A coastal view from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Become a barberry explorer

1st April 2019

Barberry Rust Explorer (BarbRE) is a UK wide citizen science project aiming to track common barberry bushes across the country. Anyone can join the project and add to vital UK research.

The barberry bush is a vital habitat for biodiversity, however, barberry can also play a role in crop disease. Wheat crops can be infected by fungal ‘rusts’ which damage the crop and lower the end harvest. Two of these types of rust can infect common barberry and use it as a host to survive on over winter, between wheat growing periods. 

The BarbRE program establishes the first detailed study of barberry bushes for rust infection in the UK. This will help researchers understand the current threat barberry could pose as an incubation site for emerging wheat rust strains. But first the location of these bushes needs to be determined to identify those near cereal crops that need careful monitoring and the project needs your help!

Volunteers are needed to report the location of common barberry bushes across the UK via the “BarbRE” project on the the iNaturalist nature app. A community launch event is taking place in Norwich on Wedneday 3 April - to register and find out more please visit the BarbRE website or download the flyer.

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