Document Type


Publication Date


Location Collected

Robert B. Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies


Summary Data Number of Taxa: 35 Species, in 28 Genera, 23 Families, and 12 Orders. Description The bryophytes are an informal group that is composed of three divisions of non-vascular plants: the liverworts, hornworts, and mosses. Of these, the mosses are the most familiar to most people, but the three groups are similar in appearance, and differ only in their reproductive structures. All bryophytes lack specialized tissues for transporting resources (i.e., vascular tissue); hence, they are characteristically small in stature. Additionally, bryophytes do not produce flowers or seeds; rather, reproduction is through spores. Bryophytes have received relatively little investigation at the GNA. In 2007, WCU undergraduate Spencer Ruston, under the supervision of Dr. Sharon Began, conducted a site-wide survey of bryophytes at the GNA, in which he noted 17 species. In 2009, undergrad Cindy Law, also under the supervision of Dr. Began, began another site-wide study of the GNA’s bryophytes. Although she didn’t finish this work, she did compile a photographic record of the eight species of bryophytes that she encountered. No additional work was done on bryophytes from that time until 2019, at which point GNA staff began photographing and collecting bryophytes with an aim towards creating a more complete account of this biotic group at the GNA. The principal staff associated with this work are GNA Stewardship Manager Nur Ritter and GNA Student Intern Noah Long. These data have been augmented by observations posted on iNaturalist ( Status/Threats IUCN Status: Only nine species of bryophytes on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN 2020) have been evaluated for their status in North America. None of these species are known for the Gordon. The GNA checklist was compared with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Species and Natural Features List (PNHP 2020). Of the 306 bryophyte species on the list, three are known to occur in the GNA. The state rankings from the PNHP list have been incorporated into the checklist.

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Bryology Commons