A NEW plant has been discovered by the University of the South Pacific's Institute of Applied Science (IAS) graduate student researcher and field assistants.
Graduate student researcher Mereia Katafono, and field assistants Manoa Maiwaqa and Saula Mule discovered the genus called Cephaloziella while conducting field work for Ms Katafono's Master of Science research project on tree trunk-inhabiting bryophytes, a study which is a first of its kind in Fiji and the region.
The curator of the South Pacific Regional Herbarium at IAS, Marika Tuiwawa, said the finding of this new genus record potentially meant more new species records for Fiji.
He said the record added to the 48 new liverwort (species) records recently published by PÃ³cs et al in 2011
The plant, belonging to the non-vascular group of bryophyte plants, was discovered in the lowlands of Viti Levu. It was found growing on the lower trunk of a tree fern at the Vago Reserve near Colo-i-Suva in Naitasiri.
Cephaloziella belongs to the family Cephaloziellaceae, which is a group of very small, thread-like liverwort plants. Liverworts are one of three groups of bryophytes which are said to be the earliest green plants to move to land.