Held every two to three years since 1988, the Australian Bryophyte Workshops aim to present opportunities for those researching, or just interested in learning about, bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) to meet and exchange knowledge of these plants in different environments. The 13th Workshop has just taken place, for the first time in South Australia (see also announcement in the Australasian Bryological Newsletter). This presented participants with a different challenge from some other workshops — the need to search for the small and sometimes obscure in an environment not obviously favourable for bryophytes, which require free water to reproduce.
The Workshop was held from 20–26 August, the main part being based at Pichi Richi Park, near Quorn in the Flinders Ranges, and the last two days based at The University of Adelaide. On 20 August, most of the group investigated Spring Gully Conservation Park near Clare, and a half-day field trip was also held on 25 August to the Nature Trail / Spring Gully portion of Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. On 26 August, several information sessions were run by experts in particular bryophyte groups, in between time spent starting to identify some of the plants found during the previous days. Sites investigated in the Flinders Ranges included the Quorn area, Alligator Gorge, Mambray Creek, Winninowie and Melrose.
The 16 official participants came from South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, Great Britain and the United States. Three members of the Friends of Spring Gully Park joined with the group on 20 August and three adults and two children from the lower Flinders area joined with some of the fieldwork there. Their interest and local knowledge were both helpful and encouraging.
Full identification of all the collected plants will involve detailed work and will take time, but it is already known that the Herbarium’s collections of some species have been greatly enriched. For example, co-organiser and State Herbarium staff member Graham Bell found the rarely-collected tiny moss Bryobartramia novaevalesiae , previously represented in the State Herbarium of South Australia by only one SA specimen. The rarely collected salt-marsh liverwort Monocarpus sphaerocarpus D.J.Carr was found in two sites during the Workshop.
Contributed by State Herbarium botanist Graham Bell.