Jake Dalzell’s Blog
Total ecosystem evapotranspiration – an overlooked factor in grassland hemiparasite ecology?
A factor that I believe has been overlooked in the ecology of hemiparasites is that they could have a significant effect on water availability in grassland communities, by increasing the total evapotransiration in the ecosystem.
Hemiparasitic plants in Irish grasslands
Hemiparasitic plants are those which steal water and nutrients from other plants, but still photosynthesise (so are green). They are an interesting part of the Irish flora, and some can play an important role in grasslands by weakening other plants – particularly Yellow Rattle. I want to run through some of the common hemiparasites found […]
Comparing parasite and host strategies in a Portuguese grassland
This was a small project we threw together over three days on our Plant Sciences fieldtrip to Portugal. Our project compared the strategies used by two parasitic plants in the Orobanchaceae and a shared host species in the Fabaceae.
The Cryptic Wood White butterfly
My favourite butterfly, which I first saw during lockdown. They are the most delicate of the white species (Pieridae) found in Ireland and flutter through grasslands in May and June.
Why care about grasslands?
As someone who has been deeply interested by plants as long as I can remember, I have grown to appreciate all the different habitats I come across in Ireland. Each has its own unique set of species, but one that has always particularly caught my attention is our grasslands. Part of this is probably because […]
Belfast’s urban flora
In the nineties, the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club extensively surveyed the urban flora of Belfast, resulting in a book, Urban Flora of Belfast. Many plants new to Down and Antrim were found, and most of these were new to Ireland as well. This was a three-year effort involving some thirty-one recorders. Since this survey, Belfast […]
Fen soil carbon flux
Today I had the opportunity to work as a field assistant with a PhD student, Thomas Marquand. He is researching CO₂ and methane dynamics in soil in restored and reclaimed fens in East Anglia (with the Centre for Landscape Regeneration). We took samples from the fen exhibit in the Cambridge Botanic Gardens and used a […]
British and Irish Botanical Conference, November 22
Today I went to the BSBI’s November conference in the Natural History Museum in London to present my poster on my summer project surveying islands on Strangford Lough, and do a 60 second flash talk. It was really great to meet other people who are passionate about plants and learn from them.
Annual Beard-grass: a new species for County Down (H38)
Earlier this year, I found a species of grass I didn’t recognise, growing as a pavement plant in East Belfast. With a guide I identified it as Polypogon monspeliensis (Annual Beard-grass), a new species for County Down. This species is known from Dublin and Cork, and there is a previous Ulster record from Keady in […]
The Islands Project
This summer I am cataloguing the flora and plant communities of twelve islands in Strangford Lough, with the help of a BSBI Plant Study Grant. The goal is to have a complete species list of each island and a map showing all of the plant communities and where they occur.
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