Bryology

Studies in evolution, ecology and conservation of mosses, liverworts and hornworts at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Dec 022016
 
DNA identification of Long's Long's Marchantia

Many new species are already included in natural history collections around the world, it’s just that nobody has yet got around to examining the material, recognising that it represents something novel, and publishing a name for it. Sometimes these new species are filed under the epithet of a similar named species, sometimes they’re just filed under the genus name […]

Nov 222016
 
Long's Marchantia

Formerly the head of our Cryptogam section, and currently an extremely active RBGE Research Associate, David Long is well known and respected for his botanical work in the Himalayas, and for his bryological research. He has collected a huge number of taxonomically and phylogenetically interesting bryophytes on numerous plant collecting expeditions, collaborating with researchers around […]

Nov 162016
 
Telaranea murphyae: The non-native endemic that wasn't

Murphy’s threadwort (Telaranea murphyae) has had a singular position in the British flora. The species was described by renowned bryologist Jean Paton in 1965, from plants collected in the south of England. It’s a tiny leafy liverwort that is found in only four locations, at Tresco and St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly, Branksome […]

Oct 212016
 
Globally rare Scottish moss rediscovered at type locality after nearly 120 years

Despite its internationally important bryophyte flora Scotland has relatively few truly endemic species (perhaps four), and even some of these have a rather ambiguous taxonomic status due to their uncertain affinities to more widespread taxa. Molecular data can be critical for confirming or rejecting species as distinct and can also sometimes uncover “cryptic” species that […]

Sep 142016
 
A phylogeny of Sphaerocarpos

In conjunction with Dr Daniela Schill’s monographic work on Sphaerocarpos, we’ve been building a molecular phylogeny for the genus. We have attempted to extract DNA from 66 accessions, including three S. cristatus, all from California, seven S. donnellii from the US, five S. drewei from California, two S. hians, 13 S. michelii from France, Great […]

Sep 122016
 
This tiny “animal-swallowing” liverwort is spreading rampantly through our forests (and that’s cool!)

Colura calyptrifolia (or to give it its appropriately creepy-sounding common name, the Fingered Cowlwort), is one of our most fascinating UK liverworts. Absolutely tiny (the leaves are about a millimetre long and whole plants often only 2-3 mm), it is heavily modified from the basic leafy-liverwort body plan, the leaves formed into inflated sacs like […]

Sep 092016
 
Sphaerocarpos, preview to a monograph

The Sphaerocarpales (or “Bottle Liverworts”) form a very distinct group in the complex thalloid liverworts, with ca. 30 species in five genera: originally the group just included Geothallus (monospecific), Sphaerocarpos (8-9 species) and Riella (ca. 20 species), with two more monospecific genera, Austroriella and Monocarpus, added within the last few years. All five genera have very unusual, […]

Sep 082016
 
A rapid phylogeny of Marchantia, from the RBGE collections. II. Illuminating our sampling

One of the main problems with sampling largely from herbarium specimens, rather than from material that has been specifically collected for DNA work (rapidly dried in silica gel then maintained at low humidity), is that the quality of the DNA is unpredictable and usually rather poor. Therefore, despite starting out with 169 accessions and about […]

Sep 062016
 
Student projects at RBGE: DNA barcoding of the leafy liverwort genus Herbertus Gray in Europe and a review of the taxonomic status of Herbertus borealis Crundw.

University of Edinburgh/RBGE student David Bell, studying for the Masters degree in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants; thesis submitted August 2009. Supervisors: Dr David Long and Dr Michelle Hart.   David used plastid DNA barcode markers rbcL (from 34 accessions) and psbA-trnH (from 36 accessions) to look at the four species of Herbertus in […]