Thursday, March 27, 2014

First Pages of the new Vascular Flora of British Columbia Now Available on E-Flora BC: Primulaceae and Myrsinaceae

 Hardy Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium), photo by Hans Roemer

A new vascular flora of British Columbia is now in preparation and the first new family treatments for Primulaceae and Myrsinaceae and associated genera and species, in draft form, have been posted on the E-Flora BC atlas pages. This text replaces the previous text for these two families on E-Flora BC which was taken from the Illustrated Flora of British Columbia (1998-2004) and which is now outdated.  The new family treatments are authored by UBC taxonomist Jamie Fenneman, lead author and editor of the project. 

The new vascular flora project is a joint iniative between the Royal British Columbia Museum and the University of British Columbia Herbarium and is anticipated to take several years to reach completion. The newly posted text is the first 'pilot' step in making the new flora available digitally.  More new treatments will be posted on E-Flora BC as they become available.

In tthe new treatments, Primulaceae has been split into two families:  1) Primulaceae, which now includes the following genera: Androsace, Dodecatheon, Douglasia, Primula 2) Myrsinaceae, which includes the following genera: Anagallis, Cyclamen, Glaux, Lysimachia, Steironema, Trientalis.  
The vascular flora of BC treatments encompass nomenclatural changes (including splits), as well as species additions and deletions to the BC flora.  One interesting addition is Cyclamen hederifolium, an introduced species which has naturalized in the Victoria area.  Jamie provides the following insight into this escaped garden species: "This species blooms in the fall, with the flowers appearing before the leaves, and the leaves persist through the winter and into the following spring. Although reasonably common in the Victoria area, this popular garden species is apparently not naturalized anywhere else in North America." 

In April, Jamie will provide more insight into the new vascular flora of BC project.

Jamie Fenneman is a PhD student in botany at the University of British Columbia, and is co-coordinator of E-Flora BC and E-Fauna BC. He has contributed numerous photos to both sites as well as introductory text on taxnonomy on E-Flora and a series of bird checklists on E-Fauna BC. Read his Introduction to Taxonomy here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Citizen Science at Work: Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris) in Port Alberni, BC

Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris), photo by Rick and Libby Avis

Thanks to the photo submissions of entomologists Rick and Libby Avis to E-Fauna BC, more is now known about the range  of the Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris) in BC.  Photo records take by Libby and Rick in July 2011 document the species presence in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.  Butterfly specialist Cris Guppy says: "[the] Dun Skipper record from Port Alberni is interesting -- it is a considerable extension of the Vancouver Island range." He adds: "Of course the range of the butterfly has probably not expanded, just our knowledge of the range."

In their book The Butterflies of British Columbia, Guppy and co-author Jon Shepard say:   "The Dun Skipper is known from southern Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and the Fraser River canyon upstream to Lillooet. Except for the Lillooet population the species has been encountered only as single individuals in mesic grassy areas, often along old railway right-of-ways.  The single Lillooet observation was at a spring surrounded by an extremely xeric area.  The spring area had enough sedge to support a population of Dun Skipper."  

The important role of citizen scientists in the collection of biodiversity data can't be overstated. Photo record contributors to E-Fauna BC and E-Flora BC have frequently added new range information about BC wild species and, in some cases, new species have been added to the flora or fauna.

Read the E-Fauna atlas page for the Dun Skipper here
View the Dun Skipper photo gallery on E-Fauna BC here
Visit Rick and Libby's photo gallery on E-Fauna here