Taxonomy and classification of the moss family Mniaceae
Timo Koponen, Professor Emeritus
My studies for revising the moss family Mniaceae (s. lat.) began in 1964. At first I concentrated on the problems of species level. However, the first major publication in 1968 dealt with the generic classification of the family and especially the division of the large genus Mnium into several smaller genera. In that study, the cladistic methods created by W. Hennig were first time used in botany.
In 1970–71 I stayed in Japan, and had the opportunity to travel widely in Japan and study the mosses of Mniaceae in the field. This was extremely necessary for understanding the specific variation especially in Plagiomnium sect. Rostrata. In 1971–72 I had the possibility to stay for one year at National Science Museum of Canada, Ottawa. Again, field research was carried out in many parts of Canada and U.S.A. Later, in 1981, I was in New Guinea together with Prof. D. H. Norris, and in 1981–1999 made several excursions to China.
The collections in H and especially in H-BR and H-SOL contain large collections of Mniaceae and especially many type specimens. I also visited other large herbaria such as BM, LE, NY, P and S-PA to study type specimens and also for studying the distribution of the species. Until now most of the types of the species of Mniaceae have been studied.
The results of these studies have been published in a large number of papers. Some of them are short nomenclatural or floristic reports. Taxonomic revisions of some genera or sections were also published, such as the genus Rhizomnium in Japan and in North America, Plagiomnium sect. Rostrata in Asia, and world monographs of Plagiomnium sect. Rosulata and genus Orthomnion. Areal revisions have been published for e.g. Taiwan, Canada and Japan. Under the title “A synopsis of Mniaceae (Bryophyta)” the taxa, their nomenclature, taxonomy and distribution in each continent were summarized. In connection with the studies on the bryoflora of Hunan, China Mniaceae have been collected and studied. A synopsis of the Mniaceae is currently being done.