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.

Monday, December 21, 2009

[BRYONET] Bryophyte and lichen workshops presented by the Jepson Herbarium

The Jepson Herbarium Public Education Program presents 

two field workshops in bryophytes and lichens:

1. An Opportunity to Study Tropical Bryophytes at Nectandra Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, with Dan Norris

March 11-22, 2010

About the Course
Tropical Bryology will be taught at the Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden, a Biological Preserve dedicated to the conservation of montane cloud forest.  This preserve protects about 175 acres of pristine, primary cloud forest near San Ramon in Alajuela Province, Costa Rica (see: The goal of the course is to prepare participants to do field recognition of the major genera of mosses, liverworts and hornworts of the Costa Rican cloud forest.  Skills in laboratory identification to species are also predicted. Field collecting trips will take us to all parts of the Nectandra Forest.  There are about 5 miles of excellent and easy trails on the Nectandra forest from which we will begin our studies, and by mid-course we will survey high elevation lands within only a few hours drive.  There will be at least one field trip to high elevations.

Participants in the course will work with completed keys written by Norris for the liverworts, hornworts and mosses that he has documented for the Nectandra Cloud Forests.  A reference collection of identified Nectandra bryophytes will be available for comparison.  Appropriate additional literature will be available in the laboratory.  There is an excellent catalogue of the biota of the forest with special coverage of ferns and vascular plants.  Arrayed along the trails of the Nectandra forest are signposts with identification of nearly 100 species of vascular plants, mostly trees.  Participants will be introduced to the vascular plants of Nectandra the first morning of the workshop.

The trip is planned for March 11- 22, 2010 to take advantage of the dry season and for those in academia – spring break! All seasons have pleasant temperatures that range primarily in the 60 's to 70's F.  Because a trip to distant Costa Rica should be of sufficient duration to allow serious learning, we scheduled 11 days for the course with 2 free days inserted so that each 3 planned days of study are followed by a free day.   The price of the class will be $1700 (course, lodging and meals), air-fare is an additional expense. Participants will fly to San Jose International Airport, Costa Rica.  To register interest: inform Cecile Shohet at

Required text: Guide to the Bryophytes of Tropical America, by S. Robbert Gradstein and Steven Churchill, et al., published by the Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden ($30).  To order this text:

About the Instructors

The course will be taught by Dr. Dan Norris of the University Herbarium, UC Berkeley, with Juan Larraín, CONC Herbarium, University of Concepción, Chile, assisting.

Dr. Norris is the author of many journal articles in bryology with emphasis on taxonomy of California and Papua New Guinea mosses.  He wrote with Jim Shevock the keys and catalogues to the mosses of California (Madroño 2004), and has amplified that with a micro- photographic book on California mosses (with Bill and Nancy Malcolm and Jim Shevock).  In the neo-tropics, his publications derive from trips to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.  Dan taught annual university-level courses in bryology at Humboldt State University for 24 years.  He also has experience in teaching advanced students: thesis direction at Humboldt and numerous short-duration bryology courses for professional botanists and foresters.  His field experience in the Neo- and the Paleotropics included the collection of about 30,000 herbarium numbers from tropical areas.  Three weeks of study on the Nectandra Forest have prepared him for the course, as well as countless hours in his UC Berkeley lab.

Juan Larraín is a doctoral student at Universidad de Concepción, Chile, in his last year of study, working with the phylogeny of the moss genus Racomitrium and a taxonomic revision of the 20 species that grow in South America. He has been working on this group since 2000, and has been the curator of bryophytes at CONC herbarium since 2006.

Nectandra Institute Preserve

Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden, near San Ramon in Alajuela Province, Costa Rica (see:, is the name of Nectandra Institute's Biological Preserve.  Their mission is to promote the conservation and restoration of the montane cloud forest ecosystems of Costa Rica through public education, scientific research, and watershed stewardship. The preserve is special – it is private, few people have the opportunity to visit and get into the "interior", as only a small portion of the preserve is open to the public by reservation.  It protects about 70 hectares (175 acres) of undisturbed pristine, primary cloud forest, and an equal amount of secondary cloud forest.  The area is ideal for bryologists – incredible diversity, due to the wetness and coolness of the climate.

