Scientists Examine Bryophytes to Understand Innate UV Protection

In a recent study from the University of Minnesota, published in the Journal of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Education, researchers examined the effects of UV on bryophytes. According to report, although they generally are not used in undergraduate studies, an inquiry-based laboratory exercise for introductory students implemented a controlled experiment to investigate effects of increased ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure on the bryophyte liverwort gemmae. This exercise integrated the impacts of climate change on plant populations with experimental design and liverwort ecology.

According to the American Society of Agronomy, the researchers believe that studying the effects of UV radiation on bryophytes can help understand its impacts on crops, ecological systems and humans. Since plants to not have the same ability to move out of direct harm from UV radiation, they have developed a variety of systems to reduce its impacts through evolution. As bryophytes were the first plants to emerge from aquatic life, they represent a key link in this evolution.

Since the exercise was geared more toward the development research and testing skills in students, specific results were not discussed. However, the concept could be very relevant to skin care researchers and sun product developers. 

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