Field of Science

The Reski Laboratory on Twitter

I just discovered that the Reski Laboratory is on twitter. They study the moss Physcomitrella patens at the University of Freiburg in Germany.

I am tossing around the idea of using twitter when I don't have time for longer blog postings. I signed up for an account to check it out and you can link to it here (Not that I have twittered anything yet). I am trying to wrap my mind around how I would use it and how it might add to the blogging. We shall see. It is another experiment!

Feel free to leave a comment about this new experiment to use twitter in association with this blog for communicating science and all that is mossy to a broader audience.
What do you think?
Yes, twitter is great and it will add to the blog.
No, twitter is evil and focusing on more blog posts would be time better spent.

Berry Go Round #22

The latest edition of the plant carnival Berry Go Round has been posted at Seeds Aside. One of my posts from this past month has been included in the lineup! Link through to checkout all the interesting botanical topics from November 2009. 

P.S. Be sure to note that the banner heading at Seeds Aside features some great looking plants.

For more about blog carnivals and my posts about the earlier editions of Berry Go Round, click here.

Some Birds Like the Moss

One of the ornithologists in my department forwarded along this article about Australian woodland bird conservation that mentions mosses.

R.M. Montague-Drake, D.B. Lindenmayer and R.B. Cunningham. 2009. Factors affecting site occupancy by woodland bird species of conservation concern. Biological Conservation Volume 142, Issue 12, Pages 2896-2903.

They focused on  patches of woodland and studied which aspects of the woodland affect the presence of 13 different bird species. One of the factors they measured was the % of the ground or rocks that was covered by mosses and lichens.

They found that 5 of the bird species were more likely to be found in woodlands with high percentages of moss and lichen cover. They lichen-ed them! (Teaching Bryology and Lichenology there were so many bad lichen jokes during the laboratory period, but I still found them totally funny.) 

The authors mention that often in other studies they do not distinguish between 'bare ground' and 'moss and lichen covered'. I would have to agree that there is a big difference between the two. Moss layers hold moisture, prevent soil erosion, and serve as housing for invertebrates and other small critters.

It is great to read that some species of birds thoroughly appreciate their moss and lichen neighbors!