Field of Science

Winter Mosses

A friend of mine recently moved to Virginia and on a hike in the Shenandoah National Park she spotted some mosses growing on boulders in the winter snow. Since I still have not taken any moss photos this winter, I decided to share hers on the blog.

This rock looks to have some type of Orthotrichaceae with brown sporophytes left over from last season. There also appears to be some Dicranum sp. in the lower left of the photo. These are just my best guess given what I can make out from the photo.

For this photo I am not sure what type of moss is in the lower center of the photo. Would anyone like to hazard a guess? As for the large patch of lighter green moss, I would bet money that is a species of Thuidium.

Thanks for sending the photos Em!

Bryophytes and Biodiversity

I was reading Science Daily this morning with my cup of coffee in hand and came across this article. I have heard about this research before since my advisor, Bernard Goffinet, was involved, but had not seen this article or the primary research publications on the project. The project that they describe explores the biodiversity in the forests and tundra areas of Chile. This biodiversity in southern South America is compared to that of the southern tip of Africa. They determined that "5% of the world's bryophytes are found at the southern tip of the Americas, in an area representing less than 0.01% of the Earth's land surface". That is quite a high number of bryophyte species for the area exmined. Thus these regions are considered bryophyte biodiversity hot spots.

Another interesting aspect of this project is that they are encouraging ecotourism and have written a bryophyte field guide for the region. Conservation efforts have also been undertaken to protect the flora and fauna of the region by establishing the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

You can read the article from Science Daily here.
Or you can link to the primary research article below.

Rozzi R., J. Armesto, B. Goffinet, W.R. Buck, F. Massardo, J. Silander, Jr., M. Kalin-Arroyo, S. Russell, C. Anderson, L. Cavieres, B. Callicott. 2008. Changing biodiversity conservation lenses: Insights from the Subantarctic non-vascular flora of southern South America. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6: 131-137.

Both southern Chile and South Africa are on my list of places that I would like to visit some day, but for now I will have to settle with readng about them and their fabulous flora from far away. Enjoy!

Moss Slogans

I saw this slogan generator over at Seeds Aside and I thought that I would give it a spin. Some of the slogans that it spits out are pretty clever, but I admit I pressed the sloganize button a number of times before I came up with this one. I thought that it was fun and could stimulate some philosophical ponderings.

Wouldn't You Rather Be Moss?

Enter a word for your own slogan:

Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator. Get more moss slogans.

What type of plant would you want to be? I like mosses but if I had to choose one type of plant to be I think that I would pick something larger. I like many of the trees that grow on brackish coastline areas that are called mangrove habitat. I think that I would be a Rhizophera mangle. The plants are water dispersed and I think that it would be great to have an oceanic adventure before settling down to live in the constant wash of the tides.

The Moss Room Restaurant

Amy over at Cells in Culture visited the California Academy of Sciences during winter vacation. She came across a restaurant called the Moss Room, pictured here and below. The online photo is a little far away for an ID, but Amy's up close assessment was that the wall is covered by mats of dried Sphagnum (peat moss). The wall also looks to include some ferns, bromeliads (pineapple relatives), and maybe an orchid, just above the E and M in the sign. From the photos the moss looks pretty brown and not very green in spots, leading me to think that some of it may no longer be alive. And that is too bad as keeping moss alive doesn't take much more than a little water and light.

I think that their logo featuring two sporophytes is neat, however it does not appear botanically accurate. Sporophytes consist of a single capsule (sporangium) that contains spores, elevated on an unbranched stalk. Their logo looks as though the two stalks are attached at the base, which is just not so. But it was probably not designed by a botanist, so we will cut them a little slack.

The menu features Grilled Monterey Squid-chickpeas and jalapeno pesto/ Smoked Trout. Needless to say this restaurant's food is a little outside of the price range of a Grad Student, but Amy did get the free photo of the moss wall. Thanks for use of the photo Amy!

List of Botany Blogs

Are you are in search of more blogs to read that are botanically centered? If so I just heard about a list that was compiled of 100 botany blogs. The blogs highlighted range from the general to those written by professionals, with topics spanning climate focused to taxonomy to botanical gardens. I think that it offers a nice selection. I have read quite a few of them (Gravity's Rainbow, Seeds Aside, A Neotropical Savanna,...etc.) through the Berry Go Round community. Or I know the authors personally my pal Emily writes the blog No Seeds about ferns. And if you scroll down to #29, I made the cut! Moss Plants and More was kindly included on the list. Thanks to Christina Laun, the author of the article, for including this blog in the list. There are also a number of blogs that I was not aware of and thus have never read. The world wide web is such a large place and there is a lot of junk out there sorting through to find the good bits can be a challenge. I organize the blogs that I follow using Google Reader. It is super handy for keeping up to date on the latest post from my favorite blogs. However I usually do not read the posts using the reader. Most times I click through to the actual blog where there is more color and a stylish layout that makes the reading all that more enjoyable. Enjoy the selection and I hope that you find a blog that satisfies your botanical hunger.