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Researchers discover two new peat moss species living in S. Korea's peat bogs

By Park Sae-jin Posted : February 4, 2022, 16:30 Updated : February 4, 2022, 16:34

[Courtesy of NIBR]

SEOUL -- A state-run biological resources research body in South Korea has discovered two new species of sphagnum palustre, commonly known as peat moss, living in peat bogs. The new species will be registered to the National Species List of Korea in late 2022.
 
A peat bog is a wetland that accumulates peat, which is a deposit of dead plant materials. The wetland environment is home to many species of mosses, plants and animals. Peat bogs cover about three percent of Earth's land surface and they are a natural carbon-capturing system that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to trap the greenhouse gas in the ground.
 
The National Institute of Biological Resources (NIBR) said in a statement on February 4 that its research team came across two new species of sphagnum palustre in peat bogs located in the southern resort island of Jeju and Ansan, an industrial city southwest of Seoul, during their research in 2021 on the diversity of bryophytes, which are non-vascular land plant species.
 
Researchers used genetic tests to find that the new peat moss species had not been reported in Asia and they were similar to peat moss species found in North America. "As the importance of peat wetlands, which are carbon reservoirs, and bog moss, the core species of peat wetlands, is emphasized worldwide, we will continue to study the characteristics of native sphagna," said NIBR plant resources department director Kang Jae-shin. 

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