Today I went to the BSBI’s November conference in the Natural History Museum in London! I presented my poster on my summer project surveying islands on Strangford Lough, and got to do a 60 second flash talk. It was really great to meet other people who are passionate about plants and learn from them.
This was an exciting day for me as I had never been to a scientific conference before, and getting to present some of my findings from the summer was a great experience. The BSBI have been so encouraging throughout this project and I am very thankful for this opportunity. Next step: writing up and publishing a paper!
Something I found particularly interesting and inspiring was the very high resolution, detailed distribution work some other botanists have achieved, particularly David Barden’s work on Llantrisant Common. He has made 10m scale distribution maps for particularly interesting or rare taxa, and these really give a sense of their local ecology. It is now something I am considering doing for the rarer plants I encounter while surveying. It emphasises the value of returning to a site year after year to build up a good dataset. You can read more about this work here (pdf download).
Another fun part of the day was a tour of the British and Irish herbarium in the NHM. We saw very old specimens, and I particularly liked these Spring Gentian specimens from the Burren. We learnt that the herbarium gets less specimens than it used to and that many areas and taxa are underrepresented, something we all as botanists can rectify! I’m definitely considering submitting some of my specimens now.