Mosses grow on all sorts of substrates. Soil, tree bark, leaves, rocks, sand, dung, old socks abandoned in the woods, and now a whale! My labmates were out visiting the Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory in Santa Cruz, California over spring break and they brought back these photos of some Funaria hygrometrica (cord mosses) growing on a whale skeleton outside of the center. When they first told me that they found mosses growing on a whale I totally did not believe them, but I was imagining a breathing swimming whale. They even got permission from the Marine Center to collect some of the moss for us to use in our research collection. The description of this collection location on the label is going to be great! Thanks Laura and Juan Carlos for the photos.
You can read more about 'Ms. Blue' the whale here on the Marine Center's website. She has a pretty interesting story that goes from finding a blue whale washed up on the shore to her most recent relocation.
Happy April Fools Day!