Event Details

Return to Events Calendar

BLS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING and SWINSCOW LECTURE 2017 - Natural History Museum, London

20th January 2017, 18:00 to 21st January 2017, 17:00

Event Description:

BLS AGM Weekend

Friday 20th (evening) to Saturday 21st January 2017 (with a field outing on Sunday 22nd)

The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7


Accommodation near the Natural History Museum in London: ranging from YHA accommodation from £23 a night at weekend at 38 Bolton Gardens http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/london-earls-court to the Eden Plaza Hotel at 65-67 Queen’s Gate SW7, 0207370 6111where you can ask for NHM rates at c. £70 a night. Baden Powell House is a similar price for a single room. Other reasonable places in the vicinity include Curzon House Hotel at 58 Courtfield Gardens info@curzonhousehotel.co.uk and Hotel Olympia at 49 Earls Court Square SW5 where a single room for a night is c.£50. These prices may change in January.


Nominations for Officers for 2017 and four members of Council for the period 2017-2020 should be sent in writing to Pat Wolseley, Secretary, c/o Department of life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD before 18 December 2016. No person may be nominated without their consent. John Douglass, Maxine Putnam and Catherine Tregaskes retire from Council this year and are not eligible for re-election as Council members.

Council Meeting

Council will meet at 14.00 on Friday 20th January 2017 in the Board Room. Please let the Secretary have any items you wish Council to discuss by 18th December, 2016.


At 6 p.m. we will meet in the foyer of the Neil Chalmers seminar room, at the far end of the new Darwin Centre 2 on the ground floor, for a glass of wine and nibbles prior to the Dougal Swinscow lecture in the Neil Chalmers seminar room at 18.30.


This year the Dougal Swinscow lecture will be given by Dr Juri Nascimbene from the University of Padova in Italy. He has written widely on the effects of forest management and climate change on epiphytic lichens and in particular species of Lobaria and the Lobarion community that urgently need conservation measures in Europe.

Patterns and drivers of epiphytic lichen diversity in productively managed forests: perspectives for conservation in a global change scenario

Dr Juri Nascimbene – Dep. of Biology, University of Padova, Italy

Abstract: The capability of forests to sustain a rich biota is increasingly evaluated against management practices, especially within protected areas, where conservation issues are fully included in the management framework. Lichens are a species rich and sensitive component of the forest biota and the improvement of lichen diversity by conservation-oriented forest management is likely to benefit forest functions since lichens play important ecological roles. In this lecture, I will present my research experience stressing the exploration of the patterns and drivers of epiphytic lichen diversity in productively managed forests in Italy. In particular, I will focus on factors acting at multiple spatial scales, considering the response of lichens to both management-related and climate-related factors.



The BLS dinner will be held in the Ognisko restaurant at 8.15 (part of the Polish club) at 55 Exhibition Rd where they offered us a fixed menu for £29 plus a service charge which amounts to £32.60. Please download and fill in the slip below and return with cheque to the treasurer John Skinner 28 Parkanaur Ave, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 3HY.



Saturday, 21st January, 2017

The Annual General Meeting will be held in the Flett theatre of the Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday 21st January 2017. The Museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. on Saturday and the entrance to the Flett theatre is from Exhibition Rd. If anyone wants to come earlier they must use the staff entrance in Exhibition Rd and let the secretary know what time they intend to come.

The foyer of the Flett theatre is reserved to put up exhibits of lichen interest from 9.30 a.m., onwards. This is an opportunity for members to see what you are doing so please contribute items to this. Display boards and tables will be available but we need to organise this well before the meeting so please let Pat Wolseley know the subject and/or title of your exhibit and space required (e.g table, electrical or internet connection) by 14th December, 2016. Exhibits should be taken down at the end of the meeting.

Mark Seaward will provide a limited number of books for sale at fixed prices on Friday evening in the Foyer of the Neil Chalmers seminar room. Please bring other books for inclusion in the book auction to the foyer of the Flett theatre on Saturday morning.



