Study site: Piton des Neiges volcano (3069 m)
La Réunion is a volcanic Island of 3 million years old. With 2512 km2 the island hosts a rich flora with a high level of endemism. 30 % of the island is under the protection of the National Park created in 2007. In 2010, La Réunion was accepted as a UNESCO patrimony World Heritage Site. The vegetation is diverse and is divided into altitudinal belts (Strasberg et al. 2005). The flora comprises 848 of native species (including 243 pteridophytes) of which 28 % is strictly endemic of the island. La Réunion has been well investigated for its bryoflora, 807 species are presently recorded for the island (Ah-Peng and Bardat
2005). Inventories regularly raised new species and new records for the island, showing the need of more investigations. An elevational transect (350 – 2950 m) was done in 2008 in the framework of the BRYOLAT project on both ferns and bryophytes, in the course of this project the data will be analyzed and discussed. With the knowledge accumulated on the bryoflora, it is now possible to envisage studies on phylogenetic diversity, gene flows in between fragmented populations, plant history traits, with the aim to prioritize research on narrow endemic species and to contribute to the design of nature reserves. At the same time we investigate the ecological value of bryophytes as indicators of climate change and their role in ecosystem services.