Using ‘The Vegetative Key to the British Flora’

Summary

A one day training event aimed at practitioners with good existing knowledge of plant taxonomy. The training covers the use and limitations of the key and will help develop confidence in identification based on vegetative characteristics.

Description

Ecologists often conduct botanical surveys when some vascular plants are not in flower. To determine if species are protected, rare, or indicative of protected habitats, ecologists must be able to identify a range of species vegetatively with a high degree of certainty in identifications. It is also critical that ecologists know the limitations of vegetative identification to objectively assess the reliability of identifications.

The Vegetative Key to the British Flora (Poland and Clement, 2009) was the first comprehensive vegetative key to the (majority of) British and Irish vascular species. This course provides trainees with insights into the use and limitations of the key, and will give them the confidence to make judicious use of this “ground-breaking” book. More ‘keying time’ will be added this year, to include sedge, grass, and forb material. The course material has been developed in conjunction with the key author John Poland.

The course is pitched at trainee ecologists with intermediate (to advanced) knowledge of vascular plant taxonomy, equivalent to capable (to accomplished) under the CIEEM competency matrix. Even accomplished botanists will learn from several modules, such as the guidance on collecting material, and the red data book and protected species for which vegetative identification is not currently possible

Who Should Attend?

Amateur and professional ecologists and botanists involved in surveying vascular plants in all habitats in Northern Ireland and/or the Republic of Ireland.

Knowledge Level

Intermediate – Advanced

Prior Knowledge

The course is pitched at trainee ecologists with intermediate (to advanced) knowledge of vascular plant taxonomy, equivalent to capable (to accomplished) under the CIEEM competency matrix. Even accomplished botanists will learn from several modules, such as the guidance on collecting material, and the red data book and protected species for which vegetative identification is not currently possible

Trainees should have some experience of using keys to vascular plants, and ideally understand some of the more common taxonomic terms.

Learning Outcomes

  • What makes the key unique
  • Explain some key taxonomic features used in the key
  • Learn some important limitations of the Key including Genera excluded, Traits shared by ‘problematic’ groups and Rare, protected and invasive plants in Ireland for which vegetative identification is unlikely
  • Learn to collect appropriate material and gain confidence in using the key for sedge, grass, and forb material
  • Know some important resources that supplement Poland and Clement’s book

Key Information

Start date:

Cost:

CIEEM Member: £110 / Non-member: £180

Organisation:

CIEEM

Type:

Short

Sector:

Ecology, Workshop & Practical Skills

Location:

Dun Laoghaire

Contact Details: