The Fate of Mosses Under a Changing Climate: Evolution of Stress Tolerance in Syntrichia

Author: Ashley Meinke

Faculty Supervisor: Jenna Ekwealor

Department: Biology

The Late Miocene is characterized by global drying and cooling and for immense changes in plant distributions, though little is known about how mosses fared. The diverse moss genus Syntrichia occurs worldwide in a variety of habitats. Using a phylogenetic framework, we tested whether the Northern Hemisphere subclade Borealsyntrichia represents a rapid radiation and whether its divergence time coincides with Late Miocene climate change. We also tested whether members of Syntrichia and Borealsyntrichia differed in cold and desiccation tolerance.