Mystery Moss

Location: Redwoods, CA | F2.8, ISO 3200, 1/250 second

Let's take a little break from light-painting stuff, it's time to focus on something equally awesome - Moss.

Did you know that certain types of moss (Sphagnum genus) were used in World War I as bandages for wounds? Aside from being readily available, it's because they are super absorbent - moss can carry more than 3 times the amount of liquid that cotton does. Another type of peat moss is used for smoking malt used for the production of Scotch Whiskey, I'll drink to that.

Let's take a closer look:

moss1

Moss can't carry water like most other plants, it depends on water vapor from cool damp environments like the redwood forest. Here it is doing what it does best, soaking up moisture.

Moss has around 12,000 different species, you can find many different varieties in the redwoods - infinitely fascinating!

I'm not sure if this one below is actually moss, it could be a hornwort or perhaps a liverwort. These plants reproduce via spores.

Here's another thing about moss that you may not know (and a little unsettling, considering that people used it as a bandage). It's one of the easiest locations to find tardigrades (or water-bears) - take a piece of moss and dry it out, then add water and search for creatures with an electron microscope (easier said than done). Tardigrades are very strange organisms that can be found just about anywhere, from the arctic, to deep sea, forests, deserts, etc. they are also the first known animal to survive the vacuum of space, we have a lot to learn from these alien-like creatures:

tardigrade

Check out more interesting environments in my Nature Gallery: