World Museum Liverpool's herbarium is an important resource used by many researchers and experts over the years. It recently hosted the British Bryological Society's annual meeting and conference. As Head of Science John Edmondson reports, this included the opportunity to see rare books from the collection, test museum samples and even become film stars:
"The meeting started with a tour of World Museum Liverpool's herbarium and library along with an opportunity to view an exhibition of rare and unusual bryological books.
The main Saturday programme began with an experimental workshop session in the World Museum Liverpool’s Community Base, where draft copies of the new British Bryological Society Field Key were available for testing along with unidentified samples from the museum herbarium. A video-microscope was provided, along with conventional binocular dissecting microscopes and a range of floras; experienced bryologists provided informal guidance to beginners.
Here's a photograph of the Bryologists bryologising on Whixall Moss on the last day of the conference. This was part of an excursion to a large raised bog in Shropshire led by Martin Godfrey (the man on the right) with considerable help from the warden of Whixall and Fenn Mosses National Nature Reserve, Joan Daniels (who is standing next to him). The reason for the microphone and camera is that we were preparing a sound recording, with short film clips, as a record of the meeting. In this photo they are being interviewed by Sara Bellis (Shropshire Wildlife Trust) and filmed by Rachel Davies."
Update 9/11/2007: The short video that you can see being recorded above is now available on the British Bryological Society website. So if you want to see Bryologists in action, or find out how why the future of peat bogs potentially affects the whole planet, have a look at the Whixall Moss video.