Moss hid from the climate of the Mojave desert under the translucent pieces of quartz

American researchers analyzed the species composition of mosses in the Mojave desert in areas with different microclimate, in particular, on soil under pieces of milky quartz. They came to the conclusion that such unusual habitats can be micropezidae for those types of mosses, which the local climate is ill-suited, and if not to check what types live in such inconspicuous places, can be significantly wrong estimates of the species diversity of the studied community. Scientific article published in PLoS ONE.

Small immobile organisms, such as mosses, lichens, fungi, cyanobacteria (that is, many who used to be called lower plants) can be satisfied with a very small amount of resources for life. Partly responsible for their ability to cryptobiosis, that is, the temporary suspension of life processes that are often caused by lack of water. Especially this ability is developed in mosses: in the drought of their cells may take almost all the water, but as soon as humidity rises, they come alive and start to grow. Due to this, mosses can live in deserts where rain does not happen for several months.

However, in addition to the General climate of the area should take into account the microclimate in individual points: it can be very different from the overall picture. For example, in the soil under stones water may be much higher than in open areas. Some gemoliticheskie (i.e. stony) types spetsializiruyutsya on such habitats and is even able to photosynthesize there, if the stones are translucent pieces of various varieties of quartz. Most of lipoliticeski organisms studied cyanobacteria, but also mosses can grow under the quartz.

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