Bryophytes are small organisms that occupy common habitats such as banks, rock outcroppings, tree trunks, and forest floors—where they often form large carpets or cushions composed of many individuals. Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts are small, in part, because they never evolved the vascular system that has allowed for uprightness and larger size in groups such as ferns, gymnosperms, and flowering plants. Instead, they live mostly in moist places and absorb water and nutrients directly into their leaves. Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts are very successful life forms, having survived on Earth continuously since at least 75 million years before the age of the dinosaurs.
NYBG’s Bryophyte Projects:
Bryoflora of Cape Horn Archipelago
Building a Global Consortium of Bryophytes and Lichens: Keystones of Cryptobiotic Communities (GLOBAL)
North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change