Bryologists find rare moss in Gauja National Park

An expedition of bryologists exploring the flora of Gauja National Park (GNP) in Vidzeme province has discovered a rare kind of moss called Campylopus fragilis growing there, reported the Rēzekne University Monday.

The experts in the field of bryology, a branch of botany which researches mosses, liverworts and hornworts, came across the minuscule, hard-to-detect rare moss on the very first day of their field trip, which was organized jointly by the regional university’s Institute of Regional Studies and Latvia’s Botanical Society. This species is new to Latvia, not ever having been identified here before.

German moss-expert Steffen Caspari, who accompanied the Latvian bryologists on the April 15-17 expedition, was amazed at the great diversity of mosses to be found inside the GNP. He was impressed with the array of interesting types of mosses found in Latvia that are not known in the hills and mountains of western Europe.

Senior researcher at the Institute Anna Mežaka pointed to the micro-niche biotopes found in very concentrated areas of sandstone escarpments there and the need to involve more international cooperation in the study and preservation of these unique Latvian natural treasures.

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