Local Moveclim coordinator

Pr. Rosalina. M. DE ALMEIDA GABRIEL, Universidade dos Açores, has long been interested in bryophyte ecology and biogeography. In the context of this project she will be involved in collecting and identifying bryophytes in the Azores as well as in helping to write the resulting papers and supervising students enrolled in this project.

Débora Sofia Gouveia Henriques (PhD student in Azores University): 

Bryophyte diversity across altitudinal gradients in the Azores: Looking for signs of climate change in the functional hyperspace


Ongoing climate changes are known to affect species distribution, causing range shifts towards higher grounds. Accordingly, determining diversity and distribution patterns and their underlying causes along altitudinal gradients can help us assess how species will respond to future climate variations. This project intends to contribute to the knowledge of the Azorean bryophyte diversity along altitudinal and longitudinal gradients and at different functional levels in Pico, Terceira, S. Miguel and Flores, covering all three groups of islands in the Azores archipelago. Richness and abundance patterns of epiphytic bryophytes will be accounted for and connected to variables such as climate, geometric constraints, pH of the bark, age of the island and vegetation structure. Functional traits will be compared along the gradients and tied to specific ecological niches. Determining diversity patterns between islands and altitudes while seeking to relate them to environmental factors can help predict how the archipelago’s bryoflora will behave according to future climate change scenarios. This knowledge will allow policy makers to redefine local conservation strategies and to raise public awareness to the important role of bryophytes in ecosystem services.

Márcia Catarina Mendes Coelho (PhD student in Azores University)


Bryophytes from native vegetation areas facing climate change: 
Ecophysiological diversity and resilience

My study consists in exploring and understanding the physiological and ecological features of some targeted bryophytes, in describing the altitudinal diversity patterns of bryophytes within their microhabitats in native forest of Pico Island (Azores archipelago). Located in the North Atlantic with nine islands of volcanic origin, the Azores archipelago is formed predominantly by indigenous laurel forest, and presents a great range of habitats for bryophytes, due to the diversity of microhabitats and the hyperhumid conditions it provides. Laurel forests showing important biological and ecological similarities with some tropical cloud forests, they are characterized by luxuriant bryophyte assemblages, in terms of biodiversity, endemism, and biomass.
My objectives are: 
  1. to survey bryophyte communities present in native vegetation, along an altitudinal gradient (0 m – 2350 m) in Pico Island, examining different substrata (corticolous, terricolous, eiphyllous, lignicolous, rupicolous, humicolous),
  2. to identify ecosystem services performed by bryophytes in Laurisilva forest regarding water holding and carbon sink ability, 
  3. to characterize the responses of bryophytes to increased environmental stresses, using mainly photosynthetic pigments as response variable on abundant species,
  4. to model species distribution including species ecophysiological constraints.