Think you have to go to the tropics and other exotic locations to discover new species? Think again! Every month new species of mosses and lichens are being described from North America, particularly in the west. Moreover, species previously unknown to Alberta and Canada are still being discovered on a yearly basis. Botany is a great field to work in if you love discovering new species!
In Alberta, there are some 1800 species of vascular plants, and over 1000 species of bryophytes (mosses) and lichens. There are lots of beautiful and interesting species to work on and the list just keeps getting longer. The Botany program focuses on the evolution and ecology of plant life in northwest North America. Due to its diverse topography, coupled with a complex geological history, the area has great number of plant species. The taxonomy and evolutionary relationships of both mosses and lichens are still very poorly understood; significant revisions of higher level relationships occurs much more frequently than in most other groups of organisms except perhaps for invertebrate animals. Thus there is still a large amount of research waiting to be done on these organisms—research that can be done right here in Alberta!