Dennis Escolástico, M.Sc.

My project focuses on the phylogeography and associated microflora of the artic moss Racomitrium lanuginosum. This is a clonal species, locally abundant and widely distributed across Arctic and Subarctic regions of North America and Eurasia. It has several sibling species in cold or temperate areas of the southern hemisphere, constituting a complex of species growing in similar areas with a bipolar distribution. Our findings could be compared in future studies with others from the southern vicariant species, which would give us a better understanding of these ecosystems, making this species a better choice for the study than any other bryophytes with Arctic distribution. Besides, phylogeographic studies of the species in the Eurasian Arctic are being developed by European laboratories to obtain a wider perspective of the dispersal processes in Racomitrium.

The hypotheses to be tested are:

1) The selected model species has low molecular divergence in Arctic and Subarctic zones in Canada

2) Are the nitrogen-fixing bacteria dispersed along with bryophytes?