Species Profile

Porsild's Bryum

Scientific Name: Haplodontium macrocarpum
Other/Previous Names: Mielichhoferia macrocarpa
Taxonomy Group: Mosses
COSEWIC Range: Nunavut, British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2017
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: C2a(i)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This rare moss is patchily distributed and occupies very little area across a large Canadian range. It relies on very specific, rare habitats on shaded calcareous substrates with continuous growing-season moisture. These habitats are threatened by drought, ice scour, storm events, and wildfire, all of which are expected to increase in severity with climate change. Some sites are also subject to threats from recreation and industrial development. Many habitat patches are smaller than would be required to support a viable population. With 19 known locations in eastern, western, and Arctic Canada, the distance between these patches exceeds the likely dispersal distance of the species. Although new colonies have been discovered in Alberta, the species is continuing to show declines and colony losses, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador, which will likely result in further declines.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in November 2003. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2017.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2011-02-04

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Taxonomy | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Taxonomy

Although this species is currently placed in the genus Mielichhoferia, recent research indicates a closer relationship with members of the genus Bryum.

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Description

Porsild’s Bryum is a small moss that grows in short, compact cushions only 0.3 to 1 cm high.  These cushions are bright green and have a spongy texture.  Individual stems are reddish-brown and have multiple branches.  The leaves are shiny, slightly concave, recurved, and range in length from 0.6 to 1.5 mm.  Porsild’s Bryum is dioicous, meaning there are separate male and female plants.  The female plants are larger, with leaves that are less concave in shape and more evenly spaced on the stems.  Cushions of female plants often produce copious amounts of sporophytes (part of the plant’s reproductive process).

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Distribution and Population

Porsild’s Bryum is found throughout northern latitudes around the globe, from North America, southern Siberia, the southern Ural Mountains in Kazakhstan, and the Sayan Mountains of central Asia.  The distribution of the species is highly fragmented, with the majority of known populations in Canada and Alaska.  There are 27 known locations of Porsild’s Bryum in North America, 10 of which are in Canada.  There are five general areas where this moss is found, most of which are associated with western mountain ranges. In British Columbia, one site has been found on the north face of Mt. Socrates, occupying a total area of less than 1m².  In Alberta, the moss is found at three sites with a total area of less than 40 m² (Whitehorse Wildland Park and Kananaskis Country).  Six sites have been found in Newfoundland in the Great Northern Peninsula area (total area 18m²), and one site has been identified in Nunuvut on Ellesmere Island, total area unknown. While each colony has a different rate of die-off, there is an overall decline in the number of colonies of Canadian populations of Porsild’s Bryum.

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Habitat

Porsild’s Bryum is associated with western mountain ranges, preferring sites that are constantly moist with seepage or splash during the growing season, along with complete desiccation (drying out due to water freezing) during the winter season.  This moss grows in cracks and cliffs of calcareous conglomerate rock, limestone, basalt, sandstone, and shale.

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Biology

Porsild’s Bryum can reproduce both sexually and asexually, and the production of spores is frequent when plants of both sexes are present at the same site.  This species is particularly adapted to both long periods of growth and inactivity in a desiccated (dried out) state, but it is susceptible to disturbance from drought and ice scouring, and rock slides can substantially reduce colonies.  The longest record for continuous existence of colonies at the same location is 75 years for a Greenland population.

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Threats

Porsild’s Bryum is susceptible to human-caused activities that destabilize rock cliffs.  These can include off-road vehicle use, coal mining exploration, road construction, and blasting.  Development and recreational activities are of particular concern for Porsild’s Bryum populations in Alberta and British Columbia.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Porsild's Bryum is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Porsild’s Bryum (Haplodontium macrocarpum) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

BC Bryophyte Recovery Team

  • Brenda Costanzo - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
    Phone: 250-387-9611  Fax: 250-356-9145  Send Email

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

16 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on Porsild’s bryum Mielichhoferia macrocarpa in Canada (2003-11-01)

    Although this species is currently placed in the genus Mielichhoferia, interpretations of recent molecular data suggested a closer relationship with members of the genus Bryum for this species. Pending publication, the correct name for Mielichhoferia macrocarpa will be Bryum porsildii. The most notable macroscopic characteristics for species recognition include the small size, lax shiny leaves, growth in dense cushions and often copious sporophyte production.
  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Porsild’s Bryum (Haplodontium macrocarpum) in Canada (2018-10-15)

