Moss Dissection

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mrsonchus
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Moss Dissection

#1 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:17 am

Hi all, I thought I'd share a few images of a moss dissection from today. I don't know which species (or even Genus come to that....) this moss belongs to as I was just 'practicing my dissection' as it were....
An identification of moss usually is best started by discovering then deciding if a specimen is 'pleaurocarpous' or 'acrocarpous' - this refers to the position of the reproductive structures of a moss - pleurocarpous moss has these organs borne very close to the stem as though they were actually on the stem directly. Acrocarpous mosses bear these organs at the tips of branches or stems rather than right up against the stem....
Either way,the immature organs are truly tiny, and not directly visible even with a loupe - the use of a stereo and/or compound 'scope is necessary. When the female organs are mature they are easily seen as they develop into the familiar 'stalk with a capsule atop' that many will be familiar with.
At this immature stage these organs must be searched for!

Anyway, here are a few images from my investigations today,

Here are some of the 'clump' of branches that were growing in a many-branched 'mat' rather than the 'cushion' form of some mosses.
The mat-like and highly-branched nature of this moss strongly suggests that this moss is a pleurocarp, and so I am expecting to find the reproductive organs laterally positioned up-against the stem/s rather than at the ends of stems and/or branches....

Here's part of the 'clump' of branches. The first image mentions the organs at the tip of the lateral branch, which is the case, but the branches bearing the sex-organs of a pleaurocarp don't elongate and so look like and may be usefully referred-to as a 'bud'.
ws_moss dissection 01.jpg
ws_moss dissection 01.jpg (59.9 KiB) Viewed 3908 times
Going further-in I've removed the part of the stem bearing the bud....
ws_2pic_1.jpg
ws_2pic_1.jpg (47.33 KiB) Viewed 3908 times
Further dissection under the stereo 'scope is revealing a little more structure,
ws_2pic_2.jpg
ws_2pic_2.jpg (37.01 KiB) Viewed 3908 times
Getting down to the really tiny levels involves careful dissection and the use of my very finest forceps, again under the stereo 'scope for dissection and the taking of the first of these two images. For the second image and the final pair of images the tiny tissue was mounted in PVA from water and a std 0.17mm cover-slip applied to make a non-permanent but quite long-lasting (several months probably) slide. The mounted images were taken through my Orthoplan compound 'scope.
ws_2pic_3.jpg
ws_2pic_3.jpg (48.48 KiB) Viewed 3908 times
Finally a close look at the 'bunch' of several archegonia - only one (usually) of which will, after fertilization develop into a 'stalk' (seta) atop which is borne a capsule full of spores..... This moss is at the very immature stage, fertilization has not yet occurred...
ws_2pic_4.jpg
ws_2pic_4.jpg (52.5 KiB) Viewed 3908 times
The bulge at the base of each archegonium is where the waiting egg-cell resides, the stem above is a channel down which sperm must travel to reach and fertilize this egg - which will then begin to develop into the full seta and capsule structures.....

Sorry to be brief with this but I only thought to post this while I was actually doing the dissection....

John B.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#2 Post by PeteM » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:11 am

Very cool, from macro to micro.

Who says you can't be on a roll AND gather moss?

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Re: Moss Dissection

#3 Post by KurtM » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:48 am

Very cool, from macro to micro.
^^^ what he said. Thanks for a very interesting post!
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Re: Moss Dissection

#4 Post by 75RR » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:01 am

Great series! Particularly like the simple hold your hand steps. Now where did I put my scalpel ...?
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Re: Moss Dissection

#5 Post by billbillt » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:13 am

Thanks for sharing, John, B...Very interesting sequence with your usual wonderful and complete job...

BillT

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Re: Moss Dissection

#6 Post by MichaelG. » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:03 am

John B

Let me add my thanks and appreciation

A lovely presentation ... Were you inspired by Brian Johnston's work ?
http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... owers.html

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Re: Moss Dissection

#7 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:35 am

KurtM wrote:
Very cool, from macro to micro.
^^^ what he said. Thanks for a very interesting post!
Kurt! Good to hear from you old chap!

