The 7th Annual Schofield Bryophyte and Lichen foray was in the Port McNeil area, on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, from May 29 – June 1, 2016. The small group of participants explored two areas: Malcolm Island, which was about a 30 min. ferry from Port McNeil, and Little Huson Caves Regional Park, which was about 47 km south of Port McNeil.
Day 1 was spent on Malcolm Island. With the assistance of two Sointula residences – Darryl Luscombe, a photographer, and Annie Marie Koch, a naturalist – we visited four different sites on the Island. The habitats were conglomerate cliff, forest behind beach, inland wetland, and inland mature second growth forest.
The diversity on Malcolm Island is in line with that of a small island. However one of the high notes was finding some Niebla cephalota, a rare lichen in West Coast of North America, on spruce along the beach down from the conglomerate cliff. This is only the second location for this species of lichen in British Columbia and extends the northern limit.
About 41 other species of bryophytes were observed or collected from the four sites over the foray. Common species such as Ceratodon purpureus (disturbed areas), Cladonia spp., Dicranum fuscescens, Hypnum circinale, and Kindbergia oreganum were found in all the sites, whereas some like Amphidium californicum, Blindia acuta, Cephaloziella turneri, Fissidens bryode, Schistidium maritimum, and Sphagnum spp. were only found in sites with the right microhabitats.
The inland mature second growth Western Hemlock zone forest is more diverse in microhabitats, a therefore a higher diversity of species. Typical of mature forest species like Bazzania denudate, Buckiella undulata, Calypogeia muelleriana, Claopodium whippleanum, Hylocomium splendens, Lepidozia reptans, Lobaria pulmonaria, Scapania bolanderi, and Usnea longissima were all observed or collected.
For day 2, we explored the Little Hudson Caves. The climate of these caves was largely moist and humid, but there were also some protected dry calcareous substrates, which are suitable for most bryophytes and habitat specific species of Seligeria that are only 1-2mm high.
Unfortunately, we did not find any Seligeria in the area. We did found other species that require calcareous substrates like Hypopterygium flavolimbatus Muller Hal. (syn. H. fauriei Besch.), Apometzgeria pubescens Kuwah.
At the “River Cave” area by Atluck Creek, aquatic related species such as Fissidens adianthoides, Hygrophypnum luridum, Scleropodium obtusifolium, and Scouleria aquatic were observed or collected.
The last stop of the day was an unplanned site, Nimpkish River bank under the Bridge over Hwy. 19. There were quite a few bryophyte species found in this site that were not observed at the other sites visited, including Brachythecium rivulare, Fontinalis neomexicana, Hybroamblystegium tenax, and Orthotrichum rivulare.