A team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Duke University and other institutions studying sphagnum moss has identified two new species in North America and is studying how evolution may affect the species’ role in carbon storage.
Studying moss samples from remote habitats, researchers used genome sequencing and advanced computing to identify differences within the Sphagnum magellanicum complex. So far, they have found S. magni and S. diabolicum, which differ in geographic distribution and may have evolved in response to climate.
“Understanding their evolution and genetic diversitywe can begin to link some of the traits of these organisms to their effect on the carbon cycle,” said ORNL’s Brian Piatkowski.
Sphagnum is the main engineer of the peatlands of the Northern Hemisphere, where a third of the earth’s carbon is stored. Moss’s answer to higher temperatures can provide predictions of how much carbon will remain in the soil or be released into the atmosphere.
A. Jonathan Shaw et al., Phylogenomic structure and speciation in a new model: the Sphagnum magellanicum complex (Bryophyta), New phytologist (2022). DOI: 10.1111/nph.18429
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Citation: Moss genome study reveals two new species (October 4, 2022) Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-moss-genome-species.html
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