Diversity and Distributions of Stream Bryophytes: Does pH Matter?

Michael Evan Tessler, Fordham University


Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts) are a vital component of many headwater streams, where they often form the dominant plant communities (Vitt et al. 1986). Few other habitats are dominated by bryophytes. Even mire communities, where bryophytes form most of the ground layer, include many vascular plant species that make up a significant portion of the community biomass (Slack and Glime 1985). In headwater streams, bryophytes are often the most productive autotrophic organisms, accounting for a significant portion of in-stream primary production (Stream Bryophyte Group 1999). Furthermore, aquatic bryophytes can have substantial impacts on ecosystem function, including hydraulic, nutrient, and trophic dynamics (Stream Bryophyte Group 1999), making an understanding of the variables driving their abundance and composition vital to the conservation of these systems (Cattaneo and Fortin 2000).

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Recommended Citation

Tessler, Michael Evan, "Diversity and Distributions of Stream Bryophytes: Does pH Matter?" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13853180.