Cercyon tristis (NB), the rove beetle Stenus palustris (NB), and the dung beetle Aphodius zenkeri (NB). With the exception of the dung beetle, this is essentially a fenland assemblage, with several species restricted elsewhere to the East Anglian fens, and they serve to underline the residual lag fen status of Inkle Moor. A. zenkeri has expanded over the past few decades with the booming roe deer population, with whose dung it is often associated. In due course the data will be published and it is hoped that this will be presented at a seminar in the autumn.

If anyone is interested in receiving further details on either topic, then please contact the Executive Secretary.

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