Field of Science

Moss Video

I was searching YouTube to see if any other interesting videos featuring mosses had been posted of late and I came across this one. It is entitled Moss: A Tribute by Brian Engh and you can link to the original posting here. I think that the video is very well done. I especially enjoy the way moss is placed in a historical framework, starting with their initial foray onto land. The animation of the line drawings and slide images are also really great.

The video does a good job of communicating interesting facts about moss. I only have a couple of comments on the facts presented. The video states that "rain carries the spores to new places". Though they might be splashed out of the capsule by rain, that is not their main mode of dispersal. Spores are dispersed primarily by the wind. Their small size makes it possible for them to be dispersed very long distances even using the jet-stream.

Later in the video it is stated that "when one of these (a tree) dies, moss helps reduce it to nutrients". I guess it does help the tree to decay, but it is in a round-about way. Moss grows on fallen logs because they are very good substrate. They are moist and retain a lot of water which is good for the mosses. The moss in turn keeps the log even more moist as a fuzzy green covering over the log. This added moisture can promote fungal growth. Fungi are the organisms that actually break down and eat the dead tree matter, whereas mosses undergo photosynthesis and make their own food. They do not break down the tree and eat it. Also mosses receive most all of their mineral nutrition from rain water, so that is not coming from the decaying log either. I know that might seem a little picky, but I just wanted to clarify how these organisms are interacting.

All the rest of the facts and ideas presented in the video are right on. This is definitely a great tribute to the mosses. Enjoy!

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