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While most bryophytes are confined to moist, shaded areas, some can withstand long periods of desiccation on bare rocks in the scorching sun or survive in frozen alpine and arctic environments. Many bryophytes that are found in highly restricted environments play significant roles in the early stages of community succession. The peat mosses are very important in the successional processes that transform bogs into dry land, a transformation that stored vast amounts of atmospheric carbon in the peat bogs of northern environments. One reason that biomass accumulates in peat bogs rather than decomposing is that peat mosses, by establishing an acid pH, inhibit the growth of decomposer microbes. The antibiotic and absorbent properties of peat mosses have also been put to practical use in the past, when peat mosses have been used as bandages. Bryophytes are useful to other organisms in the community as well: Many birds use soft, pliable bryophytes for nesting materials, and many mycorrhizal fungi are associated with the rhizoids of bryophytes.

Introduction to the Plant Kingd om: Bryophytes 385

Figure 20.3 Lenslike cells of the protonema of the luminous moss. The cells concentrate light on the chloroplasts at their bases. After D. von Denffer, W. Schumacher, K. Magdefrau, and F. Ehrendorfer. 1976. Strasburger's Textbook of Botany, 30th German ed., translated by P. Bell and D. Coombe. 1976. Redrawn by permission of Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart, and Longman Group, London and New York.

Figure 20.3 Lenslike cells of the protonema of the luminous moss. The cells concentrate light on the chloroplasts at their bases. After D. von Denffer, W. Schumacher, K. Magdefrau, and F. Ehrendorfer. 1976. Strasburger's Textbook of Botany, 30th German ed., translated by P. Bell and D. Coombe. 1976. Redrawn by permission of Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart, and Longman Group, London and New York.

Introduction to the Plant Kingd om: Bryophytes 385

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