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Early land plants: Early adopters!
Date:1/4/2012

n access journal PhytoKeys, "but this innovation will accelerate the whole process of scientific discovery and description of new plants. As natural habitats are degraded at an ever faster rate, it is crucial that botanists speed up their work on finding and describing new species of plants before they are threatened with extinction"! "This is particularly pertinent to biodiversity hotspots, such as New Zealand", added both von Konrat and de Lange.

"Scientific papers published in PhytoKeys are freely downloadable for anyone to read and use, which is particularly significant in smaller countries like New Zealand, where many individual researchers and smaller institutions would not otherwise have access to many scientific serials", commented Prof. Lyubomir Penev, Founder and Managing Editor of PhytoKeys.

The newly described species is from a group of plants commonly referred to as liverworts. "This group of generally small-sized plants forms an incredibly conspicuous and significant component in New Zealand ecosystems. Based on our present knowledge, New Zealand may have almost 10% of the world's species of liverworts - a little-known but widespread group of plants - which are related to those that first colonized land millions of years ago. That is an astonishing figure", said Dr. von Konrat.

New Zealand has a high proportion of endemic plant species that are not found anywhere else in the world. Some of these are like the Tuatara's of the plant world, and are very significant towards our understanding of early land plant evolution. On the other hand, "the new species underscores how this enigmatic group of plants has been largely overlooked compared to seed plants and our fauna, especially on many of our offshore islands which harbour significant biodiversity" commented Dr. Peter de Lange. '

Liverworts are being increasingly recognized by everyday New Zealand people and world-wide as beautiful and important
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Contact: Dr. Matt von Konrat
mvonkonrat@fieldmuseum.org
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

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