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Preliminary insights from DNA barcoding into the diversity of mosses colonising modern building surfaces

Wolfgang Karl Hofbauer, Laura Lowe Forrest, Peter M. Hollingsworth, Michelle L. Hart


Schistidium species are prominent colonisers on modern building surfaces. Although the taxonomy of this genus has advanced considerably in recent years, growth of Schistidium on building surfaces is often slow, with the life cycle often incomplete. The availability of diagnostic morphological characters for species identification can therefore be limited; in consequence these building colonisers are often assigned to “Schistidium species”. In recent years, DNA barcoding has been used in studies of species complexes, to aid species delimitation and identification. Here we report our first findings of a DNA barcoding project on accessions of European Schistidium that are involved in the colonisation of modern buildings. This study gives an inital insight into the taxonomy of pioneer Schistidium taxa amongst the ‘primary growth’ on modern building surfaces and an assessment of the utility of DNA barcoding for the identification of cryptic, character poor samples and species.We show that samples with poor morphological characters due to incomplete development from modern building surfaces identified as “Schistidium species” fall into several clades, and re-examination of the morphology of these samples shows some morphological differences, suggesting cryptic taxa.


Schistidium; DNA barcoding; primary colonization; modern building; biodiversity

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