Zygogomium ericetorum on blanket bog

Without a doubt, not the most attractive of “species” on blanket bog, but none the less very important … is the lowly algal jelly layer composed of a variety of algae collectively called Zygogonium ericetorum. It occurs in waterlogged hollows and lawns as well as pool areas on blanket bogs and forms a 3-5cm deep layer of slimy jelly in the wetter times of the year. On blanket bog a special vegetation type (sub-association) exits where Zygogonium is a character species. It is reported that the jelly layer contains some 60 algal species.

In winter it squeezes out from under your boots as you walk over the bog as shown in the photos. In the summer the algal layer dries out and produces a thin shiny layer over the bog surface. When you walk on it, it sound like you are walking on cornflakes. The thin papery dry algal layer helps keep the underlying peat moist by reducing the rate of water evaporation from the bog surface. Natural cling film for a blanket bog.

zygogonium-ericetorum-1 med

zygogonium-ericetorum-2 med
© Peter Foss 2012