Morphogeometric approaches to non-vascular plants

Daniel E. Stanton, Catherine Reeb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Morphometric analysis of organisms has undergone a dramatic renaissance in recent years, embracing a range of novel computational and imaging techniques to provide new approaches to phenotypic characterization. These innovations have often developed piece-meal, and may reflect the taxonomic specializations and biases of their creators. In this review, we aim to provide a brief introduction to applications and applicability of modern morphometrics to non-vascular land plants, an often overlooked but evolutionarily and ecologically important group. The scale and physiology of bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts) differ in important and informative ways from more “traditional” model plants, and their inclusion has the potential to powerfully broaden perspectives in plant morphology. In particular we highlight three areas where the “bryophytic perspective” shows considerable inter-disciplinary potential: (i) bryophytes as models for intra-specific and inter-specific phenotypic variation, (ii) bryophyte growth-forms as areas for innovation in architectural modularity, and (iii) bryophytes as models of ecophysiological integration between organs, individuals, and stands. We suggest that advances should come from two-way dialog: the translation and adoption of techniques recently developed for vascular plants (and other organisms) to bryophytes and the use of bryophytes as model systems for the innovation of new techniques and paradigms in morphogeometric approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00916
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - Jun 27 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Stanton and Reeb.


  • Branching patterns
  • Bryophytes
  • Geometric morphology
  • Liverworts
  • Modularity
  • Mosses


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