Optimising Artificial Moss Growth for Environmental Studies in the Mediterranean Area

Plants (Basel). 2021 Nov 19;10(11):2523. doi: 10.3390/plants10112523.


Bryophytes are poikilohydric organisms that play a key role in ecosystems, while some of them are also resistant to drought and environmental disturbances but present a slow growth rate. Moss culture in the laboratory can be a very useful tool for ecological restoration or the development of urban green spaces (roof and wall) in the Mediterranean region. Therefore, we aim to: (i) determine the optimal culture conditions for the growth of four moss species present in the Mediterranean climate, such as Bryum argenteum, Hypnum cupressiforme, Tortella nitida, and Tortella squarrosa; (ii) study the optimal growth conditions of the invasive moss Campylopus introflexus to find out if it can be a threat to native species. Photoperiod does not seem to cause any recognisable pattern in moss growth. However, temperature produces more linear but slower growth at 15 °C than at 20 and 25 °C. In addition, the lower temperature produced faster maximum cover values within 5-8 weeks, with at least 60% of the culture area covered. The study concludes that the culture of moss artificially in the organic gardening substrate without fertilisers is feasible and could be of great help for further use in environmental projects to restore degraded ecosystems or to facilitate urban green spaces in the Mediterranean area. Moreover, this study concludes that C. introflexus could successfully occupy the niche of other native moss species, especially in degraded areas, in a future global change scenario.

Keywords: Moss cover; bryophytes; ecological restoration; green roofs; photoperiod; temperature.