Rodney Lewington takes a close look at a liverwort through a hand lens, and a moss plant with spore-bearing sporophytes (photos: A. Ballance and P. Michel)
Alison Ballance joined moss expert Peter Beveridge and liverwort expert Rodney Lewington on a bryophyte hunt on Wellington’s Mana Island, as part of the Mana Bioblitz a couple of months ago. Bryophyte is an umbrella term for a group of small ancient plants – mosses, liverworts and hornworts. Only a single moss specimen had ever been collected from Mana Island before, and although the revegetating island is too dry and wind-exposed to be ‘perfect’ habitat for the moisture-loving plants, the team nonetheless managed to collect 43 species of moss, 33 species of liverworts and a single hornwort species.
The bryophyte team searching for liverworts on a damp shady bank (photo: P. Michel)