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The bryophyte flora of Bridal Veil Falls, British Columbia : an analysis of its composition and diversity Djan-Chekar, Nathalie

Abstract

Bridal Veil Falls is a small provincial park located at the eastern extremity of the Fraser Lowland in southwestern British Columbia. This study presents an inventory of the bryophyte flora of Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park and an adjacent boulder slope. This inventory provided the basis for a discussion of the ecology and geographical affinities of the bryoflora emphasizing the environmental and historical factors that are determinant of its composition. A key to the mosses is provided. Field work conducted between 1991 and 1992 and examination of herbarium specimens revealed a diverse bryoflora in comparison to areas of similar size in British Columbia's Lower Mainland. This bryoflora is composed of 210 species (150 mosses and 60 liverworts). In addition, Barbula convoluta var. gallinula was found new to British Columbia. An analysis of bryophyte occurrence in habitats showed that high species diversity can be attributed to the wide variety of both habitats available at the site and microenvironments associated with these different habitats. Variations of light, moisture, and edaphic conditions were found to be generally important sources of diversity. The bryoflora of Bridal Veil Falls has a strong circumboreal component. Its affinity with the rich bryoflora of coastal British Columbia is reflected by a large proportion of Pacific North American endemics and species of humid coastal regions. The availability of suitable microenvironments allows the occurrence of species of arctic-montane, mediterranean and strictly oceanic distribution. The bulk of the flora is probably derived from bryophyte populations that colonized the Lower Mainland of British Columbia from southern refugia after the retreat of the Wisconsin ice.

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