Featured by prestigious scientific magazine

Featured by prestigious scientific magazine
Featured by prestigious scientific magazine

The PhD student from the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Natural Resources of the Austral University of Chile (UACh), Felipe Osorio, discovered a new species of moss while walking along the coastal sector of the Coquimbo Region.

The young man paid attention to this moss of the genus Orthotrichum, relatively common in the south of Chile, which he immediately recognized: «I thought it was very strange that this type of moss was in the northern area, especially in a coastal area that is highly visited in summer, with high human traffic and highly fragmented; so when reviewing the checklist of Chilean mosses I realized it was a discovery”, acknowledges Osorio.

In this way, the researcher contacted world specialists in the area who were in charge of the molecular work. Both studies showed that it was indeed a new species, a finding that has just been published in the prestigious scientific journal Phyto Keys.

The plant, which corresponds to a moss, was growing on the branch of a bush. These mosses thrive mainly as epiphytes on trees and shrubs, and occasionally as saxicolous species on rocks and stones.

How did this moss manage to grow in the northern part of Chile?

The researcher, Felipe Osorio, states that “there was a lot of camanchaca, a bank of clouds that is generated in the sea and that allows for sufficient humidity for this moss to grow in this place, which is quite dry. That’s why if we compare this species, it has no relationship with those from the south,” said Osorio.

In this way, the new species of moss was named by the researcher as Orthotrichum camanchacanumdue to the climatic condition in which it grows.


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