At the end of March I attended the SOBEFREE foray with amateur and professional bryologists from across California and beyond. I highly recommend attending this foray, especially if you live in California. This year we went to some really great locations in Santa Cruz county and I learned tons of California mosses. The days are spent hiking and collecting mosses with our permits in hand. Then the evenings we all gather around our microscopes to look at the plants and to identify them to species.
With my new skills in hand, I decided to take a look at some of my older photos to see if I could make any identifications. I looked at my desktop calendar from January and now recognize the species. It is Dendroalsia abietina! It is a super common moss on trees in California. When dry the leaves curl downward and may remind you of a clenched fist. When wet, the fronds are splayed out and form an array of small shelves across the trunk. Peek beneath the fronds to find the short sporophytes hiding on the undersides in clusters. I love learning the names of new plants, especially mosses. I often think of it as making new botanical friends.
Being out in the field and looking at plants was such a great change of pace from being in the laboratory. I am hoping that I can make it to the Schofield Bryophyte and Lichen foray up in British Columbia this fall. I don't think the time and location have been announced yet. As soon as I hear I will share it here on the blog.
It would also be nice to stop by the University of British Columbia while up in Canada to meet the chemists I am collaborating with. I have only interacted with them through email and skype. It would be great to see them and their lab setup in person.
Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement about SOBEFREE 2015, which will be held in March somewhere in California. I will most certainly be there next year!
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