Pleased you like it - it's that time here in the U.K. (and will be for a good 3 months...) when mosses begin to get all sexual as it were...
In fact, in some situations there are even mature capsules to be found, a very interesting time moss-wise.
John B

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Re: Moss Dissection

#8 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:55 am

Thanks 75', Bill & Michael, great to share a little adventure, so much happening with my family at the moment that I've been pretty limited for opportunity for full-on paraffin sectioning. However, even a quick forage around some of the limestone rocks of our drystone-walls may yield (and almost invariably does) a few interesting subjects....

The investigation into such a truly tiny plant is very rewarding indeed - as you'll all be well-aware, I love the finest detail of taxonomic characters of plants, flowering or as here not that is.
This morning, about 30 minutes ago in fact, I've been, as my lovely Wife says "at it again"... She caught me emerging from the lab with a pair of stepladders and a reaching-grabbing thingy that litter-pickers use.... I began an explanation but then considered it a better option to move silently towards the garden instead, the dog followed...

I found some mosses that were in a slightly sunnier aspect of the roof of our porch that the grabby-thing and the ladders enabled me to shall we say, gather a sample of. These have fully-formed capsules and antheridial 'splash-cups' (containing male gametes to be 'splashed about' by rain).
I also took a piece of blackish-slimy-looking 'stuff' from aforementioned wall that has strange-looking 'pods' without the seta of a moss capsule - the 'plant' looks a lot like a lichen - I don't think it's a liverwort.

We're off into the hills for lunch soon so I'll have to wait 'til later to post some images of these latest beauties. Oh yes, I'll be able to make some more collections with luck while we're out....

Seeing these fascinating little plants in such detail is beginning to make me turn my thoughts to making some permanent sectioned and stained slides, at least of their reproductive morphology - quite fascinating.

Back later with a few images from the damp and dingy world of mosses!

Thanks for your kind comments and interest chaps.

John B.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#9 Post by Hobbyst46 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:04 pm

John B
I have been searching for moss this week as well, and your post is beautifully timed - right now for me to learn from your work and compare! Thanks.
Here, in the semi-arid climate, the garden moss is a very thin green layer on the damp half shaded ground areas. They are brown and dry until some raindrops wake them up, but their height is a only millimeter or so, and they are not "branched".
last year, my mounted moss parts in fructose syrup contained many air bubbles. This time I intend to try and degas them with my new DIY vacuum gadget. It can reach -750mm Hg, then hold it, leaking only 20mm Hg per minute. Perhaps it will suffice. Fructose syrup mountant kept my moss green for more than a year.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#10 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:36 pm

Sounds good Hobbyst' - let us know what you find!
I've used fructose for such 'fresh' samples myself a few years back when I was a beginner and studying the late great Walter Dioni's superb work. This time I had a pot of PVA adhesive (also demonstrated by WD) in my cupboard so I used this and applied strong pressure to flatten for about 1 min - in fact I used a micrometer to apply a good and perfectly flat (i.e. coverslip & slide perfectly parallel) pressure before releasing and allowing to settle (about 5 minutes). During this time I watched also as about a dozen or so bubbles simply 'vanished' from the PVA as it was stabilising - very, very much less prone to lasting bubbles than fructose it seems.

I don't know how long the archegonia will stay in such good condition, but very likely long enough to make a thorough study and take as many images as required. It would also be interesting to fix the archegonia then clear them for permanent mounting with perhaps 'Omnimount' - one of the resin mountants I use for my permanent sectioned slides - I'll give this a try also I think.....

Are you able to post a few images of your gatherings?

Thanks for your interest, John B.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#11 Post by Culicoides » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:29 pm

John B,
What a superb introduction to mosses! This surely deserves a wider audience
Had you ever thought of a series of magazine articles? You have started on the mosses, and some time ago you covered liverworts.
Where? Dare I suggest Micscape Magazine, which appears monthly on the thirteenth? The Editor is almost on you doorstep (previously our own Editor Mol Smith)
Being a Guildfordian I freely confess my UK bias (apologies to my colleagues across the water, from whom we all learn so much)

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Re: Moss Dissection

#12 Post by mrsonchus » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:37 pm

Culicoides wrote:John B,
What a superb introduction to mosses! This surely deserves a wider audience
Had you ever thought of a series of magazine articles? You have started on the mosses, and some time ago you covered liverworts.
Where? Dare I suggest Micscape Magazine, which appears monthly on the thirteenth? The Editor is almost on you doorstep (previously our own Editor Mol Smith)
Being a Guildfordian I freely confess my UK bias (apologies to my colleagues across the water, from whom we all learn so much)
Haha! You're very generous old chap, thank you. I've thought many times about a short write-up for the magazine and shamefully I've never as yet gotten-around to it.....
Perhaps I should have another think now I've also got the ability to photograph through my newly acquired trinocular stereo 'scope.

