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Desert mosses use quartz rocks as sun shades

ScienceDaily (July 24, 2020)

Titre : Desert mosses use quartz rocks as sun shades

Some mosses in the Mojave Desert live under translucent quartz as protection from the sun

ScienceDaily (July 24, 2020)

Desert conditions are harsh, and mosses often spend much of the year in a dormant condition, desiccated and brown, until rain comes. Researchers discovered two species of moss that found a hiding place under translucent milky quartz where they can stay moist and green and continue to photosynthesize and grow while other mosses on the soil surface go dormant. This is the first green plant known to seek such refuge.

The soil under these rocks retains more moisture than exposed desert soil, said Jenna Ekwealor, while enough light leaks through the milky quartz to allow the tiny mosses to remain green with chlorophyll. Mosses actually prefer dim light, making these conditions ideal for growth. In contrast, nearby mosses in full sun are dried up and black.

One species of desert moss seems able to survive at high elevations only under the milky quartz, which occurs in outcroppings scattered around the desert. Mosses don’t grow under granitic stones in the area because sunlight can’t get through to the soil.

Story Source  : University of California - Berkeley

Annonce (ScienceDaily)

Page publiée le 23 juin 2021