Saturday 21st January

9.45 Reception, coffee will be served in the foyer of the Flett theatre

10.30 Annual General Meeting



  1. Apologies for absence

  2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting January 2016

  3. Matters arising

  4. BLS Constitution

  5. Officers and Committee Chair Reports

  6. Election of Officers 2017

  7. and four members of Council

  8. Any other business

  9. Date and place of next AGM


12.45 Lunch - either in the ground floor restaurant of the NHM or at local venues.


LECTURE MEETING: Special lichen communities

14.00 – 14.40 Dr Chris Ellis

Scottish Woodland Communities and Indicator Species – Three Practical Applications

Abstract: Recent work at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has integrated across the three themes presented in this talk. First, testing the classic ‘Coppins & Coppins’ indicators of ecological continuity, while accounting for sampling bias (lichenologists have a homing instinct for the nicest sites!!). Second, the quantification of environmental effects controlling lichen distributions, and the relevance of this for developing indicators of habitat quality and species risk, focussing on temperate rainforest, ancient woodlands and climate change. Third, systematic Epiphyte Community Classification, and the use of indicator species for habitat/species recovery, especially practical action following the removal of invasive Rhododendron.


14.40 - 15.20 Neil Sanderson

Fire, Grazing and hard Black Humus: the Ecology of Lichen Diversity in the New Forest Heathlands

Abstract: A recent systematic survey of the lichens of the New Forest Heathlands has revealed a thriving and diverse assemblage. The survey included random sampling of ten 1ha plots and a representative sample of 100 1km squares. The survey added many interesting species, including species such as Cladonia callosa and C. zopfii, and has confirmed that the heathland still supports a vigorous and viable lichen assemblage. Species such as Cladonia strepsilis and Pycnothelia papillaria, which are declining across lowland Europe, still have very large populations. The surviving rich lichen assemblage can be related both to low ammonia pollution across the Forest and to internal soil and land management factors. Lichen diversity is associated with open heaths where the ground is well lit. Low soil productivity is a primary factor but management is also very important. Varied grazing pressure, combined, in less browsed stands, with long rotation controlled burning are fundamental in maintaining diversity. Past soil disturbance is an additional local factor promoting diversity. Under this traditional management the New Forest clearly now supports a much richer lichen assemblage than other lowland heaths in England, even those under conservation management.

15.20- 15.50 Tea


15.50 – 16.20 Janet Simkin

From contamination to conservation; the lichen communities of lead mines

Lead mines and smelters were once sites of intense industrial activity and so dusty and polluted that very little could grow there. Now they support a distinctive plant and lichen flora including metallophytes and other species of conservation importance, but this has largely developed since mining ceased and on some sites it is still changing rapidly. Species of interest are often restricted to very small areas within a site, if they are there at all. This study has used records from the Pennines and mid-Wales to investigate these lichen communities and the distribution of rare species within and between sites, and the findings may have implications for conservation.


16.20 -16.50 Bryan Edwards

The Isle of Portland: Assessing a multiple interest site

Abstract: The Isle of Portland is a limestone peninsula protruding into the English Channel along the Dorset coast in Southern England. Famed for its building stone significant areas both along the coast and inland have been quarried. Lichens are a notified feature of the Isle of Portland SSSI with both maritime and limestone species well represented. Due to its southerly position it supports species and assemblages that are more typical of limestone regions further south in Europe. The sheltered eastern undercliff is the richest area with approximately 160 species recorded from the limestone and maritime chert boulders plus a further 20 species from limestone soils. Three species, Arthonia meridionalis, Gyalecta hypoleuca and Lecanographa dialeuca are currently unknown elsewhere in Britain and Ireland.

16.50 Instructions for field meeting





Field Meeting

Field meeting on Sunday 22nd January.

A visit to Abney Park Cemetery one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ in the Borough of Hackney. It was established in 1840 in a former arboretum of 13ha. Today it includes several veteran trees and is an LNR for its wildlife. Check on the website http://www.abneypark.org/ Nature page for the fungi recorded but no lichens are on that page so we have to change that! Travel to Stoke Newington railway station and it’s a 3 minute walk to the entrance. Please bring your lunch with you. We will have access to the education room for hot drinks. If we have time we can investigate nearby Clissold Park, a more open public space with a café.