3DMoss PI Kirsten Fisher and graduate student Jenna Ekwealor recently completed a project they started back in 2014. After finding that Syntrichia caninervis can survive completely under quartz rocks, they set out to compare the abiotic conditions and community composition of the unique Mojave hypolithic moss habitat with that of the adjacent soil surface. The article on this project was published in PLOS ONE and Bob Sanders of UC Berkeley wrote up a great story covering it on the UC Berkeley News page.
Be sure to also check out the video in the supplementary material of the open access PLOS ONE article. In addition to Kirsten Fisher, you can also hear the voices of 3DMoss PIs Brent Mishler and Llo Stark!
Cristina (NAU-Bowker Lab) set up her moss transplant garden this month! Adding to the current common garden experiments that were recently harvested, Cristina set up two small common gardens focused specifically on Syntrichia caninervis and Syntrichia ruralis in isolation from other biocrust species by reciprocally transplanting Syntrichia cores among the 3 sites along the currently established elevational-climate gradient in the Colorado Plateau.
UNLV doctoral student, Theresa Clark, recently traveled to Argentina to co-instruct a biocrust outreach workshop. While on a field trip she did some moss hunting and spotted a species of Syntrichia high in the Andes Mountains! This population was looking rather stressed (red leaf tissue), perhaps from recent frost-desiccation events, or perhaps from over-exposure to radiation during unexpected decreases in winter snow pack, which leaves these cushions exposed to additional solar radiation when they would otherwise be protected under at least a thin layer of snow during the winter.