Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bryophytes in Second and Old Growth Forests

I'm interested in bryophyte communities...which bryos like to hang out together...not only, say on a log, but in an ecological community as a rich fen, or in  an oak-hickory woods for example. The following two illustrations show a generalized 'map' of the commonly found bryophytes in a second growth woods and an old growth woods.

Common Bryophytes of Second Growth Hardwood Forests

Common Bryophytes of Old Growth/Rich Woods
One of the things you'll notice is that the diversity is greater in the old growth compared to second growth woods. Also, due to high amounts of leaf litter, there are virtually no bryophytes on the ground.  Of course there are many more species found than illustrated here, but these are the species you are likely to run into in  these areas.

In my next post, i'll show some maps from specific places.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

damn you

Atrichum crispum.......fooling me again into thinking you're some type of Mnium!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Atrichum crispulum, Atrichum altecristatum

Atrichum undulatum is what i had always called this plant. This is what is was in Crum's Mosses of Eastern North America. He had split it into several varieties: var altecristatum, var undulatum, var attenuatum, and var oerstedianum. i never bothered with these and just called the plant Atrichum undulatum. When i got my new copy of Flora of North America, i looked further into this species. It said: "No Atrichum species occurring in North America has been as widely misunderstood as A. undulatum....Its occurrence in North America has not been demonstrated. As used by American authors, it probably refers to A. altecristatum."  Atrichum crispulum had also been recently called Atrichum oerstedianum, but comparisons to the type specimen indicate that the two are separate with A. oerstedianum being found in Mexico and Central America.
So, ok, we don't have A. undulatum, what we DO have is A. crispulum and A. altecristatum from that complex. In working on my wooded wetlands project, i've come across several specimens and this is how to tell the two species apart...since i didn't have the exact substrate for the specimen (Apparently A. altecristatum prefers soil banks, along roads & trails, on hummocks - more like A. angustatum and A. crispulum prefers soil in mostly shaded habitats, often wet banks along streams or at the margins of fens or swamps), i had to make leaf cross sections to look at the height of the lamellae (which are the long ridges that are lined up along the costa). Almost all the specimens i looked at were A has 4-6 lamellae that are very short, usually they were 3 cells high. In A. altecristatum, the lamellae are 4-6 cells high. If you're lucky enough to collect a fruiting plant, A. crispulum has a capsule that is curved and inclined (see the photos and drawings below), whereas A. altecristatum capsule is usually more straight and erect.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Trying to get back!

there is a reason i've been missing these last few months......

i have literally thousands of specimens to identify...this is one box of four, with each bunch having from 15-25 packets! This project concerns wooded wetlands, so there's a lot of repetition in the samples....
Lots of Thuidium delicatulum, Aulacomnium palustre, Hypnum imponens, Dicranum flagellare, Dicranum scoparium,Tetraphis pellucida, Leucobryum glaucum, Pallavicinia lyellii, Bazzania trilobata, Climacium, Atrichums, Rhizommium appalachianum, Calliergon cordifolium, Polytrichums and of course Sphagnums....over and over and over...lots and lots of Sphagnum palustre, S. fimbriatum, S. capillifolium, S. magellanicum, S. girgensohnii, S. subsecundum, S. fallax & flexuosum....a few times i've gotten the super nice S. wulfianum.
So, between work and identifying all these and trying to get a run or bike ride in has left little time for my book and blog! Luckily the specimens are good and not too scrappy. Plus it gets me thinking about the community of wooded wetland bryophytes. In my next post i'll talk some about the Atrichum undulatum complex.