    Porsild’s Bryum (Haplodontium macrocarpum) is a Holarctic disjunct species occurring at widely scattered sites across the northern hemisphere. The main portion of the species’ known global range is situated within North America, with Canada supporting the largest population worldwide. Porsild’s Bryum belongs to the large and globally distributed moss family Bryaceae, and was first described from a collection made by Thomas Drummond in 1828, in what is Jasper National Park, Alberta. The species forms bright green cushions that are characteristically saturated with water during the growing season. Individual stems are relatively small and range from 0.5 to 3.0 cm in length, with leaves that are conspicuously shiny or sparkly in appearance. Plants are dioicous, with male and female reproductive structures occurring on separate plants. When sexual reproduction is successful, female plants produce a single spore-bearing capsule. The capsule opening is surrounded by a single row of narrow and fragile teeth—a character that is rare in the Bryaceae family. Note: This COSEWIC assessment was received by the Minister on October 15th, 2018.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Porsild's Bryum (2004-10-22)

    A rare moss with a severely fragmented distribution of 10 confirmed locations in Canada restricted to 5 general areas. The species grows in mainly mountainous areas on wet calcareous cliffs, presence of constant seepage and winter desiccation. Direct threats to populations include natural and human-caused events that destabilize the rock cliff habitat. There has been a recent a decline in habitat quality at the two most abundant locations and substantial loss of mature individual plants at one of these. Only one locality is protected. There is uncertainty in status of northern Canadian populations.
  • Response Statement - Porsild's Bryum (2019-01-11)

    This rare moss is patchily distributed and occupies very little area across a large Canadian range. It relies on very specific, rare habitats on shaded calcareous substrates with continuous growing-season moisture. These habitats are threatened by drought, ice scour, storm events, and wildfire, all of which are expected to increase in severity with climate change. Some sites are also subject to threats from recreation and industrial development. Many habitat patches are smaller than would be required to support a viable population. With 19 known locations in eastern, western, and Arctic Canada, the distance between these patches exceeds the likely dispersal distance of the species. Although new colonies have been discovered in Alberta, the species is continuing to show declines and colony losses, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador, which will likely result in further declines.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Porsild’s Bryum (Haplodontium macrocarpum) in Canada (2017-12-22)

    The Minister of the Environment and the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency are the competent ministers for the recovery of the Porsild’s Bryum and have prepared this strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. It has been prepared in cooperation with the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the Territory of Nunavut, and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. The Recovery Strategy for the Porsild’s Bryum was originally posted in 2014. It has been amended for the purpose aligning the scientific name of Porsild’s Bryum with that on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act, which is Mielichhoferia macrocarpa.

Action Plans

  • Action Plan for the Porsild’s Bryum (Mielichhoferia macrocarpa) in Canada (2019-08-29)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the Porsild’s Bryum and has prepared this action plan to implement the recovery strategy, as per section 47 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut Territory, as per section 48(1) of SARA.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2004-10-19)

    The Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act(volume 144, number 12, 2010) (2010-05-27)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, hereby acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada’s (COSEWIC) assessments under subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 145, number 4, 2011) (2011-02-16)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act, hereby makes the annexed Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 139, number 15, 2005) (2005-07-27)

    The Minister of the Environment is recommending, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), that 43 species be added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. This recommendation is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2004 (2004-09-16)

    2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report 2017 to 2018 (2018-10-15)

    Over the past year COSEWIC assessed a total of 90 wildlife species and 11 of these were assigned a status of Not at Risk. Of these 90, COSEWIC re-examined the status of 38 wildlife species; of these, the majority (87%) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 771 wildlife species in various risk categories including 338 Endangered, 183 Threatened, 228 Special Concern, and 22 Extirpated (i.e. no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 18 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, and a total of 59 wildlife species have also been designated as Data Deficient and 197 have been assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2004 (2004-11-23)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.
  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species January 2019 (2019-01-15)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection afforded by the prohibitions and from recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 580 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments by May 13, 2019, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 14, 2019, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please visit the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry website at: The Minister of the Environment's Response to Species at Risk Assessments.

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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