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Vernal Pools & Mosses [Nature
Posted on December 18, 2015 @ 11:39:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I took some time yesterday and today to film some of my natural surroundings.

Yesterday I encountered an icy vernal pool and after looking at it for awhile decided I wanted to do a video study focusing on pattern formation, life at the edge, and cold-hardy amphibious plants. Mosses are a family of plant species that are cold-hardy and amphibious in part because they are "non-vascular" plants (no internal circulatory vessels).

In my second video which I took today the temperatures are warmer. I was checking up on a white birch log that was innoculated with Shitake Mushroom spawn 3 months ago. I also noticed all the pretty mosses growing around it. I've become quite interested in mosses lately because of a book called Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. Also, this is a time of year around here when the moss family of plants (a.k.a Bryophytes) are most noticeably alive in the forests (after the evergreen trees). In this video I was trying to determine how many species of mosses there are near the log. I thought there were at least three species - one that is more tree-like, one that is more fern-like, and one that is more fur-like in shape. I'm still new to moss identification so I can't get any more specific than that at the moment.

The moss family is an under appreciated class of plants considering that all plant life on land owes it's existence to the mosses. They invaded the land from the oceans. Mosses are an evolutionary step up from primitive ocean algaes. Some people call them "primitive" plants but I think "primordial" is often a better term. They are primordial because from moss forms all other forms in the plant world were realized (see Fundamentals of Pattern). There is still evidence of mosses in the body plan of all plants. That might be going overboard to make the point but the microcosm of the moss communities in the video above bear a family resemblance to plants, or elements of plants, that exist at a larger scale.

A recent noteworthy event in the moss world is the release of Mossin' Annies new book The Magical World of Moss Gardening (August, 2015).

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