Question: What is the influence of hydrological regime, soils and management on the plant community composition and species richness of Skealoghan turlough (groundwater dependent calcareous wetland).
Location: Skealoghan turlough, County Mayo, Ireland.
Methods: Percentage cover of vascular plants and bryophytes were recorded, and data on hydrological regimes, soils and management were collected. Data were analysed using multivariate statistical techniques.
Results: A total of 69 species of vascular plants and mosses were recorded. Cluster analysis grouped the samples into two separate communities, the Cirsio-Molinietum and the Ranunculo-Potentilletum anserinae plant communities. The plant community composition and species richness followed a main gradient down into the turlough basin, but also varied with microtopography, resulting in a mosaic of vegetation types.
Conclusions: The biodiversity and conservation value of the site is linked to the heterogeneity in its physical environment in which hydrology, soils and grazing management all play critical roles.
Nomenclature: Stace (1997) for vascular plants; Holyoak (2003) for mosses; Goodwillie (1992) for plant communities.