The theme of the workshop was the taxonomic and evolutionary significance of the moss peristome. It was held on 21-22 October at Manchester University. and was organized and led by Dr Sean Edwards. Eight members attended.
We began with an outing to the Cheshire side of the Goyt Valley to collect material. We were able to find material illustrating all the variations of the polytrichoid peristome (Polytrichum, Polytrichastrum and Pogonatum) and species with haplolepidous (Dicranella) and diplolepidous (Bartramia, Bryum) peristomes. A nice bonus was Martin Wigginton’s find of Tetrodontium brownianum.
In the early evening of the first day we learned about the structure and development of the peristome. Or rather peristomes: a major theme of Dr Edwards’ lecture was the importance of recognizing that polytrichoid ‘peristomes’ are not homologous to the peristomes of haplo- or diplolepidous mosses, and the central importance of this fact to the taxonomy.
The second day was spent in the laboratory dissecting peristomes of our various species and seeing for ourselves the features outlined in the previous day’s lecture. A further talk on the evolution of the peristome gave rise to a lively discussion, and we learned useful tricks of dissection and sectioning. It was a very informative and enjoyable weekend. Thanks are due to Sean Edwards for all the work of organization and preparation, and to Sean and Salosh for entertaining us so generously at their home on the Saturday evening.