As a general policy, check the website for event updates before you walk out the door!
Brent Mishler will give a talk to the Yerba Buena Chapter of CNPS on Thursday, 6 June 2019 at 7:30 pm, in the Recreation Room of the San Francisco County Fair Building (SFCFB) at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park, entitled: “Mosses are from Mars, Vascular Plants are from Venus.”
We will have a Microscope Day for bryophyte identification 9:00-4:00 at Cal State Northridge, Chaparral Hall 5335, on Monday 17 June. In particular, bring your Didymodon and Homalothecium specimens. For more, firstname.lastname@example.org. Microscope days are for people who are a shade above beginners. If you’re interested in attending, fill out the LINKED FORM…
On Wednesday, 19 June 2019, Paul Wilson will be giving a talk to the Mojave Chapter. His talk is entitled: “Intro to Mosses+.” It will be at the Center for Healthy Generations, 57121 Sunnyslope Drive, Yucca Valley, starting at 7:00 pm. For updates…
Stephen Rae will give a talk entitled, “Bryophytes: What Are They and Why Should I Care?” on Monday 12 August 2019 at 6:15 p.m., at the Solano College Biology Laboratory, sponsored by the Willis Lynn Jepson Chapter and the Solano College Horticulture Club.
David Wagner will be offering a 3 ½ day intensive bryophyte identification workshop at the Andrews Experimental Forest in Blue River, Oregon, 23-27 September, 2019. Please contact David at email@example.com for registration instructions.
Run for the Chapter’s Board of Directors. This year, the Treasurer and President-Elect will be voted on. Email Jim Shevock.
Save the date! SO BE FREE 25 will be held in Lake County at Saratoga Springs Resort, Friday 20 March through Monday 23 March, 2020. There will be wonderful bryophyte diversity in this environmentally heterogeneous region, and we’ll be celebrating the silver anniversary of SO BE FREE, so please put this on your calendar.
We had a marvelous SO BE FREE at San Luis Obispo: More…
Lynn Robertson, Sierra Foothills Liaison, reports on a recent hike in the Merced River Canyon: More…
Take macro photos with your smartphone using an inexpensive attachment: Jenna Ekwealor on the AMIR Macro Lens…
Gemmabryum has been recognized as a junior synonym. The species have been transferred to Osculatia, as in, “Osculatia vinosa could become California’s state moss.” See R Ochyra, V Plášek, H. Bednarek-Ochyra. 2018. Acta Mus. Siles. Sci. Natur. 67: 71-79.
SO BE FREE 24, a Success
—Amanda Heinrich, Joe Flynn
First off, a huge thanks to Ken Kellman and Ben Carter for putting together yet another fantastic foray!
SO BE FREE 24 was held amongst the lovely rolling hills and volcanic plugs of San Luis Obispo County. We stayed at El Chorro Outdoor school, along a small creek, amongst majestic sycamores, and accompanied by a flock of gobbling turkeys. About 60 people turned out to gawk at the local bryophytes, including a large contingent of students. Microscopes were generously delivered by Cal Poly Professors Jenn Yost and Matt Ritter, and our carpeted conference room was soon abustle with the eager activity of keying specimens and of sharing knowledge.
On Saturday morning, while Ken Kellman, Brent Mishler and Paul Wilson bestowed their wisdom upon the beginners, the rest of us explored the chaparral and oak woodlands on East Cuesta Ridge in the Santa Lucia Mountains. It was windy and cold, but the fearless bryologists persisted in their tireless efforts to collect mosses and liverworts, plucking from the shaley slopes species such as Osculatia vinosa (=Gemmabryum vinosum), Grimmia lisae, Grimmia trichophylla, Grimmia montana, and Homalothecium pinnatifidum, among others. Coast Live Oak trunks were covered with the likes of Orthotrichum, Dendroalsia abeitina, Alsia californica, Porella bolanderi, Isothecium cristatum, with a sprinkling of Frullania.
At midday we headed over to the West Cuesta Ridge and ate lunch with a delicious view of the ocean before exploring the shady roadcuts hosting Scleropodium tourettii, Scleropodium californicum, Claopodium whippleanum, Asterella californica, Targionia hypophylla, and Fossombronia.
In the afternoon we headed on to Reservoir Canyon where we poked around the waterfall—some intrepid explorers entered the cave behind the waterfall—and found Pohlia wahlenbergii, Didymodon tophaceus, Kindbergia praelonga, Hygroamblystegium varium. On the trail through the riparian zone, Fabronia pusilla with its darling sporophytes decorated the bases of Bay Laurels. At rocky outcrops above the riparian zone, Ben Carter explained the differences between Homalothecium pinnatifidum and Homalothecium arenarium, then Anacolia and Bartramia, the latter of which showed off a few of its perfectly round capsules.
On Sunday, about half of us headed farther inland within the Los Padres National Forest to Red Hill Road to kneel upon a proliferation of ephemerals on the flat, red, mineral soil. Stars of the show were Entosthodon californicus with its copious sporophytes, Microbryum starkeanum, and Riccia trichophylla, shriveled in all its furry glory, all out in the full sun.
