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Case Studies

What's been happening since 2000?

To attempt a reasonable account of all the work on Australian bryophytes from the 1950s onward would be a daunting, space-demanding task. So, let's look at just a short period of time.

This case study will give you some idea of the variety of recent work undertaken by Australian and overseas researchers in relation to Australian bryophytes. The case study does so by listing a selection of publications that are relevant to Australian bryology. This is merely a sample and not a complete list of publications. Moreover, a statistician would call this a very biased sample. My aim was to give you some examples and for that purpose a fairly short list would suffice. In order to simplify the selection process here are the rules I used:

  • The publications must have been published during or after the year 2000.
  • No author was allowed to appear more than once in the list.
  • The publication titles had to be as diverse as possible.
  • There should be no more than 20 titles in the list.

Some of the biases in such a selection process are highly obvious. You can get no idea of the numbers of people engaged in any particular area of research. People who either died or became inactive before 2000 don't feature, regardless of how great a contribution they made before then. With the limitation of one publication per author you can get no idea of any particular person's range of interests.

The third of my rules has meant that I haven't necessarily chosen a particular author's most significant work. If there were several to choose from I'd generally go for the one with the title that differed most from the others on the putative list.

There are also brief comments about those authors. I am familiar with some of them, for others I have copied information from various institutional websites. These comments simply tell you where the people are based and give brief descriptions of their areas of interest – insofar as they relate to Australian bryophytes. Their activities on solely non-Australian aspects are ignored.

So, the list is a very biased snapshot from just a few years but...

It shows work on a range of topics by a variety of authors from a number of Australian and overseas institutions who have brought a range of skills or interests to the study of Australian bryophytes. The past few decades has seen a similar types of research, though not necessarily on exactly the same subjects, by Australian and overseas researchers.

Here is the list

Brown, EA & Pócs, T. (2001). A new species of Radula sect. Cavifolium (Radulaceae: Hepaticae) from Queensland, Australia. Telopea, 9, 435-438.

Elizabeth Brown is a liverwort specialist, originally from New Zealand and now at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. She works on the taxonomy of several liverwort genera. Tamas Pócs, of Hungary, has a good knowledge of the world's tropical leafy liverworts.

Cargill, DC; Renzaglia, KS; Villarreal, JC & Duff, RJ. (2005). Generic concepts within hornworts: historical review, contemporary insights and future directions. Australian Systematic Botany, 18, 7-16.

Christine Cargill is curator of cryptogams at the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra. She works on the systematics of the hornworts and the thallose liverwort genus Fossombronia. In her work she employs classical microscope techniques, molecular analyses and growth studies. The three co-authors are based in the USA.

Downing, AJ & Oldfield, R. (2000). Rainforest bryophytes in karst landforms of south-eastern South Australia. Hikobia, 13, 225-233.

Alison Downing, now retired from Macquarie University, is particularly well-known for her studies of Australian bryophytes growing on calcareous substrates. Ron Oldfield, a colleague of Alison's at Macquarie University, is well-known for his superb photographs of bryophytes – both micro-photographs as well as those taken with standard camera lenses.

Eldridge, DJ; Semple, WS & Koen, TB. (2000). Dynamics of cryptogam soil crusts in a derived grassland in south-eastern Australia. Austral Ecology, 25, 232-240.

The authors work in the Department of Land and Water Conservation of New South Wales. David Eldridge and his numerous collaborators have carried out many detailed investigations into the roles of cryptogamic soil crusts in semi-arid areas.

Engel, JJ & Smith Merrill, GL. (2004), Austral Hepaticae. 35. A taxonomic and phylogenetic study of Telaranea (Lepidoziaceae), with a monograph of the genus in temperate Australasia and commentary on Extra-Australasian taxa, Fieldiana, Bot., n.s. 44, 1–265.

 The authors are based at the Field Museum in Chicago. John Engel has spent many years studying the taxonomy and evolutionary history of Gondwanan liverworts and he has carried out field work in Tasmania.

Fife , AJ & Dalton, PJ. (2005). A reconsideration of Pleurophascum (Musci: Pleurophascaceae) and specific status for a New Zealand endemic, Pleurophascum ovalifolium stat. et nom. nov. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 43, 871-884.

Patrick (Paddy) Dalton, University of Tasmania, investigates the taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of Tasmanian mosses. Alan Fife is a New Zealand bryologist.

