A training course in bryophyte taxonomy, sponsored by the Systematics Association and organized for the British Bryological Society by the authors, was held at Manchester University from 2 — 9 September 1983 as part of the BBS Diamond Jubilee programme. It was gratifying that 23 students participated in the course, a figure close to our upper limit of 25. The students included a fair mix of amateur bryologists and professionals from universities and museums. Several were from overseas, and a number of other foreign applicants were unfortunately unable to attend either because of problems of’ funding or because of excessive postal delays.
We were most fortunate in having Dr A.J.E. Smith, University College of North Wales, Bangor, and Dr M.O. Hill, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Bangor, as our principal guest tutors. They enabled us to cover almost all the major aspects of bryophyte taxonomy and Dr Hill’s considerable field experience was much appreciated during an excursion to Monks Dale. We were also grateful to Mr C.V. Hone and Mr C.W.A. Pettitt for their valuable contributions on herbarium techniques and data banking. The course evolved somewhat as it progressed. The daytime sessions were essentially practical and were held in laboratories in the Department of Botany. The evening sessions consisted of lectures at Hulme Hall, a University residence where most of the students were staying. The course also featuredcytological demonstrations (MEN) and visits to the Manchester Museum Computer Cataloguing Unit (CWAP) and Herbarium (SRE), presented to the students in small groups.small groups.
We formed the impression that the students gained much useful experience and information from the course, and recommend that comparable courses be organized in the future, perhaps at five or ten year intervals.