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eXtreme botany

Dr M’s Botany bus diary – Day 4 Chesil Beach and Lulworth Downs

Here’s a report of Day 4 of Dr M’s University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course held in April in which the intrepid group of eXtreme botanists were out and about checking the botany of saltmarshes on the Isle of Purbeck… …and the adjacent great shingle spit of Chesil beach – fascinating geomorphological form comprising 18 miles and 180 billion pebbles (allegedly!) – but not
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Dr M’s Botany bus diary – Day 3 Studland Sand Dunes

Day 3 of #Botanybus2015  – University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course headed toNational Trust Studland beach to investigate the plants and vegetation of the sand dunes which have developed over the past 3 or 4 centuries forming a large part of the South Haven Peninsula, near Poole Harbour, Dorset. After parking the #Botanybus2015 in the carpark the group walked the length of Studland
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Dr M’s Botany bus diary – Day 2 Godlingston Heath, Dorset

After settling into our accommodation at the Alnatt centre, Swanage, the University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course continued into day 2 with a sunshine-filled trip to Studland and Godlingston Heath NNR which includes a fine expanse of heathland and bog habitats ideal for the #Botanybus2015 experience!


Dr M’s Botany bus – Day 1 Roydon Woods Hampshire

Dr M plus colleague Alastair Culham and University of Reading MSc students packed luggage, equipment and themselves in the botany bus and set off on the botanical eXtravaganza which is the Plant Diversity field course. From Reading the botany bus wound its way through the Berkshire Countryside to Hampshire, bound for Roydon Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest, the first stop on this two
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All aboard! Dr M’s #BotanyBus2015 extravaganza!

Recently Dr M and colleague @RNGBotany plus University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity students loaded the #BotanyBus2015 and headed south from Reading for the annual Plant Diversity field course, the eXtreme botanical excitement was palpable!


We eat, sleep and breathe plants so why are we blind to them?

On Monday 13th April, Dr M appeared at Cafe Scientifique a joint venture between The British Science Association Thames Valley Branch and the University of Reading at Monroes Rock Bar St Mary’s Butts, Reading Town Centre. Cafe Scientifique is the place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (beer if you’re Dr M), anyone can come to explore the
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eXtreme botany enters the #BattleForNo10

In what the broadsheets are hailing as a “major first for botany”, Dr M is making history and shaking the very foundations of British democracy as labour and tory leaders vie for the extreme botany vote. In the recent TV showdown, David Cameron must have been regretting not going for a head-to-head with Milliband as Paxman tore into him over his dismal record on
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Eyebrights – so hard to ID?

A notoriously difficult plant group for the field botanist is the Eyebrights (Euphrasia – previously placed in the Scrophulariaceae now in the Orobanchaceae family). Eyebrights are lovely grassland and heathland plants with little zygomorphic flowers, bright white with a central yellow blotch and purple veins (hence Eye-bright). With approximately 22 species and 70  (yes seventy!) hybrids Euphrasia ID is eXtreme botany to be sure! But recently, Euphrasia
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Dr M sings “cheerio” not “goodbye” to his VSA students for another year…

Dr M’s University of Reading signature module the legendary Vegetation Survey and Assessment (VSA) module has come to an end for another year (“shame!” I hear you cry!). But, as Dr M was keen to point out, in his end of module address to the assembled students from MSc Plant Diversity and MSc SISS, this is not an end but a beginning of their eXtreme
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Dr M on the NVC: how to ID plant communities

In a previous post (here) Dr M explained what the NVC is and how to “do” an NVC survey by collecting quadrat data from representative samples in homogenous stands of vegetation. Here Dr M outlines the procedure for putting an NVC name to your quadrat data. Now, Dr M assumes you have collected your quadrat data, at least five quadrats in each homogenous stand of vegetation.
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