This beginner bryophytes course is a great place to start for those taking their first steps into the world of mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.

During this course, you will gain a better understanding of this diverse group, all under the guidance of an engaging and knowledgeable expert in the field.  You will learn about their biology and ecology, with the chance to see different types of mosses and liverworts, collect specimens and learn basic field identification tips. With over half of all European moss, liverwort, and hornwort species present in the UK, there is so much to explore!

What will be covered during this course?

  • An introduction to bryophyte biology
  • An introduction to bryophyte ecology
  • An overview of the species diversity within the UK
  • Please note that this course is not a species identification course

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During this course, you will gain a better understanding of this diverse group, all under the guidance of an engaging and knowledgeable expert in the field. You will learn about their biology and ecology and have ample time to explore your surrounding environment to find some specimens, learning valuable observational field identification tips. Bryophytes are a comparatively neglected group but they have much to offer, being at their best in winter and are sensitive to soil and habitat conditions.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe which groups of organisms are classified as bryophytes and what makes them different from all other plants
  • Understand the basics of bryophyte lifecycles and reproductive strategies and structures
  • Describe bryophyte habitats and their environmental conditions
  • Recognise groups of common bryophytes in their natural environments
  • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers.

Who Should Attend? – Nature enthusiasts, students, rangers, early career consultants and ecologists.

Knowledge Level – Beginner. Level descriptors can be found on the following web-page: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge – No existing knowledge or experience is needed for this course, just a willingness to explore and learn.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no accommodation or meal facilities provided with this course. Refreshments (tea and coffee) will be provided. If we are unable to reach viable numbers for this course, we will inform you of the course cancellation 4-5 weeks prior to the course run. We would recommend when purchasing accommodation and/or travel you should take out your own insurance.

Bookings will close if course capacity is reached.

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

About the Tutor

Pete Howarth

Pete is the London Natural History Society bryophyte recorder, has studied bryophytes for over 10 years and has been an elected member of the Council of the British Bryological Society.

Petra Vergunst

Petra Vergunst is a field ecologist specialised in lichens and bryophytes. To engage people with these species groups and help with identification, she runs the website ‘Scottish Lichens’ and facilitates the similarly-named Facebook group. Petra is passionate about biological recording as a means to monitor the quality of the environment and has done extensive surveys of woodland and forest, the heritage landscape and coastline of NE Scotland. An ecologist by training, she is interested in how land management, nutrient-enrichment and other forms of disturbance influence the presence (and absence), lifecycle and ecology of lichens and bryophytes.

Calum Urquhart

Calum Urquhart is a field ecologist and wildlife guide with a lifelong interest in natural history spanning plants, bryophytes, birds, mammals, and many invertebrate groups; he delights in sharing these passions with others. He is also particularly interested in the wildlife and ecological restoration of upland and mountainous areas.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression
  • Refreshments (tea and coffee)

Bursaries and Subsidies

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Natural History Bursaries

There are a number of natural history bursaries available to help with the cost of your course. To find out if you and your chosen course are eligible, read more here.

Before You Attend

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Camera or phone to capture images
  • Refreshments & pack lunch
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Hand lens (if you have one)

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

When you book, you will receive a discount code for the Field Studies Council guides that may be a useful resource for learning.

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Sat 05, October 2024 10:00 - 17:00

    The centre is unable to offer accommodation with this course, please book local accommodation if you require overnight stays and ensure you take out the appropriate insurance.  

    East of England
    Pete Howarth
  • Sat 05, October 2024 10:00 - 17:00

    Refreshments and food are not provided on this course, please ensure you bring all drinks and food for the course with you, as there are no ad-hoc purchase facilities at the venue. Further information on Glenmore Lodge can be found here. Accommodation is available at Glenmore Lodge, please contact Glenmore Lodge directly for further information. If you require overnight stays, please ensure you take out the appropriate insurance.

    Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, Scotland, PH22 1QZ
    Calum Urquhart
  • Sat 26, October 2024 10:00 - 17:00

    The centre is unable to offer accommodation with this course, please book local accommodation if you require overnight stays and ensure you take out the appropriate insurance.  

    Pete Howarth

No current dates for this course? Click here to view all the upcoming Natural History courses.

Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, including online course materials, expert tuition and a flexible learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in-person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions or email [email protected].

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Click here to find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.