The flora of a small limestone cave was investigated. A total of 59 species was recorded (4 algae, 3 lichens, 47 bryophytes, 4 ferns, 1 angiosperm) making it bryologically the richest cave in Britain and one of the richest in Europe. All but nine of the species had been recorded from other European caves. Species-richness declined irregullarly from the entrance (relative irradiance with respect to open sky 12%) to 34m depth (rel. irradiance 0.004%). Bryophytes were found at 0-16m depth where relative irradiance declined to 0.2% and only algae were encountered at 34m depth. While irradiance, which declined exponentially, was the major factor controlling plant distribution, substratum characteristics and surface moisture were also important.



Included in

Geology Commons