Field of Science

A Symposium on Southern Hemisphere Bryophytes

This past January I attended the 2015 conference of the International Bryological Association in southern Chile. It was a great conference and an amazing location to visit!

The symposium advertised below may only be of interest to professional bryologists, but I would highly recommend that anyone looking for a far off vacation adventure that is loaded with bryophytes consider visiting Puerto Williams on the Island of Navarino. A unique piece of traveling to the end of the world is a 30 hour ferry that takes you from the mainland to the island. On the trip nature abounds. Whales, birds, and glaciers are just a few of the amazing sites to see!

On the Dientes Circuit - January 2015
While there I also went on a spectacular 5-day backpacking trip on the island (Dientes Circuit). It was an intense hike through sunny hot valleys, up an over cold windy passes, skiing down mountains on loose rocks, and slogging through piles of mud. A fabulous way to escape civilization and interact with nature! 

For nature lovers who are not adventure seeking backpackers, the Omora Ethanobotanical Park is a wonderful natural spot that has beautiful plant and bird life. There is a interpretive trail that introduces you to the common bryophytes of the area. Additionally there are even several pairs of Magellanic woodpeckers that live in the park and researchers are actively studying. I went out to try and see them a couple of mornings but no luck. I think this means I will have to go back to southern Chile to add them to my birding life-list!


VIII Southern Connections Congress January 18th - 23rd 2016
Punta Arenas, Chile
Symposium: Phylogeography & Ecology of Bryophytes in the Southern Hemisphere

Bryophytes are one of the most important components of high latitude floras in terms of diversity, abundance, and ecological function playing key roles in primary succession, water retention, terrestrial carbon sequestration, and nutrient cycling. At high latitudes bryophytes contribute disproportionately to regional biodiversity, with the Antarctic flora composed almost entirely of bryophytes, and the southernmost tip of the Americas hosting 5% of the world bryophyte diversity on just 0.01% of the earths terrestrial surface. Over the last decade, molecular tools have dramatically shifted paradigms of bryophyte evolution, ecology, and biogeography both globally and in the Southern Hemisphere. Here we bring together cutting edge research on bryophyte phylogeography and ecology in order to highlight the key processes driving diversification, richness, and biogeography of bryophytes across ecosystems and timescales in the Southern Hemisphere.

If you are interested in presenting within, or have questions regarding the symposium please contact the organizers:

Symposium Organizers
Elise Biersma (Cambridge University & British Antarctic Survey, UK,
Dr. Lily R. Lewis (University of Connecticut, USA,

Congress Website & Registration:

August 2015 Desktop Calendar

A crispy patch of Gemmabryum mosses from the 2015 SO BE FREE 
moss foray in the San Bernardino mountains.

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