Pleased you like the series.

John.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#13 Post by apochronaut » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:06 pm

Very methodical and patient work, John. A pleasure to follow your careful steps.

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Re: Moss Dissection

#14 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:50 pm

mrsonchus wrote:Sounds good Hobbyst' - let us know what you find!
I've used fructose for such 'fresh' samples myself a few years back when I was a beginner and studying the late great Walter Dioni's superb work. This time I had a pot of PVA adhesive (also demonstrated by WD) in my cupboard so I used this and applied strong pressure to flatten for about 1 min - in fact I used a micrometer to apply a good and perfectly flat (i.e. coverslip & slide perfectly parallel) pressure before releasing and allowing to settle (about 5 minutes). During this time I watched also as about a dozen or so bubbles simply 'vanished' from the PVA as it was stabilising - very, very much less prone to lasting bubbles than fructose it seems.

I don't know how long the archegonia will stay in such good condition, but very likely long enough to make a thorough study and take as many images as required. It would also be interesting to fix the archegonia then clear them for permanent mounting with perhaps 'Omnimount' - one of the resin mountants I use for my permanent sectioned slides - I'll give this a try also I think.....

Are you able to post a few images of your gatherings?

Thanks for your interest, John B.
Thanks John B.
With your permission, I post images of the moss I collected. "Stems" are 1-2mm long, perhaps they will further grow if the weather remains damp. I separated the leaves with syringe needles for scalpels and a 2X maginifier_desk_lamp since I do not have a stereo microscope. The results are quite torn apart. Yet the chloroplasts are visible, as well as the thick "longitudinal vein" that bisects the leaf. And weird elongated ellipsoidal rods that grow at the base of the leaf (image 4) - I have no idea what they are.

Notes:

1. It was difficult to flat-mount the stem before dissection (image 1). I must try your approach of pressing down hard on the coverslip to flatten it.
2. I kept the collected moss, after a brief wash with water, on damp cotton. Some cotton sieves are visible in image 1 due to the polarizers. Also, sand particles are visible in that image, due to the polarizers.
3. It appears that after some time in water, the mounted moss starts to lose its vivid green pigments. See image 4.
4. On the other hand, I suspect that fructose caused some cell (and leaf) shrinkage and slight folding. Perhaps of its osmotic pressure?

I think that PVA will indeed be better than fructose. Vacuum removed some of the bubbles from the fructose, but PVA has an advantage, that its osmotic pressure is much much smaller than that of fructose.
Attachments
1- Brightfield+POL Plan 6.3x0.16, mounted in fructose.JPG
1- Brightfield+POL Plan 6.3x0.16, mounted in fructose.JPG (266.88 KiB) Viewed 3766 times
2- brightfield 25X0.45, mounted in water.JPG
2- brightfield 25X0.45, mounted in water.JPG (330.77 KiB) Viewed 3766 times
3- Brightfield+POL Neofluar 10X0.30, mounted in water.JPG
3- Brightfield+POL Neofluar 10X0.30, mounted in water.JPG (295.4 KiB) Viewed 3766 times
4- Brightfield Plan 6.3x0.16, mounted in water, after 2h.JPG
4- Brightfield Plan 6.3x0.16, mounted in water, after 2h.JPG (322.71 KiB) Viewed 3766 times
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Re: Moss Dissection

#15 Post by mrsonchus » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:03 pm

apochronaut wrote:Very methodical and patient work, John. A pleasure to follow your careful steps.
Thanks Apo', great to know others enjoy the adventure! :D
John B

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Re: Moss Dissection

#16 Post by mrsonchus » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:27 pm

Hobbyst46 wrote: With your permission, I post images of the moss I collected. "Stems" are 1-2mm long, perhaps they will further grow if the weather remains damp. I separated the leaves with syringe needles for scalpels and a 2X maginifier_desk_lamp since I do not have a stereo microscope. The results are quite torn apart. Yet the chloroplasts are visible, as well as the thick "longitudinal vein" that bisects the leaf. And weird elongated ellipsoidal rods that grow at the base of the leaf (image 4) - I have no idea what they are.

