I have been working in wetlands since 1979 and have been surveying aquatic and wetland plants since 1994, this developed from needing to learn plant identification for work into a fascination with the taxonomy, identification, ecology and conservation of wetland-dependent plants.
I have surveyed most of the river SSSIs in Britain, as well as many unprotected rivers. Most river plant survey methods require the ability to record not only the vascular plants occurring along water courses but the bryophytes, lichens and macro-algae. Working to learn these species, I compiled information on the identification of the more difficult and cirtical groups to the extent that I was able to produce a guide to the identification of all the plants likely to be encountered within the inundation zones of rivers in Britain and Ireland (see the bottom of this page) and which can be reliably identified in the field. The difficulties of identiyfing lichens meant that this section is limited to a list of species likely to be encountered in this habitat.
My interest in identification continues and I continue to compile information on aquatic and wetland plants, not just in Britain and Ireland but throughout the world. Linked to the work of the IUCN SSC Freshwater Plant Specialist Group and initiated with funding from BioFresh, I am working on a global list of wetland-dependent plants and now have a library including more than 200 aquatic plant identification guides and floras, as well as hundreds of reports and journal articles which support the surveys and other work that I do on these plants.
I have also applied most of the available standardised survey methods involving recording plants for flowing and standing waters in Britian, including involvement in a government test of various methods toward revising the current protocol for Condition Assessment of UK Rivers. I also participated in a multi-observer trial of river macrophyte surveys which formed the basis of a chapter in the book Conservation monitoring in freshwater habitats: A practical guide and case studies by Hurford, Schneider and Cowx in 2010.
Relevant positions held:
  • IUCN SSC Freshwater Plant Specialist Group, Chair
  • Natural England Aquatic Plant Taxon Group, Chair
  • Member of the IUCN Freshwater Conservation Sub-Committee
  • Honorary Research Associate (Visiting) at the RBG, Kew
  • Research Associate at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
  •  Referee for the BSBI for Callitriche, Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium, Sparganium, Zannichellia and generally for aquatic plants
River, stream, canal and ditch surveys
New River assessment of weed management options
River Nadder Geomorphological Audit

Comprehensive species documentation
- Kennet and Avon Canal
- Montgomery Canal
- Woodwalton Fen
- Stroudwater Canal
JNCC Macrophyte Survey (for Site Condition Monitoring)
- Burn of Latheronwheel, Rivers Dee, Findhorn, Laxford, Lunan Burn, Spey, Strontian and Traligill
- River Avon
- Rivers Blackadder, Etterick, Teviot, Tweed, Whitadder
- River Bollin
- River Dee (North Wales)
- River Derwent
- River Eden and tributaries
- River Faughan
- Rivers Teifi, Towy and Usk
- Rivers Tweed and Coquet
- Rivers Wye, Irthon, Ithon, Monnow, Edw, Lugg, Digedi Brook and Letton Brook
- Anglesey streams
- Brunta Burn
- Nine Mile River (for Site Condition Monitoring)
- River Thames
- River Yealm
- River Yeo River Habitat Survey
- South Forty Foot Drain
- West Midlands streams
Lower Plant Survey
- Cletwr Brook, Colwyn Brook, Dulas Brook, River Edw, Nant yr Offeiriad and Sgithwen
Mean Trophic Rank (MTR)
- River Itchen low flow monitoring project
- River Misbourne low flow monitoring project
- River Thames
River Corridor Survey (RCS)
- Gatwick stream
- River Kennet and tributaries
- Neath Canal
- New Forest Streams
- River Otter
- River Swale
- River Wey
- River Witham
- River Wolf River
- River Haddeo
River Habitat Survey (RHS)
- Gatwick stream
- River Evenlode
- River Kennet and tributaries
- River Haddeo monitoring effects of flow release
- Rivers Wiske, Swale and North Tyne
Ditch surveys
- ditches ( >35km) in Lincolnshire
- documentation of the vegetation of ditches in the Marais du Vigueirat, France
Standing water surveys
Comprehensive species documentation
- 39 lakes in County Clare
- Baston Gravel Pit
- Cherington Lake
- selected lakes in the Cotswold water Park
- Cumbrian National Park
- Frampton Pools SSSI, Gloucestershire
- Elterwater, Cumbria
- Lake at the Lawns
- Loch Lonachan
- Valley Lakes SSSI, Anglesey
Site Condition Monitoring
- Gloucestershire Standing Water SSSIs
- Shropshire Meres SSSIs
- Soudley Ponds SSSI
- Tattershall Lakes SSSI
- West Midland Standing Water SSSIs
Charophyte survey
- Alney Island
- APEM Ltd.
- Atkins
- Atmos Consulting
- Bugle Ecological Services
- Cotswold Water Park
- Cresswell Associates
- Environment Agency
- Gloucestershire Wildlife Management
- Hyder Consulting Ltd.
- Jacobs
- Manchester Airport Plc.
- Millennium Seed Bank
- Natural England (formerly English Nature)
- Natural Resources Wales (formerly Countryside Council for Wales)
- Nigel Holmes (Alconbury Environmental Consultants)
- Plantlife
- River and Canal Trust (formerly British Waterways)
- Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
- Scottish Natural Heritage
- South Gloucestershire Council
- South West Water Services Ltd.
- Stroud Valleys Project
- Taylor Woodrow Construction
- Thames Water plc.
- Water Management Alliance
- Whild Associates
A Field Guide to the Riverine Plants of Britain and Ireland
This guide is designed as a source book for surveyors using standard river plant survey methods such as the JNCC macrophyte survey, Mean Trophic Ranking, LEAFPACS or even River Corridor Survey and has been designed to support training in riverine plant identification.
Dichotomous keys are provided to identify more than 900 taxa, including all the vascular plants and bryophytes likely to be encountered within the river recording zone, as well as information on most algae and a list of the lichen taxa that may occur along UK rivers. This information is supported by a suite of glossaries, as well as more than 150 line drawings and a small number of black and white photographs.
In addition to information to aid identification, the guide includes information on collection and preservation of voucher material, as well as lists of protected and alien riverine plants.
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