A joint IAB/BBS meeting on this topic was held in the Hatherley Laboratories, University of Exeter from 19-24 July 1991, immediately following that on the Biology of Sphagnum. The programme was organised by Dr M.C.F. Proctor in consultation with Dr R.E. Longton, and Dr Proctor was also responsible for the excellent local arrangements. These included a most enjoyable Symposium dinner attended by all participants at both the Experimental Bryology and Sphagnum meeting, an exhibition of morris dancing, and field excursions to Wistman’s wood and Fingle Bridge (21 July), and to Bicton Common and the Axmouth-Lyme Regis landslip (24 July). Approximately 50 bryologists attended the meeting. Invited and contributed papers were presented on three days and posters were on display throughout the meeting. The papers were arranged under six themes:
1. Physiology and metabolism. J.A. Lee (Manchester) gave the keynote address on the effects of airborne pollutants on growth and nitrate metabolism in Racomitrium lanuginosum. He was supported by S. Morgan (Manchester) who discussed responses of bryophytes to desiccation. The session also included papers by the home team on physiological and ecological implications arising from measurement of stable carbon isotope discrimination (M.C.F Proctor), and on biochemical aspects of desiccation tolerance (N. Smirnoff), and by S. Gagnon (Houghton, Michigan) on effects of ozone on photosynthesis and growth in Sphagnum.
2. Cell biology and fine structure. Rather surprisingly there were only two papers under this heading, by J.G. Duckett et al. (London) on protonemal morphogenesis in Sphagnum and by N.W. Ashton (Regina, Canada) on applications of polymerase chain reactions in bryophyte research.
3. Reproduction and control of development. After a stimulating review on the action of place-dependent growth suppression in liverwort morphogenesis (D. Basile, New York) papers were presented on experimental studies of variation in life-history traits in Polytrichum species (T.A. Hedderson and R.E. Longton, Reading) and on the life-history ofArchidium alternifolium at a reservoir in northern England (C.J. Miles and R.E. Longton, Reading).
4. Ecophysiology and experimental ecology. Studies on boreal and polar bryophytes figured prominently in this session, which included papers by D.H. Vitt and L.D. Gignac (Edmonton, Canada) on the response of bryophyte species and their potential in simulating the response of vegetation to climatic change, by R.I.L. Smith (British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge) on bryophyte colonisation of a recently deglaciated site in the Antarctic, and by H. Adamson el al. (Australia) on in situ levels of CO2 in colonies of Grimmia antarctici. Other papers were by J.W. Bates (Imperial College) on nutrient uptake and retention, and by J. Glime (Houghton. Michigan) on stresses of bryophytes at geothermal sites.
5. Biosystematics and population ecology. Martha Newton opened this session by gazing into her crystal ball and attempting to predict the state of bryophyte cytology in the year 2001. She was followed by three papers discussing variation in specific bryophytes, i.e. the polyploid, dioecious hepatic Marchantia globosa (H. Bischler-Causse, Paris), Meesia triquetra along a gradient from boreal to arctic regions of Canada (D. H. Vitt and J. Montagnes, Edmonton), and Sphagnum centrale in Poland (M. Krzakowa and I. Melasik, Poznan). Finally H. J. During et al. (Utrecht, Netherlands) described an experimental approach to the study of chalk grassland bryophytes.
6. Pollution and conservation. The final session began with a review by D.H. Brown and M. Sidhu (Bristol) on the effects of heavy metals on bryophytes. This was followed by papers by H. Adamson et al. (Australia) on the effects of cement-dust on the bryophytes at Casey Station, Antarctica, and by K. Satake (Tsukuba, Japan) on the ecology of the copper moss Scopelophila cataractae in Japan. The meeting was closed on an optimistic note by P. J. Beckett (Sudbury, Canada) who described the recovery of some bryophytes following a reduction in air-pollution around Sudbury.
A selection of the papers delivered at the meeting will be published in the Journal of Bryology.