The Azorean archipelago is a hotspot for bryophyte diversity, hosting over 400 species . Although I am not a botanist, the variety of mosses and liverworts covering the ground and hanging from trees in the native Azorean humid laurisilva forests amazes me.
Pico is the second largest island of the Azores and, as the name suggests (pico = peak), Portugal’s highest point, the Pico Mountain (2351 m) is found here. Since the elevation changes from basically sea level to over 2000 m within a very short distance, Pico is a great natural laboratory to study how elevational gradients influence plant or animal communities.
I only use my statistical and analytical skills in this project, since I do not know much about this taxa. However, I work with bryologists and use their data to find ecologically meaningful patterns in them. At the moment, I am investigating what kind of processes, stochasticity, environmental filtering, or biotic interactions, drive the community assembly of bryophytes along an elevational gradient on Pico. The elevational transect was established several years ago and the bryophyte diversity patterns have already been analysed .