As a general policy, check the website for event updates before you walk out the door!
Every year we elect two members of the Bryophyte Chapter’s Board of Directors. This year we are voting on President Elect to become President (a four-year term), and Treasurer (a two-year term). This year we have one candidate for each position. PLEASE VOTE HERE…
~ Ben Carter teaches and curates at San Jose State University. He has done a wide array of studies on California’s plant diversity and has been involved in many spring forays and chapter events for over a decade.
~ Kiamara Ludwig is currently the Treasurer and is running for a second term. She was a key player in starting the Chapter and has attended many Spring Forays. In addition to studying bryophytes, she is heavily involved in gardening with native plants.
A group of us will be studying the bryophytes of streams flowing into Huntington Lake (7000’) above Fresno, on Wednesday 11 September. If you’re interested in joining us, RSVP…
Microscope day for people with at least a bit of experience, on Sunday 29 September, from 9:00 to 4:00, at California State University Northridge CR 5335. RSVP…
SO BE FREE, our annual foray and chapter meeting, will be held 20-23 March 2020 at the Saratoga Springs Retreat Center in Lake County, California, in the heart of the North Coast Ranges, with a diverse flora ranging from redwoods and mixed evergreens in the lower elevations near the coast, to boreal forests and rocky crests in the higher elevations, to savannas, chaparral, and oak woodlands of the lower elevations in the interior. Register by 1 October for a $25 early-bird discount. Details and registration form here: https://bryophyte.cnps.org/images/pdf/SBF25Announcement.pdf
Intermediate moss identification, on Tuesday 22 October, 9:00-4:00, at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, in Fisher Science 33-354. You will learn how to dissect mosses and run them through the key to genera, as well as photographic keys to some tricky genera. Bring your own specimens for others to identify, and bring books if you have them. Enter campus via Grand Ave or Highland Drive – Grand Ave is closer to the building. Buy a day parking pass for $5 from one of the electronic kiosks. Parking in the K1 lot is best followed by a short walk downhill to the Fisher Science building. You can pick up a map at the Information Booth as you enter campus from Grand Ave. RSVP to receive updates…
The Bristlecone Chapter will be having its annual potluck on 4 December in Bishop, and Paul Wilson will be speaking. Details will be posted at bristleconecnps.org
The Chapter handed out its first two mini-grant scholarships, to Jenna Ekwealor (UC Berkeley) and to Charles Gibbons (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks). The next deadline for applications is the end of the year. RFP…
The day before the last microscope day, a small group of us had a good time ferreting out as many Ptychostomum species as we could find in the San Gabriel Mountains. We encourage others to organize local meetups of Chapter members who are at least a shade above the novice level. Ptychostomum photos HERE…
Read Jim Shevock’s Message from the President HERE…
A new genus was named in honor of Dan Norris. The moss once known as Porotrichum bigelovii is now Dannorrisia bigelovii, as transferred by Enroth and colleagues in The Bryologist 122:219-245.
Graduate student Ana Lyons took some photos of tardigrades from SO BE FREE 2019. MEET THE BEARS…
Ptychostomum (sometimes lumped into Bryum) is notoriously difficult to identify and many species seem to live next to one another in what seems to us the same niche. Color when wet is distinctive but dependent on being in full sun, and many characters present themselves when dry, characters that are hard to really put into words. Color when dry is also valuable, though different than color when wet. Sometimes the best you can do is love diversity rather than needing to have diversity fully squared away. In particular, it is hard to believe that everything called Ptychostomum pseudotriquetrum is in any way cohesive and exclusive. The common Ptychostomum weigelii in our mountains seems a different color than in picture books from elsewhere, though we have some of that too at least in Northern California.
Message from the President
First off, I hope you already took advantage of the early-bird special and registered for SO BE FREE 25 at Saratoga Springs, Lake County. It will indeed be a special event as our 25th foray anniversary, and if you have procrastinated or just haven’t yet committed to attend, there is still time to take advantage of this special lower fee before it expires on October 1. If you have misplaced the SO BE FREE flyer, it can be located on the chapter home page. The next SO BE FREE will be here sooner than we think. As I’ve gotten older, time just seems to fly by faster and faster. I’m now planning international expeditions well into 2020 (and beyond) just to get them on my travel calendar. So turn in your SO BE FREE 25 registration soon and take advantage of the lower rate. It also helps the chapter immensely if we obtain the minimum number of registered participants early on since we have out-of-pocket expenses to rent the facility, arrange for the caterers, etc. Reaching the minimum number of participants early in the process of organizing the foray to meet the contract obligations reduces a lot of stress on our chapter Treasurer!
There are so many interesting things happening on the bryophyte front here in California. Our chapter will once again change leadership when Brent Mishler will take over as our new President at the conclusion of SO BE FREE 25. It indeed has been a pleasure to serve not only as your second chapter President, but through the entire process of becoming a CNPS chapter. Part of my service has been to be the delegate to the CNPS Chapter Council, which meets quarterly. These society-wide governance meetings rotate across the state as different chapters sponsor the state-wide organization. Aside from policy discussions, Council meetings include an evening presentation and field trips. Paul Wilson has helped me as our past and first President in countless ways, and I really thank him for his service and dedication to the chapter.
