Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More about moss than you ever wanted to know...

With our 75 inches of rain a year, moss grows thoughout the forests in Kodiak. It makes a wonderful cushion for your feet as you hike. Although at first sight all moss in a forest might appear the same, I have been told there are actually 50 different species in Kodiak alone. You can see them growing from the top of a Sitka Spruce all the way down to the ground! If you look carefully, you can pick up their differences. And in the winter almost all stay green; so even though it might be cold and the skies are gray, you get to see greenery all year long!!

Here is some information I gathered from Wikipedia for those who do not mind "TMI" (Too Much Information). Algae and moss are quite different from animals and even higher plants. They do not have a vascular system. They do not make seeds. At certain times moss produce spores that may appear as beak-like capsules borne aloft on thin stalks. Most interestingly, the moss, and even the kelp we see, are more like our sperm or eggs. They have only 1/2 the number of chromosomes as adults than when they make their spores. That is opposite from animals and higher plants. Their adult number of chromosomes is haploid while we, as animals (and most plants), are diploid in number.

Now you know the rest of the story. So next time you have an argument with someone and want to make them think you have insulted them, tell them they are just a diploid!

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