Five moss species were found in the high intertidal zone of salt marshes in Nova Scotia, eastern Canada. This is the first report of bryophytes from salt marshes from North America. In each of the salt marshes where mosses occurred, one to three moss species occurred in monospecific or mixed species assemblages. Campylium stellatum and Bryum capillare were the most common species, followed by Didymodon rigidulus, Mnium hornum and Amblystegium serpens in decreasing abundance. All mosses were present below the litter line and occurred in association with Juncus arcticus and J. gerardii, although some collections were also made in association with Spartina pectinata and S. patens. The mosses were exposed in situ to seawater of > 20 ppt. In a laboratory experiment, mats of C. stellatum were exposed to a range of salinities (0, 8, 16, 32 ppt); plants survived 24 h of immersion in seawater of 32 ppt followed by four days in which mats were fully saturated with seawater. There was a slight reduction in effective quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII ) in the 32 ppt treatment relative to 0 and 8 ppt. Following four subsequent days of desiccation, the full-seawater- and 16-ppt-treated plants had significant reduction in quantum yield. This experiment is consistent with field observations and shows considerable physiological tolerance to salinity in salt marsh mosses.
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Vol. 111 • No. 2