9 October 2020 (Friday) – Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) organised a Basic Bryophyte Identification Course on 15 September attended by 18 FRIM Herbarium staff to enhance their knowledge on bryophytes and the ability to identify them.
Bryophyte, commonly known as moss, is a non-vascular, epiphytic, non-flowering plant and produces spores that are usually wind-dispersed. It is often used as a bio indicator due to its sensitivity to changes in environmental conditions, such as ambient temperature and humidity and it is often found in unpolluted areas.
|Cheah (front) showing a population of moss growing on a tree trunk.||Research Assistant Zainun Othman examining the characters of a moss sample under a magnifying glass.|
The course was conducted by Cheah Yih Horng, a FRIM botanist with academic knowledge and background in the field of ecology as well as taxonomy of bryophytes.
Despite being a man-made forest, there are at least 40 bryophyte species found within the FRIM campus. This high diversity is due to the presence of myriad microhabitats at FRIM.
However, a more in-depth and comprehensive study is needed to elucidate the composition of bryophytes at FRIM.
|Fissidens (above) and Riccardia mosses found on the surface/crevices of rocks and on the ground.||A moss-covered boulder at the FRIM waterfall area.|
The bryophyte groups found in FRIM microhabitats include:
- On the surface/crevices of rocks and on the ground: Fissidens, Riccardia groups;
- Surface of tree trunks: Family Calymperaceae, Sematophyllaceae and Lejeuneaceae;
- Epiphytic on leaves (by the river/waterfall area): Cololejeunea group; and
- Creeping on fallen tree trunks in the forest: Family Thuidiaceae
Recently, Cheah conducted a bryophyte inventory in Batu Caves with a researcher from University of Malaya. They made oral and poster presentations to share their findings at the Batu Caves Scientific Expedition Symposium on 26 September.