Notes:

1. It was difficult to flat-mount the stem before dissection (image 1). I must try your approach of pressing down hard on the coverslip to flatten it.
2. I kept the collected moss, after a brief wash with water, on damp cotton. Some cotton sieves are visible in image 1 due to the polarizers. Also, sand particles are visible in that image, due to the polarizers.
3. It appears that after some time in water, the mounted moss starts to lose its vivid green pigments. See image 4.
4. On the other hand, I suspect that fructose caused some cell (and leaf) shrinkage and slight folding. Perhaps of its osmotic pressure?

I think that PVA will indeed be better than fructose. Vacuum removed some of the bubbles from the fructose, but PVA has an advantage, that its osmotic pressure is much much smaller than that of fructose.
Very interesting images, thanks for adding them. I've only just started myself to take a very close look at mosses and to make serious attempts to identify them. Your images are really interesting as upon first look I've no idea what Genus or species it is...

As for keeping it flat, especially while dissecting, don't bother to try this as it's not necessary at all. For the gross dissection stages, including leaf-stripping etc just 'have at it' with scalpel and tweezers/forceps etc - try to ensure that complete leaves are removed including their base as this area is very taxonomically valuable - sometimes for leaves that wrap around the ste mat their base the section of stem is best removed with them.

I only consider placing onto a slide with coverslip for the very tiniest pieces, including whole single leaves, which is why for example the archegonia in my mount 'behaved themselves' and flattened nicely. If you try to flatten with coverslip larger pieces you'll very likely end-up with a broken coverslip. I agree with your comment re the fructose, a plain-old water mount is very often the most useful unless you intend to make a semi-permanent or longer-lasting mount.

Your images show some interesting features that are useful for identification. When you say the "stems" are 1-2mm long do you mean the stems upon which the leaves are borne?
Have you any images of the moss just in water or simply moist?

I'd say you're off to a good start, perhaps using water-mounts would be your best way to begin your dissections, the fructose I think may be making your job more difficult. If you feel like posting some more details I love to see them!

I'm really pleased you find theses tiny plants interesting - mosses have a way of catching my attention almost everywhere!

Thanks for the interest, John. :)

p.s. Those "elongated ellipsoidal rods" are interesting, they look a lot like antheridia but they may also be propagules or 'gemmae'....

A few more images would be interesting if you have the chance. By the way, you've made a great job with just a 2.5x magnifier my friend - imagine what you could do with a basic stereo 'scope...... :D
John B

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Re: Moss Dissection

#17 Post by charlie g » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:16 pm

Beautiful benchwork ( as you share with us often) John B., quite a treat to enjoy your current macro to microscopic appraisal of a moss from your home, thank you.

With their often straight forward alternating lifecycles, mosses offer a great challenge to image capture their free swimming male gametes..these' swimmers' have a rather distinctive look.I encountered these once..you guessed it..I didn't take an image capture ( I was tunnel visioned questing for a moss piglet).

May I suggest you consider a simple canning jar terrarium somewhere at your bench? Tweezer plucked small moss plants offer ento moss plant to view under a coverslip for the gametophyte plants anatomy...the males and female gametophyte moss plants.

I am fascinated by your shared microscopy John B. thanks! I snapped a pic of my bench to share a possible continuous moss/algae/meiofauna setup canning jar. I do give my indoor cutures a light cycle. thanks, Mr.Sonchus. Charlie Guevara, finger lakes/US with snow on the ground and a second day of fire in our woodstove.
Attachments
DSCN4372 (1).JPG
DSCN4372 (1).JPG (35.72 KiB) Viewed 3712 times

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Re: Moss Dissection

#18 Post by Hobbyst46 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:34 pm

charlie g wrote:Beautiful benchwork ( as you share with us often) John B., quite a treat to enjoy your current macro to microscopic appraisal of a moss from your home, thank you.

