Student Research Grants

Photo: Des Callaghan

Cultivating future bryologists is crucial to the mission of the CNPS Bryophyte Chapter. We offer small grants to support undergraduate and graduate students conducting research on California mosses, liverworts and hornworts. Learn about our past recipients and their contributions to the understanding and conservation of bryophytes below. We thank the generous donors who have made these grants possible.

Students: Read the guidelines here and apply by 01 January

Bryophyte Chapter Grant Recipients


Matthew Yamamoto, M.S. student in Botany, California Botanic Garden, Claremont Graduate University 

Project Title: The Vascular and Nonvascular Flora of the McGee Creek Watershed, Mono County, California 

man with mountains
Matthew Yamamoto


Zane Walker, Botany Major, Oregon State University, Honors College

Project Title: A Bryoflora of the Marble Mountain Wilderness


Peri Lee Pipkin, M.S. student in Botany, California Botanic Garden, Claremont Graduate University 

Project Title: A Floristic Inventory of the Silver Peak Range, Esmeralda County, NV 


Javier Jauregui-Lazo, PhD student, University of California, Berkeley

Project Title: The Moss Syntrichia: a non-vascular plant with efficient external water conduction 

Project Results: Syntrichia is an ectohydric moss capable of externally transporting and storing water through capillary action. In our research, we used an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) and confocal microscopy to reveal how small chambers and capillary spaces within the moss fill up and retain water in specialized cell types. As Syntrichia absorbed a minimal amount of water, we observed significant changes, ranging from modifications in its overall morphology to extensive cell shape alterations, enhancing its ability to store water efficiently and release it gradually into the atmosphere. Different species exhibited varying capabilities to conduct water and retain water, likely influenced by their ontogeny and habitat requirements.

The dynamics of external water conduction in the dryland moss Syntrichia

botany student
Javier Jauregui-Lazo

2021, 2022

John McLaughlin, MS student in Biology, San Jose State University

Project Title: Bryophyte Flora of Henry W. Coe State Park 

In Search of Fissidens fontanus

Project Results: My work documented a total of 179 bryophyte species, including one state record (Aloina rigida), and three previously undescribed species. This marks Henry W. Coe State Park as the most diverse area for bryophytes in the Diablo Range and provides further support for the area’s preservation.

moss on soil
Aloina aloides var. ambigua, CC BY-NC John McLaughlin


Charles Gibbons, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Environmental Management and Protection major with concentration in botanical studies and minor in Land Rehabilitation and Restoration Ecology 

Project Title: Alpine Bryophyte Inventory for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks 

2019, 2021

Martin Purdy, M.S. Student in Botany, California Botanic Garden (formerly Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden), Claremont, CA

Project Title: Vascular and Nonvascular Flora of Coyote Ridge, Inyo County, California 

Project Results: Fieldwork and herbarium searches conducted for this project between July 2019 and August 2021 documented a total of 543 minimum-rank taxa, 273 of which were not previously known to the area. Nonvascular plants are documented by 69 species (12.7% of the flora), composed of 66 mosses, three liverworts, and no hornworts. New collections and examination of historical specimens yielded occurrences of 13 new rare plants for the area including new records for the Sierra Nevada mountains, Inyo County, and one new moss species (Amblyodon dealbatus) for the state of California.

Bryophytes of Coyote Ridge and Flat, Inyo County, California

man with backpack standing in field, mountains in background
Martin Purdy


Jenna Ekwealor, PhD student, University of California, Berkeley

Project Title: UV tolerance in Mojave Desert mosses

Project Results: Desert moss, Syntrichia caninervis, is dark brown in natural, high light settings, but is bright green when grown in low light conditions, suggesting the dark pigmentation may be a photoprotective sunscreen. My study aimed to test the hypothesis that UV radiation induces dark coloration in S. caninervis, and that removal of UV radiation will result in greener, less-stressed plants. Surprisingly, I found that UV radiation did induce the dark coloration, but the greener UV-free plants were in fact more stressed.

Moss Rocks!

Human-wildlife conflicts while studying desert mosses

woman holding mosses
Jenna Ekwealor