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.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Re: BRYONET: local endemics


Right on, Ken.
We need more than one system. I did a bryophyte workshop last Sunday
at a preserve called Bartholomew's Cobble in the wilds of
Massachusetts. It's famous for its 42 ferns and "fern allies" -
including filmy fern gametophytes. But there are also over 300
mosses and uncounted as yet liverwort "species." I was told the
workshop was for the "general public" and brought hand lenses for all
and tried to find common names for at least some mosses. A small
group, but really interested; all came with hand lenses and wanted
Latin names! There weren't any Ephemeraceae to fit into the
Pottiaceae anyway.
I think phylogeny is fascinating and have tried to teach some of the
interesting results so far (especially those having to do with
ecology) at Eagle Hill, but I think we will need "species" names for
a long time even when we are not sure what actually constitutes a
species (very difficult in terms of Sphagnum in my view--too many new
As Lars wrote, there are practical problems, too, in terms of
conservation; e.g., endangered species. I just read an interesting
article on the red wolf, once nearly extinct and since re-introduced
in SE U.S. But is it really the same species of red wolf? Perhaps a
coyote-wolf hybrd, perhaps a newly bred-in-captivity selected "red
wolf? But the Endangered Species Act is written in terms of species
that are endangered. You can see what its political enemies could do
with that!
Enough--I'm still trying to finish 2 books and shouldn't
even be reading these. Worth a discussion in New Mexico though. I
hope to see you there.
All best wishes, Nancy

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