With their often straight forward alternating lifecycles, mosses offer a great challenge to image capture their free swimming male gametes..these' swimmers' have a rather distinctive look.I encountered these once..you guessed it..I didn't take an image capture ( I was tunnel visioned questing for a moss piglet).

May I suggest you consider a simple canning jar terrarium somewhere at your bench? Tweezer plucked small moss plants offer ento moss plant to view under a coverslip for the gametophyte plants anatomy...the males and female gametophyte moss plants.

I am fascinated by your shared microscopy John B. thanks! I snapped a pic of my bench to share a possible continuous moss/algae/meiofauna setup canning jar. I do give my indoor cutures a light cycle. thanks, Mr.Sonchus. Charlie Guevara, finger lakes/US with snow on the ground and a second day of fire in our woodstove.
Hi charlie g, do you actually grow moss in a petri dish? would you disclose how to do it? thanks in advance.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#19 Post by mrsonchus » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:17 pm

Thanks Mr-G - please you like the series. I agree, your moss looks interesting......

John B
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Re: Moss Dissection

#20 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:56 am

mrsonchus wrote:A few more images would be interesting if you have the chance. By the way, you've made a great job with just a 2.5x magnifier my friend - imagine what you could do with a basic stereo 'scope...... :D
Here are images of the moss as it grows in a garden. I collected it and plan to cultivate it for some time, at least unto the spore stage. In a loosely-covered Petri dish. Initially moistened with water, and after 2 days with dilute orchid mineral fertilizer (to accelerate growth ;)), and placed under strong home LED illumination for the first days.

And - inspired by your suggestion, mrsonchus, I will soon have an AO 570 stereoscope for this project. Must somehow find and add a stage glass cover and a pair of decent 10X W.F. eyepieces though, because those are missing from the scope. And some cheap illuminator.
Attachments
moss patches on the ground.jpg
moss patches on the ground.jpg (306.71 KiB) Viewed 3641 times
as collected for cultivation.jpg
as collected for cultivation.jpg (240.26 KiB) Viewed 3641 times
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Re: Moss Dissection

#21 Post by mrsonchus » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:15 pm

HaHa! A great start Hobby' - thanks also for the images.
Here's what you'll need for the glass (frosted-side downwards of course) stage over a cheap light, these are the ones I use - I usually have a couple reserved for dissection (as the surface can get scored over time) and a couple of 'good ones' for just observation without cutting...

Here's an image-snip,
ws_glass stage.jpg
ws_glass stage.jpg (42.17 KiB) Viewed 3633 times
Obviously you need to check the size first, they usually are of a std size like the one in the image.

As for under-stage (that is, under the glass) I now use a flat LED-array as used for under-cabinet kitchen lighting for one example, 12V. There are all sorts of devices with flat panels of LEDs in then that may be used - you need an LED 12V power supply, and inline-dimmer, if the dimmer has no on-off 'click' then an inline on/off switch too - that and the light and you're off & running with the transmitted (i.e. bottom) lighting.....

Here are a few images of mine,
edit1.jpg
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edit2.jpg
edit2.jpg (92.34 KiB) Viewed 3633 times
edit3.jpg
edit3.jpg (112.77 KiB) Viewed 3633 times
All very cheap to buy and work well...
A few more images coming-up.

John B.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#22 Post by mrsonchus » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:23 pm

A few more images,
edit6.jpg
edit6.jpg (89.26 KiB) Viewed 3630 times
edit7..jpg
edit7..jpg (150.32 KiB) Viewed 3630 times
The listing for the light,
ws_light array.jpg
ws_light array.jpg (31.06 KiB) Viewed 3630 times
Here's a link to this light.

Hope this helps - you're off and running now! :D

John B.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#23 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:33 pm

Thanks a lot John B. My scope has an under stage 45 degrees mirror, and a base that, I think, accepts an external illuminator or a horizontal light beam, so I will do it a little differently.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#24 Post by ChrisR » Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:03 pm

Hi John
You probably know the BBS field guide is entirely online http://www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk/
with a Key at the front where you should (eventually) be able to identify your plant.
When I retired I thought, "I know, I'll learn about mosses, they're easy to find." I forgot about the brain being so full that in order to get some knowledge in, something else has to go out, like where I put my car keys.

