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Bryophytes and the morphospecies concept: a comparison of novice and exert sorting


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Pharo, EJ 2002 , 'Bryophytes and the morphospecies concept: a comparison of novice and exert sorting' , Pacific Conservation Biology, vol. 7 , pp. 290-291 .

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The exclusion of bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) from the majority of impact assessment and monitoring studies is probably due to key characters being microscopic and difficult to work with given limited resources. Coarse morphological groups have been used in rangeland monitoring where a level of identification accessible to amateurs successfully separated different soil crust groups. However, there has been only one study of the feasibility of using a morphospecies approach for bryophytes. In this study, I investigate a different environment with a level of species richness that is more typical of many dry sclerophyll forests. Novices collected the specimens as well as sorted, which is a realistic replication of the task facing biologists when undertaking biodiversity surveys or establishing monitoring studies. Here I compare the efforts of 65 novices (second-year biogeography students) and myself in sampling an area of sub-alpine Tasmania. I was interested quantifying the abilities of this group rather than a smaller, more experienced group because a range of interests and abilities were represented. The results is informative as to the feasibility of including bryophytes in monitoring projects where the focus of the project may be on other groups and the field officer has little experience with bryophytes.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Pharo, EJ
Keywords: bryophyte; morphospecies; taxonomy; reliability
Journal or Publication Title: Pacific Conservation Biology
ISSN: 1038-2097
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