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06 agosto 2009

Tropical Bryology course in Costa Rica!

An opportunity to study tropical bryophytes at
Nectandra Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, with Dan Norris

The Jepson Herbarium of the University of California, Berkeley has,
for many years, offered a broad variety of weekend courses, most of
which emphasize identification of plants and/or fungi
http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/workshops/

Recently, we have broadened our coverage to several longer
duration courses in areas distant from California (Hawaii and New
Zealand). We are now considering a course in tropical bryology to be
offered on the Nectandra Cloud Forest near San Ramon in Alajuela
Province, Costa Rica (see: http://www.nectandra.org/index.htm). If
adequate enrollment (about 15) is achieved, the course will be taught
by Dr. Dan Norris of the University Herbarium, UC Berkeley, possibly
in cooperation with a Costa Rican bryologist.

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 (Madro=F1o 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.

Evelyne and David Lennette, originally from Berkeley, California,
developed the Nectandra Insitute to host conservation oriented
groups. The Forest includes a meeting center and a laboratory in an
otherwise pristine forest of about =BE of a square mile. It is bounded
on three sides by grazing land but it abuts on one side with large
tracts of pristine forest. Excellent accommodations both for food and
sleeping arrangements are planned.

During this course, we plan to walk on and near the about 5 miles of
excellent and easy trails on the Nectandra forest, and we plan trips,
with collecting possibilities, to high elevation lands within only a
few hours drive. 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 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. Field
collecting trips will take us to all parts of the Nectandra Forest.
We anticipate that participants will be able to send materials
collected during the course to home herbaria. 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.

We are surveying the bryology community to determine whether there is
adequate interest in such a course. We see two possibilities in terms
of times to offer this course in 2010. We would like to plan for a
time in March or April because of a pattern of lower rainfall. In the
summer, more people will be free but, during that time, heavy rainfall
will enforce morning trips followed by afternoon laboratory work. 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 would schedule 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 about $1500 (course, lodging and meals) plus air fare.

To register interest: inform Cecile Shohet, indicating 2010 spring or summer preference.

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