Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts, traditionally, combined called bryophytes, are considered among the earliest land plants. Currently each group is classified as a phylum (division): Bryophyta (mosses), Marchantiophyta (liverworts), and Anthocerotophyta (hornworts). Phylogenetic studies support the monophyly of each group and there is a general consensus that the branching order is: liverworts, mosses, and then hornworts. The three phyla have some similarities; that is, type of life cycle, and they provide the same ecological services as water and soil retention, and habitat for other organisms. All of these phyla have a dominant and perennial gametophyte, and an unbranched monosporangiate sporophyte.

Dominican Republic: Sabana del Silencio, Summer 2008

In the West Indies the most studied bryophyte flora are those of: Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. For the Dominican Republic, Sastre et al. (2010) reported 467 moss taxa in 207 genera and 61 families. In contrast Schäfer-Verwimp and Pócs (2009) described a less rich flora of hepatic and hornwort with 246 species. In the Dominican Republic, both, hepatics and mosses, have disjunct species from Central and South America that are not known for any other of the Greater Antilles. This group of unique disjunct species is mostly from above 2000 meters; thus the number of disjuncts species increase with elevation in the Dominican Republic.

Inés Sastre-De Jesús at the MAPR Herbarium

Puerto Rico has the smallest bryophyte flora of the Greater Antilles. Sastre and Buck (1993) reported 284 moss species in 121 genera and for hepatics and hornworts Gradstein (1989) reported 237 species in 92 genera. In Puerto Rico, the Caribbean National Forest stands out with the highest richness of mosses and liverworts.

The MAPR bryophyte collection started in 1993 and is maintained by Inés Sastre-De Jesús. Although the bulk of this collection is specimens from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic it also contains specimens from most Latin American countries, especially South America. The collection also has Fasciles 1-8 of Bryophyta Neotropica Exsiccata edited by S. R. Gradstein.

With the support of NSF DEB- 0640052, the collection doubled from 2007 to 2008. All these new specimens are from two cloud forest areas in the Dominican Republic: Sierra de Neiba and Sierra de Bahoruco.

Literature cited:

Gradstein, S.R. 1989. A key to the Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. The Bryologist 92: 329-348.

Schäfer-Verwimp, A. and T. Pócs. 2009. Contributions to the hepatic flora of the Dominican Republic, West Indies. Acta Bot. Hung. 51(3-4): 367-425.

Sastre - D. J., I., and W. R. Buck. 1993. Annotated checklist of mosses of Puerto Rico. Caribb. J. Sci. 29: 226-234.

Sastre-De Jesús., I., M. Pérez Pérez, and A. Motito Marin. 2010. Mosses of the Dominican Republic: species catalogue, elevation distribution and floristic affinities. Harvard Papers in Botany 15(2): 415-446.

Welcome to the Bryophyte Collection of the MAPR Herbarium at Department of Biology, RUM-UPR

Please note that these data may only be used for scientific purposes. They may not be sold or used for commercial purposes. For further information, please contact the curator.

Contact us at: (787) 832-4040, Ext. 3277

(787) 832-4040, Ext. 3646

Mailing Address:

Herbario MAPR, Departamento de Biología, Call Box 9000, Universidad de Puerto Rico - Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez; Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00681

Useful links:
  • Biology Department-RUM
  • Tropical Bryology Laboratory at RUM_UPR
  • Bryodome at RUM_UPR
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