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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2006

  • Title: The Flora of Harvard Forest: Bryophytes
  • Author: ()
  • Abstract:

    This year we began the bryophyte inventory, an extension of the Harvard Forest Flora project to include mosses, liverworts and hornworts. These nonvascular plants are comprised of many unique communities that respond directly to different habitats and ecological conditions. Historically the moss flora of Massachusetts has not been thoroughly studied, and this holds true for the Harvard Forest. Aside from small fractions of other projects, the bryophytes of Harvard Forest have never been fully surveyed. In this initial inventory effort, we completed six transects in five Harvard Forest compartments, and collected extensively off transects, completing species lists in three other areas. we collected in a variety of habitats: streams, stream banks, swamps, the Swift River, and rocky ledges. we surveyed fifty 1x2m quadrats per 100m transect. Bryophytes were identified by on-site and laboratory analysis. Out of the nine areas most thoroughly surveyed, 56 percent of the species recorded were only found in one area. Out of all the quadrats surveyed, 38 percent of the species recorded were only found in 10 or fewer quadrats. This in no way implies that these species are necessarily rare, but suggests the thoroughness required to fully assess the bryophyte biodiversity of the forest. To date the forest is credited with 138 species: 105 mosses, 32 liverworts, 1 hornwort. 49 of these species were found in only one of the nine areas surveyed. Massachusetts’ bryoflora stands at 356 species and 16 varieties. The completion of this study will require the same kind of detailed transect work, especially in habitats not yet explored.

  • Research Category: Regional Studies