Studies of Chinese Bryophytes (mosses and liworts)
Given the rich and abundant bryophytic resources in the region, bryologists began to conduct systematic field investigations, surveys and experimental research when the Institute was established. Major accomplishments are as follows:
(1) Since the 1960s, Institute scientists and those of the Kunming Institute of Botany have pioneered research on bryophytic flora in China and collected a quarter million (255,000) specimens from 34 provinces and municipal cities in China. They have published 28 books on bryophytes, with detailed descriptions and hand-drawn illustrations of every species. These books provide important background information on the Chinese bryophytic flora and laid the foundation for advanced research.
(2) Scientists at the Institute have discovered many new taxa and described more than 2,000 species, accounting for approximately 2/3 of the known species in the country. They discovered 3 new families, 3 new genera and 145 new species. They restructured the bryophitic classification system, yielding 30 genera and 434 species endemic to China. These findings represent important contributions to scientific knowledge of the world’s bryophytic flora.
(3) Institute scientists have revised the composition of 26 families and genera, and proposed a new classification system for the world bryophyte taxonomy.
(4) Based on the types of spore dispersal, scientists have proposed a new bryophyte phylogenetic system, which incorporates the linkage between bryophytes and green algae, highlighting the fact that liverworts originated earlier than mosses.
Research on Chinese bryophytes has generated many publications, including 19 books, 9 monographs and 246 papers. These publications are now highly cited, and several of them have become citation classics. This research received the Second-Class National Natural Science Award.