Less ephemeral species were also in abundance such as Didymodon australaiseae, Tortula brevipes, Tortula atrovirens, Syntrichia spp. and Osculatia spp. Pseudocrossidium obtusulum, with its seriously revolute margins was also present in smaller amounts. Many folks wandered over to a small vernal pool filled with Seed Clams and Water Boatmen, but alas, no Fairy Shrimp.
After lunch we headed down the road to a rocky outcrop covered with Grimmia laevigata, much of which was fruiting, plus Grimmia lisae, Homalothecium, Asterella californica, and others.
Many enjoyed the stellar wildflower displays as well, frolicking upon carpets of Goldfields, Baby Blue Eyes, Tidy Tips, Lupines, Poppies, plus a few Thistle Sage to boot.
Meanwhile, others were with Dr. Ben Carter at an alternative Sunday field trip to the Rinconada Trail near Pozo. Once there, Dr. Carter tried to introduce us to the ideas of field bryology.
Once you know something of the phylogeny of the bryophytes and the basics of microscopic examination of specimens the difficulty begins. Where do you find plants to examine? Which ones do you take back to the lab? Are they basically all the same or different?
There seems something almost mystical happening when you are with an experienced bryologist in the field. How are they doing that?
Dr. Carter told us it starts with recognizing the varied ecological niches where different taxa are located. The presence or absence of moisture and the type and stability of substrates vary. Add to that the fact that many bryophytes in this climate are dry nine months of the year.
Some are easier to tell when they are dry. We examined some tiny twisted abstract sculptures that we thought might be Weissia a.k.a. Little Curly, but upon further examination, they turned out to be Timmiella a.k.a. Big Curly.
The blue oaks were enhanced by large bronze-green pelts of Antitrichia californica. In contrast, the dark green spots of Orthotrichum lyellii looked like a teenager’s skin condition. We found some with gemmae on the leaves.
Dr. Carter spent time helping us hot to distinguish those pesky pleurocarps that look like bags of worms. “Can you see a costa?” Nogopterium gracile, Scleropodium touretii, S. julaceum, S. californicum, S. occidentale, along with Homalothecium of various species all seemed plausible.
We came to a large rock wall and Dr. Carter told us how to slow down and start to count individual plants.
Hedwigia detonsa was one of the major components of the wall mosses with Homalothecium nuttallii. Osculatia vinosa was up near the top while Fabronia pusila was tucked under an overhanging ledge. In crevices in another rock there was gem-like Gymnostomum calcarium and Funaria muhlenbergii. We had a nice picnic under the Blue Oaks surrounded by Shooting Stars and Chocolate Lilies.
We worked long into the evenings at the microscopes, learning from one another, socializing with one another, and of course imbibing tasty beverages with one another. Students gave nice presentations including Ana Lyons who dazzled us with some of her work on Tardigrades (look for her article in our August Newsletter).
For even more photos, text, and memories, go to the page called SO BE FREE 24. To view a list of species and to add to the list of species found please go to Chris Wagner’s Google Doc…
Merced River Hike Report
We had nine people on the April 28th bryophyte hike where we explored wet & dry areas of the canyon walls around Briceburg in the Merced River Canyon. Dr. Paul Wilson showed us mosses & liverworts on rocks, soils & trees. We learned how bryophytes fit into the “tree of life” and some unusual anatomical facts. The special highlight of the day was finding two genera of hornworts (Anthoceros and Phaeoceros) next to each other in a seasonal stream. Mosses found included Didymodon, Syntrichia, Antitrichia, Homalothecium, Grimmia, Amphidium, and Anacolia. Check out the photo brochure for the Hite Cove trail which features many of the species found https://bryophyte.cnps.org/images/pdf/HitesCoveMaraposa.pdf
AMIR Macro Lens Review
—Jenna T. B. Ekwealor
Anyone who’s been to the CNPS Bryophyte Chapter annual foray SO BE FREE or another bryophyte-focused hike probably knows about the Olympus Tough camera. Some might even say it’s the official camera of the chapter. (¿Is Olympus sponsoring us yet?) It’s a great camera of course, but it might be more than certain people need, or want to spend! I’m here to remind you all that most of you have a really powerful computer, GPS unit, and camera in your pocket already: a smart phone. Smart phones have the ability to take great photos with GPS tags (just like the Olympus Tough) with one major drawback—they don’t do macro shots. Well, listen up! Good news! You can upgrade your smartphone camera with an inexpensive and easy to use fix by clipping on a macro lens. With this trick you’ll be taking high-quality up-close photos of bryophytes in no time. Here is a sample photo I took using the AMIR Macro Lens I bought from Amazon for $14.99.
PS: Did you know a portion of many of your Amazon purchases can be donated to a non-profit organization of your choice? If you shop at smile.amazon.com you’ll see a place at the top to select your non-profit of choice. Of course, we recommend choosing the California Native Plant Society!