Franks, AJ. (2000). Biogeographical distribution of corticolous bryophytes in microphyll fern forests of south-east Queensland. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 109, 49-57.

The paper is based on work carried out when the author was an Honours student at the University of Queensland.

Greven, H. (2000). Synopsis of Grimmia Hedw. in Australia. Journal of Bryology, 22, 217-222.

The Dutch bryologist Henk Greven is a world authority on the moss genus Grimmia.

Hedenäs, L. (2002). An overview of the family Brachytheciaceae (Bryophyta) in Australia. Journal of the Hattori Laboratory, 92, 51-90.

Lars Hedenäs is a Swedish bryologist who works on the systematics of various groups of trailing mosses.

Klazenga, N. (2005). Generic concepts in Australian mosses. Australian Systematic Botany , 18, 17-23.

Niels Klazenga is a moss taxonomist from The Netherlands and has been working at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne for several years. He is undertaking taxonomic work on the Australian members of various moss genera and did much of the work to produce the most recent edition of the catalogue of Australian mosses.

Konrat, M von & Braggins, JE. (2001). Notes on five Frullania species from Australia, including typifications, synonyms and new localities. Journal of the Hattori Laboratory, 91, 229-263.

Matt von Konrat, originally from New Zealand, is now at the Field Museum in Chicago and John Braggins is retired from Auckland University. Both are liverwort specialists.

Kremer, CL; Pettolino, F; Bacic, A & Drinnan, AN. (2004). Distribution of cell wall components in Sphagnum hyaline cells and in liverwort and hornwort elaters. Planta, 219, 1023-1035.

The research was carried out at the University of Melbourne. The researchers were not bryologists, but people with a range of interests in plant anatomy or physiology and they applied their skills in those areas to the investigation of several bryophyte species.

Meagher, DA. (2005). Bazzania sauropoda D. Meagher (Marchantiophyta: Lepidoziaceae), a new species from tropical Queensland. Austrobaileya, 7, 129-133.

David Meagher is a science editor who is studying bryophytes at the University of Melbourne.

Milne, J. (2001). Reproductive biology of three Australian species of Dicranoloma (Bryopsida, Dicranaceae): Sexual reproduction and phenology. The Bryologist, 104, 440-452.

Josephine (Pina) Milne is a moss specialist working at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.

Morgan, JW. (2006). Bryophyte mats inhibit germination of non-native species in burnt temperate native grassland remnants. Biological Invasions. 8, 159-168.

John Morgan is a plant ecologist, at La Trobe University, with a particular interest in the effects of human-induced change.

Pharo, EJ & Blanks, PAM. (2000). Managing a neglected component of biodiversity: a study of bryophyte diversity in production forests of Tasmania's northeast. Australian Forestry, 63, 128-138.

Emma Pharo and her students at the University of Tasmania (such as Pep Blanks) have studied various aspects of bryophyte ecology.

Ramsay, HP & Cairns, A. (2004). Habitat, distribution and the phytogeographical affinities of mosses in the Wet Tropics bioregion, north-east Queensland, Australia. Cunninghamiana, 8, 371-408.

Helen Ramsay, still active but long-retired from the University of Sydney, has contributed much to the knowledge of the cytology of Australian mosses and has also published on the taxonomy of various families of mosses. Andi Cairns, of James Cook University in Townsville, studies the mosses of the Queensland tropics.

Seppelt, RD. (2004). The Moss Flora of Macquarie Island. Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania.

Rod Seppelt, who spent many years with the Australian Antarctic Division, is one of several Australians who have contributed much to the knowledge of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic bryophytes. Politically, Macquarie Island is part of Tasmania – so I can sneak this entry into a list of publications on Australian bryophytes! Rod Seppelt has also published on the taxonomy of temperate Australian bryophytes.

So, ML. (2002). Metzgeria (Hepaticae) in Australasia and the Pacific. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 40, 603-627.

The author is a liverwort specialist at the Hong Kong Baptist University. She has published papers on the taxonomy of the Asian, Australasian and Pacific members of various liverwort genera.

Streimann, H. (2002). Taxonomic studies on Australian Hookeriaceae (Musci). 4. Summary and bryogeographic notes. Journal of the Hattori Laboratory, 90, 211-220.

The late Heinar Streimann was a curator at the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra.