Bryophytes Characteristics, Reproduction and Examples

Bryophytes Definition

1. What are the main characteristics of bryophytes?

Bryophytes are nonvascular plants, meaning that they do not have conducting tissues and carry out the transport of water and nutrients via diffusion. They are cryptogamic, or rather, they do not present flowers or seeds; they are small in size; they present water-dependent fertilization; in their life cycle, the lasting form is haploid (the gametophyte) and the sporophyte depends on the gametophyte to survive.

Bryophytes - Biology Questions and Answers

The Groups of Bryophytes

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2. What are the main groups of bryophytes?

The main groups of bryophytes are mosses, liverworts and hornworts. 

Bryophytes Review - Image Diversity: mosses liverworts hornworts

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The Explanation of the Size of Bryophytes

3. How is the transport of substances carried out across bryophyte tissues? How is this feature related to the general size of these plants?

In bryophytes, there are no water-conducting or nutrient-conducting structures and the transport of these substances is carried out via cell to cell diffusion. The small size of bryophytes relates to this feature because if there are no conducting vessels, it is not possible for cells to be too far apart from each other (the emergence of  conducting tissues in tracheophytes allowed their increase in size).

The Life Cycle of Bryophytes

4. What is the life cycle type of bryophytes?

As in all plants, the life cycle of bryophytes is diplobiontic (the alternation of generations). In bryophytes, the lasting form is the haploid one. 

5. In general, where is the sporophyte located in relation to the gametophyte in bryophytes? How does the sporophyte obtain nutrients?

In general, the bryophyte sporophyte is a long, tiny stem that grows on the top of the gametophyte. The sporophyte depends complelety on the gametophyte to obtain nutrients. 

6. Why can bryophytes be considered the “amphibians of the plant world”?

Like adult amphibians, bryophytes live in the terrestrial environment but depend on water to reproduce. For this reason, the nickname is justified.

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