ECNU researchers make new discoveries in Bryophytes


Three new genera of bryophytes were discovered by a team of ECNU researchers at the border area of China and Vietnam. The new discoveries are Gaolejeunea R.L.Zhu et W.Ye, which is endemic to China, Soella R.L. R.L.Zhu, L.Shu, Qiong He et Y.M.Wei, which is native to China and Ryukyu-Shoto of Japan, and Gradsteinianthus R.L.Zhu et Jian Wang bis, which is endemic at the China-Vietnam border.




The Beibu Gulf Economic Region, situated in the Indochina Peninsula, is where the researchers began the work in the Great Delta Green near the China-Vietnam border. This area is rich in natural resources and maintains a high level of biodiversity, including monsoon forests and alpine mossy forests at 3,000-meter altitude.

The Great Delta Green is near the China-Vietnam border. 

The region was formerly one of the world’s most intensive areas of military conflict, and is now among the world's most dangerous areas of landmines from previous wars where undetonated landmines remain as a great threat to bio-resource field studies and ecological impact.

Undetonated landmines remain as a great threat to bio-resource field studies.

Inspired by the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and further driven by the urgent need to protect biodiversity in the area, the team of ECNU bryophytes researchers have partnered with the Vietnam National Museum of Nature; they have organized over 20 field investigations in the past 10 years. The research was funded by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The team has collected more than 12,000 samples.

Researchers go on field trips in the woods.

Through morphology and molecular systematics studies, the researchers concludedd that there are 96 families, 254 genera and 956 species of bryophytes in the area. Among them, 30 genera and 163 species are new findings along with the latest directory of bryophytes in Vietnam.

Researchers discuss about field trip routes before departure.

Ph. D Candiate Shu Lei is collecting samples.

Two essays on the latest results were published in Cryptogamie Bryologie, a leading peer-reviewed scholarly journal, in 2016 and 2017. The first authors were Shu Lei from ECNU and Zhang Boyuan, who is now a teacher at PudongForeignLanguageSchool in Shanghai. The correspondent authors were Zhu Ruiliang and Wang Youfang.

The discovery of Gradsteinianthus R.L.Zhu et Jian Wang bis, was published in Volume 65 of the Bryophytorum Bibliotheca treatise in 2016 while the other two discoveries were in the first and third issue of The Bryologist. Other contributing authors included teachers and students of the ECNU bryophytes research team, including Zhu Ruiliang, Wang Jian, Shu Lei, Xe Wen (South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Wei Yumei (Guangxi Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences), and He Qiong ( Binhai International School in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province).

The study indicates that the China-Vietnam border area contains some of the world's most diverse sources of bryophytes. Moreover, the elements in the flora have ancient roots resembling the fauna of China by late Chinese academician Wu Zhengyi, in which he supported the idea to divide the area into the Beibu Gulf Region and a Chinese floristic sub-region.

The study also enriches diversity of bryophytes in the area and provides a theoretical basis for the sustainable use and social development of biological resources in China and Vietnam. The scientific knowledge and technical support made by the two state governments to make decisions on protection of natural resources and environment was noted as a success.

Bryophytes are considered to be an environment-sensitive plant that consists of about 20,000 plant species worldwide. Only second to angiosperm in higher plants, they are an important component of biodiversity, and play a unique and indispensable role in soil conservation and maintaining the ecosystem equilibrium. The ECNU bryophytes research team is striving to play a leading role in bryophytes studies accompanied by talent cultivation for countries along the Belt and Road Initiative.

Edited by Linlan Zhang    Proofread by Mayfield Joshua    Reviewed by Wenjun Guo


East China Normal University