Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (5): 523-532.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0359

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Diversity and distribution pattern of epiphyllous liverworts and its ecological determinants

Yan-Bin JIANG1, Xiao-Ming SHAO2,*   

  1. 1College of Resources and Environments, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China

    2Beijing Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Organic Farming, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
  • Online:2016-05-10 Published:2016-05-25
  • Contact: Xiao-Ming SHAO


Epiphyllous liverworts form a special group of bryophytes that primarily grow on leaves of understory vascular plants, occurring in constantly moist and warm evergreen forest in tropical and subtropical regions. Epiphyllous liverworts may influence ecosystem processes including carbon, nitrogen and water cycles. Furthermore, they are very sensitive to climate change and forest fragmentation, and can be used as bioindicators for changes in ecological conditions and escalating loss of biodiversity. In this paper, we reviewed studies on morphological traits, species diversity, geographical distribution and environmental conditions (including characteristics of hosts and habitats) of epiphyllous liverworts, discussed the possible reasons for the mechanisms underlying the diversity pattern of epiphyllous liverworts. According to these studies, we proposed that further ecological studies on epiphyllous liverworts should be more focused on their formation, mechanisms of matter exchange and energy flux, ecological functions in forest ecosystem, the response to climate changes and their broader-scale ecology.

Key words: bryophytes, species diversity, geographical distribution, environment