Bryolog 6 (19 Nov 2016)


  • The statewide quarterly meeting is being co-hosted by the Bryophyte Chapter and the East Bay Chapter: register HERE immediately, for dinner by 23 November. On Saturday 3 Dec we will have a banquet ($30) with a talk by Jim Shevock, The First Land Plants: the Diversity and Distribution of Bryophytes in California.
  • Continuing on with the quarterly meeting, starting at 1:00 pm on Sunday 4 Dec, we have two bryo walks to choose from. Members are welcome to attend just a walk, or any other parts of the whole meeting (See AGENDA).
  • External Announcement—Save Mount Diablo will host a Science and Research Colloquium, 9:00-12:30 on 8 Dec at the David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley. Please RSVP.
  • The deadline for on-time registration for SO BE FREE is fast approaching, 15 Dec. This year’s 3-day celebration will be just outside of Sequoia National Park where bryo richness is amazing. As always, beginners are welcome. Register HERE now!
  • At 7:00 on Tuesday 17 Jan, Paul Wilson will give our basic bryology talk to the San Diego Chapter. For directions, see THEIR WEBSITE.
  • Jim Shevock will lead a bryo walk for the Marin Chapter on Saturday 21 Jan 9:00-2:00, along Alpine Lake (off of Bom Tempe reservoir), Marin Watershed lands, see THEIR WEBSITE.
  • On Saturday 28 Jan, 9:00-1:00, Neil Uelman and Paul Wilson will lead a moss walk. Location changed.
  • On Saturday 11 Feb, Joe Flynn and Paul Wilson will lead a walk along Poly Canyon on the campus of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The walk will start at 10:00 and take a couple of hours. After lunch, we will go to a lab on campus that has microscopes and examine what we found. From Hwy 1, take Highland Drive into campus; turn left onto Via Carta, and right into parking lot H16; pay for parking, and look for old people with hand lenses. For more info
  • The Channel Islands Chapter will host a morning moss walk and afternoon microscope session on Saturday 25 Feb. WALK: Rattlesnake Canyon Trail, Las Canoas Rd., Santa Barbara. Meet in the Skofield Park parking lot at 8:45 a.m. Bring a hand lens if you have one. We will have extra lenses to borrow and glossy photo identification guides for all to keep. SCOPES: meet at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Arroyo Room, at 1:00. You may attend both or only one of the events. Leaders: Amanda Heinrich and Paul Wilson. Heavy rain will trigger us to re-schedule.
  • Brent Mishler and Ken Kellman will offer their legendary Introduction to Bryophytes workshop 4-5 March in the Jepson Herbarium’s public workshop series. This workshop, first offered in 1995, has helped many to get started down a mossy path. Saturday is a full day on campus with microscopes. Sunday morning is on campus for a continuing lab session, while Sunday afternoon is a local field trip to learn to recognize major bryophyte groups. Registration details to be announced on
  • From 9:00-3:00, on 4 March, Rich Spjut and Paul Wilson will lead a moss walk, in Kern River Canyon. Meet 9:00 in Bakersfield at the furniture store called “Tuesday Morning” on the corner of Fairfax and Auburn streets, north of exit 7 off Hwy 178 and carpool from there. For more info, email

Quarterly Report

  • Talks were given, registration fees were received, plans were made for the above events.
  • Election Results—John Brinda was re-elected, this time to a full (2-year) term as secretary. Ken Kellman was elected as field-trip director. This is the first transfer of power. Brent Mishler has been field-trip director; he led SO BE FREE annually from its inception without any gap, starting in 1996. Thank you Brent!

Timeless Bits

  • New book—Rare Bryophytes of Oregon by R. Exeter, J. Harpel, and D. Wagner. More…
  • Toy camera review…

New Book


Rare Bryophytes of Oregon has been published by the Bureau of Land Management (ISBN 13: 978–09791310–4–2). It is 378 pages, almost every other page is a plate of photos. The book was composed by Ronald Exeter, Judith Harpel and David Wagner. It includes one hornwort, 39 liverworts and 102 mosses. For each, it gives information on current taxonomy, distinctive characteristics, technical description, similar species, ecology, references, and county distribution maps. The paper book is available for $42, which includes shipping anywhere. For credit card purchase, call 503-375-5646. Or send a check to Rare Bryophyte Book, Salem District—Bureau of Land Management, 1717 Fabry Road SE, Salem, OR 97306. Wagner is also giving away the PDF: low resolution version or high resolution version. Because of the Northwest Forest Plan, Oregon bryology is way ahead of California bryology. California needs that kind of government support and those kind of dedicated bryologists. Congratulate our colleagues on this very helpful accomplishment.


Toy Camera

For years, I have been lugging around a big camera with three flashes. My one-and-only way of taking photos was to use a tiny aperture and to flood the specimen with light. Then little old ladies in tennis shoes showed me a new way, a toy camera, the Olympus Tough TG-4 on a gorillapod. It is capable of amazingly high magnification and uses stacking to increase depth of focus. It has an accessory to the flash that spreads the light, but so far I have not enjoyed the flash because it changes the colors of mosses, e.g., from a slightly blackish green to a slightly yellowish green. On a tripod, the camera is capable of good images in pretty dim light. In fact images taken in sunlight usually don’t come out well. You want your specimen to be fully shaded. Linked out is a handout I made with my first week of playing with the new toy.

camera and smart phone

I have a few complaints about the TG-4. It links out to an app that I’ve installed on my iPhone. In principle, this is the best way to control the camera on the tripod. In practice, the app is buggy and the wifi connection runs down the camera’s battery fast. That system is only good for about an hour and then one has to go home to de-stress and re-charge. Hopefully, Olympus will at least make the app more stable. Another complaint is that I really miss having a lense cap. I find that I constantly have to be cleaning the lense, and I have an aversion to cleaning lenses from childhood beatings at even the suggestion of letting dust get on a camera lense. I am still playing with using other than the automatic settings. For example, one can focus after auto-focusing using the screen, but so far it hasn’t increased my odds. The TG-4 offers many other over-rides: ISO, exposure compensation, aperture preferred mode, and even underwater refraction compensation. I did try the underwater thing, but I needed macro and I don’t think it does both macro and underwater at the same time. The photos came out okay only in very still waters: see my gallery of nudibranchs.

—Paul Wilson

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