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vert bar Conservation and monitoring of Killarney fern (Trichomanes speciosum) in Ireland

Dr. Noeleen Smyth (Supervisor and project manager) Ms. Emer Ni Dhuill (PhD. research student)
Last updated: 22 December 2008

Project Background

Trichomanes speciosum (Killarney fern) is considered one of Irelandís rare and threatened plant species. It is protected by both local (Flora Protection Order 1999) and European legislation (Habitats Directive Annex 1). Dr. Whitley Stokes made the first record of Killarney Fern at Powerscourt Waterfall around the 1800ís (Colgan & Scully 1898), this population is now considered extinct. The gametophyte generation was discovered growing in Ireland as recently as the 1990ís. A total of 66 sites with this species remain in Ireland (NPWS 2008).

Distribution in Ireland Sporophyte Gametophyte (1 year old)

Project Aims:

  • Set up suitable permanent monitoring for Killarney Fern populations in Ireland to ensure that both the habitat and environment in the remaining Irish sites is recorded and to maintain there suitability into the future for the continued existence of killarney fern in Ireland.
  • To investigate the developmental stages of Killarney Fern and to elucidate reasons for there continued existence in mostly small-scattered populations. Germination trials of fertile populations will be carried at Kinsealy research station in conjunction with Dr. Gerry Douglas.
  • To make a full genetic appraisal of the Irish population of Killarney Fern to help inform conservation management of this species in Ireland.
Project Staff at NBG
Dr. Noeleen Smyth (Supervisor and project manager), Ms. Emer Ni Dhuill (PhD. research student)
Project Partners:
National Parks and Wildlife Service (Funding body), Botany Department, Trinity College Dublin (Dr. Steve Waldren, Supervisor) & Teagasc Kinsealy Research Station (Dr. Gerry Douglas).