News from IAB

The mission of the International Association of Bryologists (IAB), as a society, is to strengthen bryology by encouraging interactions among all persons interested in byophytes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

growing moss - steam-sterilized sand

Subject: Re: growing moss
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 12:11:51 +1000
From: Alison Downing <>
To: <>


Dear Marika,

Some years ago, we very successfully cultivated mosses from a range of
substrates, by collecting surface soil (only to about 5 mm deep) and allowing
propagules present in the soils to colonise the soil surface. We filled pots
with steam-sterilized sand (to get rid of any propagules present in the sand). A
shallow layer of collected soil was placed over the top of the steam sterilized
sand. The pots were placed in a glasshouse and were watered with distilled
water, and covered with glass to minimize any possible contamination from
airborne propagules. From some soils, particularly those from limestone sites,
we had complete cover of the pots within 8 weeks, with many of the species
identifiable by that time. It was particularly useful exercise, as there were
some ephemeral species which we had failed to collect in the field (drought at
the time) which we were able to cultivate.
It is a very simple, although somewhat time consuming technique, but I think
this may be a useful technique for cultivating bryophytes from your mine site
soils. The glasshouses used did not have any shading, and we did not find it
necessary, possibly because many of our sites were exposed to full sun for much
of the day anyway.

Good luck with your cultivation!

Alison Downing
Macquarie University Herbarium
Department of Biological Sciences
Macquarie University NSW 2109
Telephone: 02 9850 8197
Fax: 02 9850 8245

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