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Bryophyte Ecology Group


The BBS Bryophyte Ecology Group (or BRECOG) exists to promote study of the ecology of the mosses, liverworts and hornworts of Britain and Ireland. Having a detailed knowledge of their ecology will be absolutely fundamental for effective conservation of our bryophytes in the future. The group seeks to bring together those with practical involvement in conservation and land management, academics and amateur bryologists to develop a core of knowledge about the ecologies of the common and not-so-common species of these islands.

BRECOG was established as a specialist group of the British Bryological Society at a workshop in 2006. It aims to meet annually for a weekend workshop held at a different location early each spring. Informal recording sessions also often happen at the Society’s Spring and Summer field meetings.

Bryophyte Habitats Survey (updated December 2018)

At the Preston Montford workshop in March 2007, the group launched a major project, the Bryophyte Habitats Survey. This involved the collection of data on the percentage cover of bryophytes from typical bryophyte habitats, plus the scoring of a number of simple environmental factors (e.g. shade, slope, soil or bark pH) at the quadrat sites and the recording of the presence of capsules and their stage of development. The target date for completion of the project was originally December 2016, however this was extended to December 2017 and in fact some 'mopping up' of desirable sites went on into early 2018 and then, as a result of the dreadful spring and following drought, a dribble of recording continued into the summer.

The final dataset contains information for 7580 quadrats representing 1445 microhabitat samples and 582 taxa recorded across Britain and Ireland (see map).

Work is now well underway to extract the data for individual species, to plot summary charts and perform various statistical analyses, a formidable task as not all aspects can be easily automated. Preliminary results indicate that we have sufficient data and will be able to present meaningful summaries for the (about) 210 most frequently recorded taxa. A more species-inclusive cluster analysis of the bryophyte communities represented is also planned as a later phase of this working-up, and work will be undertaken to link bryophytes to NVC communities which will add connectivity to flowering plant ecology. Standardised physiological measurements of light requirements and desiccation tolerance have been undertaken for most of the species and it is intended that these results will be integrated with the field data at publication in a couple of year's time.

Jeff Bates (

BRECOG survey progress

BRECOG update Feb 2014 BRECOG update Feb 2015 BRECOG update Dec 2018


The following resources are available:

See also the meeting reports for the 2006 and 2007 meetings.


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