The frequencies of states of 86 characters in 439 pleurocarpous moss species from all over the world are compared across climatic zones, general habitats, and the gradient wetland versus non-wetland. Forty-four percent of the characters are influenced by climatic zone, 35% by general habitat, and 23% by the wetland vs. non-wetland gradient. Most of the differences in character state frequencies among environmental categories seem to relate to two complex functions: 1) water conduction and retention, as expressed by differences in frequencies of states of the characters stem central strand, leaf orientation, leaf costa type, alar cells, paraphyllia, pseudoparaphyllia, inner perichaetial leaf plications, vaginular paraphyses, operculum type, stomatal pore, and possibly seta length and 2) spore dispersal, expressed by variation in frequencies of character states related to capsule shape and orientation, annulus, exostome and endostome appearance, spore size and maturation time, and possibly seta length. Besides the influence of the phylogenetic history, water availability and exposure to wind are suggested to be the most important habitat factors explaining the differences among habitats found for these character complexes.
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