News from IAB

The mission of the International Association of Bryologists (IAB), as a society, is to strengthen bryology by encouraging interactions among all persons interested in byophytes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

BRYONET: local endemism

Couldn't some local endemics simply be mutants that have survived
locally and may die off before successfully dispersing elsewhere?
Surely through time there have been millions of such one-gene mutants or
products of cross-overs or sticky pieces that, through vegetative
reproduction, have produced a living population. With their higher
ability to spread vegetatively, I would expect that we might find more
of these anomalies in bryophytes. Morphological changes would be less
likely to be lethal in simpler organisms and thus individuals (or just
one to start) could survive, reproduce by fragments, and develop local
populations in small areas.
Another factor to account for local population differences is
environment. A bryophyte can look quite different when grown in
different circumstances.
At the other end of the spectrum, I suspect bryophytes harbor a large
number of populations that differ physiologically around the world, but
that have retained the characters we attribute to the species.
Questions such as these will slowly be answered as we apply genetic
techniques in plant identification, but the deviants/rare species will
be the last to be sacrificed for such testing (hopefully!).
Dr. Janice Glime, Professor Emerita
Past-President of IAB; Manager of Bryonet
(Michigan Technological University)
219 Hubbell St.
Houghton, MI 49931 USA
home: 906-482-1610
fax: 906-487-3167

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