Wildlife Content

Ireland has a rich natural heritage – from the sandbanks of the Shannon Estuary to the fens of Monaghan… from the natterjack toad to the Atlantic salmon… from the Killarney fern to the freshwater pearl mussel.

Bryophyte Survey of Co. Kildare

This project involved the collection of valuable baseline data on the location and distribution of bryophytes in Co. Kildare. Bryophytes are small, non-vascular plants, such as mosses, liverworts and hornworts. They play a vital role in regulating ecosystems because they provide an important buffer system for other plants which live alongside and benefit from the water and nutrients that bryophytes collect.

Co. Kildare contains many sites with the potential to support rare and scarce bryophytes, but the county had previously been under-recorded. The project was led by Dr Joanne Denyer and grant-aided by the Heritage Council, with assistance from the British Bryological Society. Participation by volunteers and organised field meetings assisted keen bryologists in developing their identification and recording skills.

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A new species of liverwort, Lophozia perssonii (Chalk Notchwort) was identified by bryophyte expert - Nick Hodgetts (co-author of 'Rare and Threatened Bryophytes of Ireland') who had travelled from Scotland to lead a field meeting for the project. This small liverwort was found on a boulder in a farm hedgerow, south of Kill, Co. Kildare, it is the first time that the species has been recorded on the island of Ireland. It has an eastern distribution in Britain, where it is an uncommon species on chalk and Magnesian limestone, ths Irish record represents a new westerly locality for the species.

This project received €3,000 in 2012 under the Heritage Management Scheme.