Experimental Design

The setting of sampling stations largely followed BRYOLAT methodology. The BRYOLAT project (2007-2010: Altitudinal and latitudinal gradients of bryophyte communities in the Western Indian Ocean) started in the Mascarenes, Madagascar, Comoros and Kenya, and now counts 14 elevational transects around the world, some of them part of the MOVECLIM project (2012-2015: Montane vegetation as listening posts for climate change), which includes the Azorean archipelago.

This methodology was designed for the study of bryophyte diversity and distribution, aiming to obtain a large amount of data, using a stratified sampling strategy along environmental gradients in the tropics and subtropics, aiming to be expedite in the field. It may also be used to characterize the vascular flora, namely ferns, trees, shrubs and grasses, and in other climatic conditions.

This methodological approach involves the delimitation of one transect per island, ideally facing the same orientation where, at 200 m elevation steps, two plots of 10 m x 10 m (P1 and P2), are established at distances varying from 10 to 15 m. Different biological taxa require different refinements of the original design.