Propagule banks are assumed to be able to store considerable genetic variability. Bryophyte populations are expected to rely more heavily on stored propagules than those of seed plants due to the vulnerability of the haploid gametophyte. This reliance has important implications for the genetic structure and evolutionary potential of surface populations. A liverwort, Mannia fragrans, was used to test whether the bryophyte diaspore bank functions as a "genetic memory." If a diaspore bank is capable of conserving genetic variability over generations, the levels of genetic diversity in the soil are expected to be similar or higher than at the surface. Surface and diaspore bank constituents of two populations of M. fragrans were investigated. Genetic structure and diversity measured as unbiased heterozygosity were analyzed using three ISSR markers. Similar genetic diversities were found in the soil (Hs = 0.067) and at the surface (Hs= 0.082). However, more haplotypes and specific haplotype lineages were present in soil samples. The results suggest that the bryophyte diaspore bank has an important role in accumulating genetic variability over generations and seasons. It is postulated that the role of the diaspore bank as a "genetic memory" is especially important in species of temporarily available habitats that have long-lived spores and genetically variable populations.