I'm studying habitat use by Brent Goose in the UK, a species that feeds on maritime vegetation. It's main food types are Zostera sp., Ruppia sp., Ulva / Enteromorpha sp. and Puccinellia sp. I plan to map these vegetation types on an inter-tidal mudflat in North-east England during the summer.

I want to choose a month to map these vegetation types that will allow the most accurate mapping of their distribution of vegetation across the mudflat. I think there are two considerations 1. the month they easiest to identify 2. the month they are most visible.

Which month should I choose?

  • $\begingroup$ @kmm. Thanks for edit. What do asterisk around Enteromorpha mean? $\endgroup$ – luciano Apr 1 '13 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ That's just the markup for italics. For some reason the parser didn't like /*. I added spaces around / to make both genera italics. $\endgroup$ – kmm Apr 1 '13 at 17:51

One way to approach this problem would be to look at herbarium collections of the taxa that you're interested in. Usually, a flowering or fruiting specimen is easiest to identify; but no matter what character is best for your taxon, if you look at the herbarium collections and see that -most of the collections identified to species, or -the especially good-looking collections, or -flowering/fruiting collections, were made in a certain month or season, that could help you to narrow down your time window.

As a bonus, in reviewing herbarium collections, you'll have given yourself a step towards being able to identify the species.

Some herbaria have some collections online; here, for instance, are records and images for online Puccinellia collections at a number of UK herbaria.


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