When I think about moss reproduction, I usually think about the fact that mosses have flagellated sperm that require water to swim to the female archegonium that holds the egg. Researchers at Portland State University have been thinking about sperm survival when desiccated. I think that this is a really interesting question. Imagine that it rains and a moss sperm begins its journey swimming toward and egg. What happens if mid-travel the water dries up and the sperm is stranded? Can the sperm cell survive and resume its journey when it is wet again?
In this study, the effects of desiccation on sperm cells were examined in three moss species.
Shortlidge, E. E., Rosenstiel, T. N. and Eppley, S. M. 2012. Tolerance to environmental desiccation in moss sperm. New Phytologist 194: 741–750.