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Thread: Bryologists in Singapore

  1. #1
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    Bryologists in Singapore

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    Hi, folks,

    I helped to arrange a visit by a group of bryologists to Bioplast fish shop this afternoon. These bryologists come from countries like Russia, Japan, China, Sweden, Germany, Malaysia, Czech republic etc. There were about 15 of them and they came to Singapore for a workshop organised by Professor Benito Tan. The purpose of the workshop was to draw up a list of the endangered bryophytes in Asia.

    The professor thought it would be a good idea for these bryologists to take a look at the aquarium mosses that were available for sale in Bioplast. The event turned out to be a very interesting one for them. They asked lots of questions and were fascinated by the beauty of the mosses in the hobby. Here's a group picture I took towards the end of the visit:



    You may like to know that the guy in the middle of the front row with the camera around his neck is Professor Zen Iwatsuki of Japan. He is the bryologist who first announced in 1982 that Java Moss isn't Vesicularia dubyana but is actually Taxiphyllum barbieri instead. The guy standing on his left is Mr Tan, the owner of Bioplast fish shop. You may also find it interesting that Professor Benito Tan (the guy with glasses and wearing a chequered shirt, standing on the right of Professor Iwatsuki) was once his pupil. I also found out later that the genus Taxiphyllum is one of Prof Iwatsuki's specialty. I asked and he has kindly agreed to help us identify the few species of Taxiphyllum's circulating in the hobby. I will be sending him samples of Flame Moss, Spiky Moss and Mini-Java soon. Let's hope he can give us some species names.

    Not all bryologists are old men, you know. The good-looking lady holding the yellow plastic bag is Ms Monica from Malaysia. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to find out more about her. Chishio Hidaka, the other good-looking female bryologist is also somewhere in the picture but she can hardly be seen. She's the one standing in the back row, fourth from the right. The 2 guys on the extreme right of the picture were the taxi-drivers cum moss-hobbyists who ferried the bryologists from the Singapore Botanic Gardens to Bioplast fish shop and back. Isn't it great that the hobby has attracted people from all walks of life?

    Here's another picture of the event:



    Loh K L

  2. #2
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    Great news! The hobby helping the science and vice versa.

    My botany profs once told me that all girl students he had studying bryology were good lookers. I thought this a bit strange but your photo seems to confirm the theory!

    It would be interesting if your Malasian contacts supplied you/Bioplast with potential aquarium mosses such as those Plagiomnium species the profs once mentioned.

    Prof Zen Iwatsuki's identifications would also be greatly welcome.

    Well done

  3. #3
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    Stephan,

    Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough time to get to know everyone or else I would have asked the bryologists to send some mosses to me.

    The bryologists from Russia and the Czech Republic, on seeing the Riccia fluitans in Bioplast's tanks said that in their countries, Riccia rhenana is far more common. They also said R. rhenana has a far more intricate branching pattern. In other words, it's more beautiful. I've only heard of the plant in name but has never actually seen one before.

    Another bryologist, I think he was from China, was able to give the full scientific name for the Mini-Pellia, the moment the liverwort was presented to him. He said it's Riccardia graeffei.

    I've already written to Professor Zen Iwatsuki for an address to send the Taxiphyllum's to. It's been a week but there is still no reply.

    Loh K L

  4. #4
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    That is quite the group of moss experts there.

    I wonder if there are many more out there hiding some where.


    -Andrew

  5. #5
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    Re: Bryologists in Singapore

    Try out you can find some in Fredericksburg

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