Evelyne and David Lennette, originally from Berkeley, California, founded the Nectandra Institute for the conservation of the montane cloud forest. The preserve includes a meeting center and a laboratory in an otherwise pristine forest of about 3/4 of a square mile, to host and educate conservation groups. It is bounded on three sides by grazing land but it abuts on one side with large tracts of pristine forest.

Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden is relatively isolated, with nothing commercial nearby.   There is a "soda"  (local name for a eatery operated by 1-2 persons) 2+ mi down the road, but that is it.  Telecommunication from the garden is almost non-existent. There are no phone lines; cell phones work from few spots, infrequently – when one has access to Costa Rican cell phone service.  There are no public health concerns to be aware of when traveling to Costa Rica. 


We will be staying at a special spot - Arturo's Casa Angeles Bed & Breakfast, which has a 270 degree view – from which you can see the nearby volcano, Arenal; as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance.   It is 7 kilometers from the bed and breakfast to the Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden Preserve (where class will be held).  Arturo's is by far the closest and most comfortable place to stay in the area.  Most importantly, it is hosted by Costa Ricans, which will allow for after class social mingling among the participants and the Tico (local word for Costa Rican) hosts, in a relatively homey atmosphere.  There are three large bedrooms with private baths (that can accommodate up to 4 each) and 4 smaller rooms for 2 persons each (one with private bath and the other three share a bath).   The rooms are all different, with individualized furnishing.  There is limited wireless Internet access – which is good for emailing but of limited strength for quick web browsing).  There is a public bus stop in front of the B&B if anyone wants to go off on their own.  Taxi service is plentiful and quite inexpensive (e.g. about $8 - 9 per trip to San Ramon for a 7 km ride). If shared 3 ways, taxi's are almost as cheap as buses.

The food will be delicious - prepared by a local caterer, and will be authentic Costa Rican cuisine.


The class will be held in the Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden, in a meeting room that is about 700 sq ft large, equipped with flat screen and/or digital projection for power point presentations.  There will be both dissecting and compound microscopes available, one set for every 2 participants.  If you feel the need to have your own scope(s) or want something with special optics – please feel free to bring personal microscope with you.  We also have an additional 700 sq ft of semi open space (i.e. roofed but not walled) with electrical outlets.


2. A 5-Day Crustose Workshop on Crustose Lichens with Irwin Brodo, February 20-24, 2010 

Feb 20-24, 2010

Irwin M. Brodo

Location: Bodega Marine Laboratory, Bodega Bay CA, and surrounding locations

Although the lichens of coastal rocks and forest are a conspicuous component of the vegetation, it is usually the larger lichens, the foliose and fruticose species, that attract one's attention. This workshop will concentrate on the less conspicuous, but equally diverse and important, crustose lichens. Collections will be made from bark, wood, rocks and soil, and they will then be identified in the laboratory. Updated keys to genera of crustose lichens from "Lichens of North America," will be used, as well as other modern keys from the world literature. Techniques for sectioning, staining, and interpreting the tissues of crustose lichen fruiting bodies will be introduced, with special attention being devoted to staining various ascus types with iodine. Thin layer chromatography will be introduced and used to demonstrate how to analyze the chemistry of some crustose lichens, especially sterile species, as the interest of participants and time permits. Techniques for testing lichens with paraphenylenediamine, hypochlorite solution (bleach), potassium hydroxide, nitric acid, and iodine will be discussed and used regularly for identifications.

Course fee $600/$625 includes meals, and accommodations from Saturday dinner through Wednesday lunch. Bring lunch the first day. Lodging is at a field station with two-person rooms each with a private bathroom.

Dr. Brodo is an emeritus scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He is a world authority on the identification and biology of lichens, and was honored in 1994 with an Acharius Medal presented to him by the International Association for outstanding contributions to lichenology.  Dr. Brodo's list of publications includes 75 research papers, 8 popular articles, 22 reviews and 6 editorials. One of Irwin Brodo's great achievements was the publication of the 795 page book, "Lichens of North America" which is filled with high quality photographs of lichens taken by Sylvia and Stephen Sharnoff.

This workshop will be held at the Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory in Sonoma County, on the coast at Bodega Bay, California ( Meals and dorm style lodging will be included.   Please let me know, if you are interested.  And, please see our website: for more information.

Contact for both workshops:

Cecile Shohet

Public Education, Coordinator

Jepson Herbarium, UC Berkeley

1001 Valley Life Sciences Bldg

Berkeley, CA 94720-24655

phone   (510) 643-7008



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