Field of Science

A Mossy Bath Rug

A friend sent me this link to a bath mat made of moss. They don't specify what types of mosses they are using, but it looks to be Hypnum or maybe Thuidium. It would make for a pretty interesting bathroom experiment. Mosses do not require too much light and they love high humidity levels, thus the bathroom sounds like the perfect place.

I do wonder where they are getting the mosses. Wild collected, from a local landscaper, or are they growing them for this particular project?  

My Bryology Bookshelf - VI

Field guides to mosses are not super common. If you are a longtime reader of this blog you are probably familiar with my frustrations that there is not a good field guide to the mosses and other bryophytes of eastern North America. There are highly technical books that require the use of a microscope (Crum and Anderson's Mosses of Eastern North America). One of the non-technical books that I have is Walk Softly Upon the Earth: A Pictorial Field Guide to Missouri Mosses, Liverworts and Lichens, by Lisa Potter Thomas and James R. Jackson. This book includes photographs of each species with a scale bar to help with the sizes of the plants and color illustrations for many. The descriptions have a wealth of information covering the habit, species they might be mistaken for and information on the etymology of the names. 

I found it especially interesting and fun that they start the book in just the same way that I start my presentations about mosses. We both start by going through all the plants that are sometimes called moss or are mistaken for mosses but really are not. There is also a section where they discuss the mythology and lore associated with mosses. Scattered throughout the book are whimsical line drawings of the good fairies from German folklore called Moosweibchen. 

I think that the title of the book is a perspective that all of us can strive to implement in our lives. I thoroughly appreciate the authors cautions about over-collecting plants from the wild. I think that is a point that some books on bryophytes miss.

My Bryology Bookshelf - V

Another book that I picked up recently was a great book of fabulous images from Bill and Nancy Malcolm, entitled The Forest Carpet. This book is from the authors of the spectacular bryophyte glossary. They cover all three lineages of bryophytes (liverworts, mosses and hornworts), one lineage of ferns, a couple of fern allies (aka. fern friends), and lichens. The images are large, filling the pages of this coffee-table sized book. Each image comes with an informative caption, identifying the specific species pictured and notes the magnification. There are photos of the plants growing in their particular habitat, closeups of the exterior of the plants, and some sections showing the interior arrangements of the cells.

The goal of this book is to make people aware of the smaller organisms that make up the green background that covers the forest floor like a carpet in New Zealand, hence the title. I think that this book does a great job of immersing you into this miniature world!

Botanical Images

For the past five years, the Botanical Society of America has sponsored a image competition to fund student travel to the annual conference. It is called the TRIARCH "Botanical Images" Student Travel Award. Out of the 83 images submitted this year, three of the images featured mosses. They are the following images:

#19 showing a mixture of small organisms including mosses, lichens and green algae.
#25 showing a bright yellow slime mold climbing the sporophytes of Dicranum flagellare.
#26 showing a cluster of antheridia in Rhizomnium punctatum.

I really love #25! The title of the image is "Ever Higher" and it is just a great description for thinking of the slime mold climbing the saprophyte stalk. I also think that the color contrast is great between the green sporophyte and the yellow slime mold. 

Botanical Society of America Awards

Thanks to all my great colleagues (EEB Grads, Jones Labmates & Goffinet Labmates) who helped me get my talk ready for the national meeting. I totally appreciate all the help and support!

Berry Go Round #30

The latest edition of the plant carnival Berry Go Round has been posted at Brainripples. I was off in Providence, Rhode Island this week attending the Botanical Society of America annual conference. Today I am back in the office but I am in need of some decompression before diving back into my research, so I think that I will spend the day enjoying the Berry Go Round carnival and will get back to work full-tilt tomorrow. I listened to some great presentations and heard about a lot of cool research. A good portion of it was bryology related and I will look through my notes over the next couple of days to find some fun stories to share here on the blog. 

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