The moss family Calymperaceae
The moss-ladened trunk of a coconut palm near the coast on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia, in the vicinity of U C Berkeley's Gump Research Station.

Several different species in the moss family Calymperaceae are growing at the Field Station. Species in this family are the dominant epiphytes in tropical lowland forests. The systematics and evolution of this family is the subject of a large National Science Foundation grant awarded to Professor Brent D. Mishler's lab in the Department of Integrative Biology under the PEET program (Partnerships for Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy).

Photo submitted by Brent D. Mishler.

Principal Investigator:

Brent D. Mishler
University of California, Berkeley


William D. Reese
University of Southwestern Louisiana 
Daniel H. Norris,
University of California, Berkeley 
Haji Mohamed Abdul Majid,
University of Malaya 
Heinar Streimann,
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Benito Ching Tan,
National University of Singapore

Graduate students:

Kirsten Johannes  (University of California, Berkeley)
Dennis Wall  (University of California, Berkeley)

Webmaster Programmer/Analyst:

Sean Askay
University of California, Berkeley

Project Emeriti:

John Wheeler (Postdoctoral Associate)
University of California, Berkeley
Tony Morosco (Botanical Programmer/Analyst)
University of California, Berkeley
Raymond Tangney (Visiting Scholar April-May 1998), Department of Botany,
University of Otago, New Zealand
Elaine Cheung (Undergraduate - UC Berkeley)
Randy Clayton (Undergraduate - UC Berkeley)
Dave DesMarais (Undergraduate - UC Berkeley)
Amy Tang (Undergraduate - UC Berkeley)
Danica Harbaugh (Undergraduate - UC Berkeley)


Bryophytes are a group of three disparate lineages (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts) that are thought to be phylogenetically basal among extant land plants. The group contains much species diversity and is particularly suited for studies of macroevolutionary, population genetic, and ecological processes. However, a major limitation in the use of bryophytes as study systems for evolutionary and ecological processes has been the lack of basic taxonomic knowledge of many groups from many regions, particularly the tropics. To achieve this knowledge it is necessary to train a new generation of taxonomists skilled in all the necessary techniques, theories, and background information. The need for cooperative, modern studies that cross national and disciplinary boundaries is paramount.

This research involves a particular bryophyte study group, the moss family Calymperaceae, chosen to allow us to achieve three goals: (1) Train students in the full breadth of systematic techniques; (2) Provide useful monographs of important groups; (3) Address issues of theoretical and conceptual interest in biogeography and evolutionary diversification.

The research focuses on three levels: (1) The circumscription and higher-level relationships of the family Calymperaceae; (2) Relationships of the genera (and major sections) within the family (the major goal being to verify the monophyly of Mitthyridium and select a few other monophyletic subgroups of the family for monographic study); (3) Species delimitations and relationships within the selected subgroups (e.g., Mitthyridium) culminating in world monographs. At all these levels, but particularly in the latter, we are also considering biological, ecological and geographic facters influencing diversification.

This research involves field and herbarium studies to discover and refine taxonomic characters useful at all three levels. Laboratory studies including SEM, morphometrics, culture studies, and DNA sequencing are being used to supplement the morphological data. The project includes training in these areas at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels.

Return to Mishler Lab Home Page

Please address comments about the PEET web pages to peetwebmaster@