This set bundles the three volumes of Austral Hepaticae published in the Nova Hedwigia, Beihefte series from 2000 to 2020. These three books complete the comprehensive and significant evolutionary-systematic research program completed by Professor Schuster which began in the mid-1950s and revolutionised our understanding of both relationships and diversity in liverworts. His legacy is a classification that remains recognisable as largely his, particularly at deeper phylogenetic levels. Professor Schuster had strong views on character evolution and framed his interpretation of character evidence and relationships in accordance with these.
The enduring value of Schuster's work, despite some revision of our understanding of relationships wrought by molecular phylogenetic investigations, lies in the wealth of astute observations and superb illustrations of morphology and anatomy completed by Professor Schuster. As a compendium of morphological character data the three parts of Austral Hepaticae are unsurpassed and will be particularly valuable as morphological and molecular data are synthesised in future studies of character evolution in the hepatics.
Professor Schuster was possibly the last hepaticologist to have such a detailed and world-wide understanding of these families and was able, as a single individual, to produce a coherent and comprehensive classificatory scheme that encompasses all leafy liverworts. For regional workers on the hepatic flora this work provides a broad, cohesive, and synthetic overview of relationships, which serves the dual purpose of facilitating identification of the plants, in addition to communicating hypotheses regarding their relationships.