They can give very nice pictures though, as you've found.
How much PVA is there in the mounting solution? Drying out is something I found a problem.

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Re: Moss Dissection

#25 Post by mrsonchus » Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:24 pm

Hi Chris, the PVA (this must be the clear PV-Alcohol version of the glue not the acetate version. I use it neat for these temporary mounts. These mounts dry to usable in about 5 minutes I find, but will only last about 3 days for a specimen live straight from water.

Here's a link to one of my posts including the use of PVA that may give you an idea.

For the ID I have the Moss Flora by Smith (and the BBS field-guide), but I haven't tried a full ID of this one yet.

I learned of the PVA method (among others) from the late Walter Dioni's superb work, seen in the magazine archive.

Give the PVA a try - well worth a go.

John B.
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Re: Moss Dissection

#26 Post by ChrisR » Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:44 pm

Thanks -I'd never heard of PV Alcohol :o

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Re: Moss Dissection

#27 Post by PNWmossnerd » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:38 am

It is wonderful to see some mosses in the limelight! The excitement in this thread is palpable.

Those archegonia images are beautiful!

I find that for mosses a one to one mixture of PVA and pure glycerine makes a fantastic mounting medium which lasts slightly longer than PVA by itself. There is a journal article published by Richard Zander (a moss expert at the Missouri Botanical Garden) published comparing various semi permanent mounting mediums. I will try to find it, it is very informative.

I also have some general advice for dissecting and identifying mosses which I can post here if anyone is interested.

Finally, if anyone wants a consult on a moss (or liverwort or lichen) ID I would be happy to chime in. I have taught college courses on moss, liverwort, and lichen identification and have a great deal of experience working with these critters.

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Re: Moss Dissection

#28 Post by Crater Eddie » Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:37 pm

What a great series!
CE
Olympus BH-2 / BHTU with Olympus E-P1 MFT camera mounted
LOMO BIOLAM L-2-2
LOMO POLAM L-213 / BIOLAM L-211 hybrid
LOMO Multiscope (Biolam)

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Re: Moss Dissection

#29 Post by MichaelG. » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:17 pm

ChrisR wrote:... the BBS field guide is entirely online http://www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk/
with a Key at the front ...
Am I on the right page, Chris ?
http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/bbs/Activit ... FGspac.htm

This ^^^ is the link from the first paragraph on the Field Guide purchase page
Because of technical difficulties, Alan Hale's BBS Field Guide site has had to be shut down from June 2013, but the species accounts and some of the content can be accessed here.
[Slightly bewildered] MichaelG.
Too many 'projects'

PNWmossnerd
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Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Moss Dissection

#30 Post by PNWmossnerd » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:34 pm

It looks like at least the bbs field key is still available at the above link, which is very useful.

Bryophytes have very broad distributions compared to vascular plants, so I will post some resources which are for North American mosses,.

These links will probably work reasonably well for identifying species (and very well for identifying mosses to genus or family) in Europe. I regularly use these volumes for identifying extant specimens from South America with some success, and use them as resources for describing extinct species of fossil mosses from North America and South America

The moss portion of the Flora of North America is a remarkably complete treatment of mosses complete with beautiful line drawings. Due to their great diversity, the treatment was published in two separate volumes (volume 27 and volume 28).

Volume 27 is here: http://www.efloras.org/volume_page.aspx ... flora_id=1

Volume 28 is here: http://www.efloras.org/volume_page.aspx ... flora_id=1

Volume 27 has a very useful chapter which covers the morphology of mosses (near the bottom of the web page)
Volume 28 includes a key to the genera treated in the flora

Otherwise the volumes are organized by family, with a key to genera at the beginning of each family section. The section for each genus includes a key to species.

The volumes are arranged pseudo-phylogenetically with volume 27 containing only basal acrocarpous families and volume 28 containing derived families of acrocarpous mosses and all pleurocarpous families.

I have also attached the .pdf of the R. Zander article which I mentioned earlier.
Attachments
Zander2014.pdf
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