Wednesday, 3 April 2019

SD86 - 00 - SD8060 - Rathmell - Lichens Rule!

Would you like to do something that is a challenge - that gets you out into the fresh air, meet other people, and enables you to feel at one with nature  ?

Take up Lichens.

Would you like to get to recognise the colours and shapes of organisms growing on walls, trees, soil and rocks  - see the fascinating patterns under a hand-lens - even learn some of their names (or make up your own names for them) so you can talk to them?

Take up Lichens.

This February I attended a meeting of the British Lichen Society held at Cober Hill, Claughton near Scarborough. (That's the other end of North Yorkshire, c100miles from Settle.)  Janet Simpkin, the BLS Records Database manager gave me a map of my area (VC64) with each km square shaded according to how many lichens had been recorded there. 

I looked at my own hectad  (i.e. 10km by 10km square).
It includes Settle and Malham Tarn. Nearly all the 1km squares are empty, and five more have had only had one species recorded. (shaded pale blue) 

Even I, with may relatively inexperienced would be able to make some contributions! 

I'll take up lichens

When I look at a map of Britain I can see that Yorkshire has a lot of squares filled in near Sheffield. Imagine if I recorded my area, we can shade in this part of Yorkshire gold!!!  Squares with 18 or more species are shaded golden yellow. The next colour up - pale orange - requires at least 29 species to be found - which - for me is, well, getting a lot harder. 

I decide to try and visit the bottom left part of each 1km square in SD 86, provided access is easy - and a different part of the square if it is not.

I will try and keep going each monad until I reach 18 species.. and maybe try and find 2 new species to add to my total list each time.

So on ... March I set off for Rathmell,  SD8060, park in the village car park, and set off across the road.

Across the road from the car park is a track bounded on the south side by an old wall made of the local sandstone/gritstone but held up with old mortar. 

A couple of buildings to the south of this is the building that was Rathmell Academy.  
According to wikipedia, Rathmell Academy was a Dissenting academy set up at RathmellNorth Yorkshire, and was the oldest non-conformist seat of learning in the north of England. The academy was established in 1670 by Richard Frankland M.A. (Christ's College,Cambridge), 1670 and which was carried on, in spite of much persecution and many changes on venue of the academy, for nearly 30 years. 

On the sandstone, but probably affected by water draining from the mortar I find Diploica canescens, including one thallus in fruit (It is more often found without fruit) 

It has a thick white thallus, which is slightly plicate at the edges. It has patches of creamy yellow soralia.  

This very-much-slug-eaten-lichen nearby, with a thick thallus is also Diploica canescens because it has the yellow soredia

Some of the mortar had Verucaria muralis.  Then it is time to go home.

Three days later I follow the path up through the fields, past a young birch tree. The drystone walls are mostly millstone grit, Near the top is a round boulder perched on the wall, covered with Xanthoria ucrainica/Candelaria concolor but which?

When KOH was added the lichen turned red showing it was not Candelaria concolor.  I have recorded it as Xanthoria ucrainica. 
(but maybe should just call it Xanthoria candelaria)

Total species for SD8060: 22

See the report for the next monad, SD8061

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