Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (1): 21229.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021229

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Species diversity of epiphyllous liverworts and host plants in the Wuyanling National Nature Reserve, Zhejiang Province

Zun Dai1,#, Xing Chen1,#, Jianhang Zhang1, Maojie Zhu1, Kun Song2, Shichen Xing1, Shuwen Tu1, Lu Zou1, Zupei Lei3, Hongqing Li1,*(), Jian Wang1,*()   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241
    2 School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241
    3 Zhejiang Wuyanling National Nature Reserve Management Bureau, Taishun, Zhejiang 325500
  • Received:2021-06-03 Accepted:2021-09-14 Online:2022-01-20 Published:2022-01-29
  • Contact: Hongqing Li,Jian Wang
  • About author:First author contact:

    # Co-first authors


Aims: Epiphyllous liverworts are a group of bryophytes that mainly grow on the leaf surfaces of vascular plants in tropical rainforests and subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests. These species have important value in the ecosystem and are the group of bryophytes that need the most attention and protection by conservationists. However, due to the physically small size and the difficulty of classifying specimens, previous surveys of epiphyllous liverworts in China may have underestimated their diversity. In order to understand the possible impact of sampling methods on the perceived diversity of epiphyllous liverworts, the present study conducted systematic sampling and comparative analysis on the epiphyllous liverworts in the Wuyanling National Nature Reserve.

Methods: Utilizing the Wuyanling National Nature Reserve as the study area, this study carried out systematic investigations on the diversity of epiphyllous liverworts and their host plants along altitude gradients according to the leaf characteristics and distribution position of host plants. Species richness and composition of epiphyllous liverworts and its host plants were analyzed.

Results: There are 49 species of epiphyllous liverworts obtained from 14 genera in 5 families and 119 species of host plants obtained from 84 genera in 57 families. Compared with historical data, 35 species, 5 genera and 2 families were newly recorded in the area, including 4 new species recorded in Zhejiang Province. A humped relationship is observed between species richness of epiphyllous liverworts and elevation, with a maximum richness between the altitude of 500 m and 900 m. The species accumulation curve and random sampling analysis based on the number of leaves indicated that the epiphyllous liverworts in the reserve demonstrated great differences in species composition in different habitats and different leaves of the same host plant.

Conclusion: In view of the higher species diversity of epiphyllous liverworts obtained by the sampling method in this study, it is recommended to conduct similar studies in other distribution centers of the species in order to better understand the species diversity of epiphyllous liverworts in China.

Key words: biodiversity conservation priority areas, bryophytes, sampling method, species diversity