I am so impressed with our chapter liaisons who assist in arranging for bryophyte walks and talks with the other CNPS chapters. Since we are not a geographically-based chapter, it is indeed the work and commitment of the liaisons who make a direct link with the bryophyte chapter to the remainder of the CNPS body. It’s a very key role and function. However, we could use more members willing to lead a walk or offer a CNPS chapter talk on bryophytes. No one needs to be either professionally trained or an expert. We all have things we can share at the detail that would be appropriate for a CNPS chapter as a broad bryophyte overview. Talks can be organized like the twenty most common bryophytes in the area of the chapter boundary, or simply how to tell a hornwort, moss, and a liverwort apart while on a walk. Be creative. And if you are available for a walk, talk, or both, and you have a particular area of interest, then let one of the liaisons know; they are all listed on the chapter website.
I am aware of other California bryological florulas in the works. Hopefully in the near future another issue of Madroño, a West American Journal of Botany will present one or more of these bryophyte treatments in the shape of a county or some other bounded area. Less formal publications and the like including insights about bryophytes, re-discovery of rare bryophytes, great photos of bryophytes in the field or lab etc. can always be submitted to Bryolog. More members contributing tidbits to our electronic newsletter just makes it a better communication tool. So if you have something to share, send it to Amanda for Bryolog (email@example.com). Don’t be bashful.
By the way, these new small, point and shoot digital cameras with a stacked imaging feature make some remarkably detailed images of bryophytes. I have been using the new point and shoot Olympus, and I’m no professional photographer, but wow, it is amazing how many beautiful and well-focused bryophyte photos can now be obtained. It would be great to add more images of California bryophytes to our online holdings (e.g. iNaturalist).
And, yes, while we have our slate of officers for this term, we will again in 2020 need to seek members willing to serve on the chapter board for a two-year term. Again as I have stated in the past, it is not a huge commitment of time but for any non-profit group to be successful, it needs new blood, both new members and new leaders. So if you could serve for a two-year term starting in 2020 or 2021, let a board member know. We will only be a strong of a chapter if more of us take a bit of effort to lead and be involved.
And that brings me to membership. When you receive your membership renewal from Sacramento, please take care of it pronto and ensure your membership includes affiliation with the Bryophyte Chapter (as well as a local chapter). It’s not a lot of money but renewing on time saves the society a lot of effort from sending additional renewal notices. I generally receive a quarterly statement of members who have not renewed—so I know who you are! Help the chapter stay active, and with your support the chapter can grow. And yes, your membership does mean a lot even if you are only peripherally active in chapter activities. The more we grow our membership the more importance will be attached to bryophytes in the California landscape.
Speaking of growing, we had our first call for proposals to assist students doing bryological studies. During our first funding drive to support student research addressing California bryophytes we received enough donations to get this program started. I am now pleased to report that the Chapter Board funded two student projects each at $500. You will hear more about these projects down the road. With our first educational grants offered we can now in good faith seek renewed funding and donations to build up this program so it is financially sustainable. As a chapter we hope to award a couple of these educational grants per year but this will depend on continued contributions to this specific program. You can always contribute funds from our chapter home page and earmark where you want those funds to be used. We have our accounting system set up so we can match your interests to programs being advanced by the chapter. If you know of students who would like to pursue a study on bryophytes, let them know about this funding program. Details are online. The application is simple, straightforward and not lengthy. Receiving an educational grant is always good on a resume. And while we are not providing a lot of seed money, for a student project it can really mean a lot and a realization that someone cares that this research gets done.
Hope you are enjoying your summer and that you have had an opportunity to see bryophytes up close in the field. I know I have.
Meet the Waterbears
Numerous sampling sites at the 2019 SO BE FREE in San Luis Obispo County yielded impressive and diverse limno-terrestrial tardigrade species:
Milnesium sp. (largest specimen with brown pigmentation)
Macrobiotus sp. (yellow and transparent individuals, and individual with a dark brown egg in the midgut)
Ramazzottius sp. (reddish brown striped, medium sized)
impressive crimson-red Echiniscus sp. (smallest specimen with cilia—a heterotardigrade).
In the leftmost image (not to scale) is a live Ramazzottius sp. specimen—conceivably munching on a nearby bryophyte—after five months of desiccation, followed by rehydration (soaked overnight in mineral water), and observed at 60X magnification.
The most species-rich samples were those of Orthotrichum sp. Keep your eyes peeled for bears amid moss, and feel free to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any water-bear-related questions!
Bargains for Bryologists
—David H. Wagner
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA
30% off Flora of North America. This includes the two moss volumes, 27 & 28. Oxford University Press sales are rare! Enter promotion code FLORA at cart. Order online or call 1-800-451-7556.
One item that is particularly important for bryophyte work is a stage micrometer. It is used to either calibrate an ocular micrometer or, as I do, include in every photo session with the compound microscope. It is now on sale from Amscope for $11.99, less than one twentieth the price other from American sources. I have one packed in my travel kit:
Every bryologist should have at least one top-of-the-line forceps, for dissecting out gametangia from tiny liverworts, and for other purposes. Beware of cheap throw-offs! There are many from Pakistan and China which are advertised as ultra or extra fine watchmakers forceps but are only of mediocre quality. Hamilton Bell used to have the Swiss made ones, the best, but no longer carry them. I’ve found equivalent quality, Italian made, from Esslinger:
Ever since Ken Kellman brought these to my attention, I’ve been a loyal user and promoter. The 20X lenses have amazingly clear optics and wider field of view of any I’ve seen. Now over $120 each but easily worth the price. Just don’t lose yours! Best price I’ve found is from: