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Protocol 13 - Bryophytes

Dr. Anna Luiza Ilkiu Borges (MPEG) - E-mail:
Protocol researchers:
West Pará - MSc. Chieno Suemtsu (UFOPA)
Maranhão - Dr. Maria Marlúcia Ferreira Correia (UFMA)

Groups of interest and estimated species diversity per grid: Lejeuneaceae, Lepidoziaceae, Calymperaceae, Sematophyllaceae, Plagiochilaceae, Leucobryaceae and Fissidentaceae families. Diversity per grid: 70 species.

Biological role of the group: Nonvascular plants, called bryophytes or mosses, liverworts and hornworts, scientifically known as Bryophyta, Marchantiophyta and Anthocerotophyta, play an important role in the maintenance of other vegetable groups and animal groups. In certain habitats, moss layers assimilate and store much more carbon than the stems of trees, as well as releasing much more oxygen into the atmosphere, controlling soil erosion, air humidity, flooding, and acting as an excellent environmental indicator for soil quality in forests, pH conditions, altitudes, for outlining the presence of calcium, mineral deposits such as copper, zinc, iron and lead and sources of sulfur, in addition to determining air and water pollution. The production of biologically active substances is also very important, such as, for example, antimicrobial substances (antibiotics), plant growth regulators, predator attack constrainers, allergenic substances and anti-tumor and cytotoxic substances. Additionally, there are many types of animals, most of these being invertebrates, such as centipedes, termites, ants, etc., that use bryophytes for shelter and/or food. A number of birds also use bryophytes for building their nests.

Collection technique: By means of a knife or penknife, removing the plant substance connected to the substrate or simply pulling a large quantity off, if possible, by hand. Should only a small amount of material be available, collect it anyway; storing it in paper bags and noting down the following information on the bag itself or in the collection notebook: the collection area, including geographic coordinates; the collector and collection number; the collection date; the substrate (i.e. the location where the material grows) in the soil (humus, sand, terra preta, rocks, etc.), on the trunks of live trees (noting the species and the height reached by the bryophytes, where possible), the trunks of decomposing trees, living leaves and/or dry, dead leaves found on the floor; the type of soil and vegetation found within the area; whether the specimen grows in the shade or is exposed to sunlight; in addition to any sightings of small animals that live on the material, such as insects, for example.

Sampling unit: Areas of 250 m x 2 m within each plot.

Sampling design: For bryophytes, the sampled width will be a total of 2m, this being a sampled area of 0.05 ha (250 m x 2 m) per plot. The plot will be the same plot used for the collection of weeds (herbs), established along the left or right-hand side of the trail’s central line, but beyond the 1 m buffer area, done so in order to facilitate researcher movement (Figure 1). So that this plot can remain permanent, it is important that researchers do not trample through the area in order to measure trees or other types of specimens. It is therefore best to mark out this area on both sides. The demarcation line must extended out at +/- 30 cm from the ground, connecting the guide stakes that follow the demarcations set out at 10 m from the central line. These stakes, being set out every 10 m, mark out the sub-plots.

Additional and important environmental information for this group: Light, temperature, humidity, type of soil, type of vegetation, substrate (the locations in which the bryophytes grow, such as on the bark of living trees, leaves, decomposing materials, dead trunks, bare earth, forest floor debris, stones, termite nests etc.) and, in the event that the substrate is a living tree, the species and height to which the specimen grows.

Method of preserving the collected material: Leave collected samples within the collection bags, taking care not to press or crush them, drying the material in low temperature ovens (40° - 60º C), or, where possible, naturally in the sun. After drying has finished, place the samples into plastic bags or boxes for subsequent preparation of slides and future examination at the laboratory. After identifying and separating any duplicates, proceed with the mounting, recording and sample incorporation process. The collected samples will be deposited in INPA, MPEG and other trustworthy Amazon depository collections.

Restrictions on activities that could harm protocol development: Trampling, felling of trees, cleaning of the work area. Researchers from other groups must be advised not to walk within the herb collection area.

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