In case you thought Sphagnum was only found in boreal peatlands. This is one of my most favorite discoveries, carved into a Sphagnum hill on Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe. I've imagined all sorts of stories....someone loves this place. Sphagnum hill and door in Guadeloupe.
My 5 favorite Sphagnum facts:
1) Sphagnum is a genus with >350 species thriving all over the world.
2) Sphagnum is THE most important genus for carbon in the biosphere. Its biomass stores more carbon (once in the atmosphere) than any other genus of life. 2/ Photograph of Sphagnum mosses
Vascular plants have roots to acquire water & nutrients, how can Sphagnum compete? They are master manipulators! Fact 3: As they mature, Sphagnum cells release protons, which lowers adjacent pH & benefits the Sphagnum. Sneaky acid ninjas. 3/ Image of Sphagnum acid release and cation exchange capacity
Fact 4: Another way that Sphagnum are master manipulators. During development, they resorb ~half of their living cells creating a web of green/photosynthetic & dead (hyaline) cells. This makes Sphagnum super sponges! Hyaline cells also are habitat for micro & macro organisms. 4/
#5 favorite fact- Sphagnum lack internal water-conducting tissue but can still move water. How? Through passive capillary action, Sphagnum can "wick" water. This is due partly to individual plant morphology but it's also a neighborhood effect. Social Sphagnum traits! 5/5
Tweeting about the wonders (and perils) of Sphagnum moss has kept my head out of politics today. Many thanks and I appreciate you all. This 👇 is a either a pickle or a Sphagnum green cell, both of which I adore.

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More from @queenofpeat

14 Nov 20
With a lot of debate this week on how models simulate permafrost thaw & climate impacts, I want to explain how we actually MEASURE permafrost change. Follow this thread for the pretty scenes or the weird science. Here is me caught in a surprise ❄️ squall w/ permafrost gear. 1/ Picture of Dr. Turetsky holding metal field equipment on a r
The traditional method of monitoring permafrost change is through the trusty frost probe. In this quick video I explain our work on 🔥-permafrost interactions while taking a frost probe measurement. 2/
Below check out a time lapse video of frost probing along one of our transects in the Northwest Territories 🇨🇦. I share these field sites with an array of incredible students & the fabulous @forestecogrp. 3/
Read 10 tweets
12 Nov 20
@ClimateOfGavin @mammuthus @theresphysics Buckle up for a permafrost ride! This paper is a thought experiment that relies on my empirical & modeling work on permafrost C release. First, I ♥️ using models for thought experiments so that is a positive here. Below is what permafrost THAW looks like - it's complicated! 1/ Image
@ClimateOfGavin @mammuthus @theresphysics Permafrost is represented very crudely in most models to date. We know these frozen soils store a lot of C, but we know that only a fraction of that C is vulnerable to decomposition post-THAW. As temp constraints are released, there are other mechanisms that protect that C. 2/ Image
@ClimateOfGavin @mammuthus @theresphysics Only a fraction of permafrost C is vulnerable to release upon THAW, & of that most will be released as CO2. I study methane & yes it's important & likely to be more so in the future. The authors' thought experiment regarding fraction of methane release in this paper is silly. 3/ Image
Read 5 tweets
2 Nov 20
It's a great day for a permafrost mash-up! Let's combine a few things I love - permafrost, language, & culture. Follow this thread if you want to learn some *cool* words from across the Arctic. Great for Scrabble or your next northern adventure. My top 10 #Permaterms 1/
My first #permaterm is pingo, which means small hill in Inuvialuit. A pingo is a mound in the permafrost region that has a core of massive ice & covered w/ soil & vegetation. Several are protected in the Pingo National Landmark area,Tuktoyaktuk Northwest Terroritories Canada. 2/ Pingo National Landmark area,Tuktoyaktuk Northwest Terrorito
Pingos vary in size & can have a crater that form as the surface ruptures during doming. The term pingo has been part of western science lexicon since the 1930’s (attributed to botanist Alf Porsild) & today is preferred over the older technical term hydrolaccolith. 3/ Image of a cratered pingo in northwestern Canada.
Read 20 tweets
9 Oct 20
Welcome to my dive into #MarvelousMoss. Most of what we know about plants centers on vascular plants. But there is this incredibly rich & interesting lineage(s) of nonvascular plants or bryophytes. These plants are other-worldly, create habitat & be habitat, & defy physics! 1/ Image
Bryophytes=liverworts, hornworts, mosses are often referred to as cryptogams (meaning hidden reproduction). But I think about cryptic diversity. Most of the plant diversity in northern ecosystems is on the ground, difficult to ID, but provides loads of important functions. 2/ Arctic mosses and ground co...
Time for a deep time dive! Mosses are the closest relatives to the first land plants. The first bryophytes emerged in the Cambrian (aka Cambrian explosion of diversification) while the living clade of vascular plants emerged later in the Ordovician. 3/…
Read 19 tweets
28 Sep 20
🔥is now shaping the Arctic. In @NatureGeosci
we outline a call to action. Key messages - 1) a global climate problem requires a global scale solution, 2) western science can't tackle this without Indigenous knowlege holders. w/ @jmccarty_geo @DrTELS…
2/ Will Arctic 🔥 burn into ancient carbon stored in peat & permafrost? We conclude that the 2020 fires in Siberia showed signs of holdover or zombie fires, which can overwinter in deep peat & influence burning the following season. This represents momentum in the climate system.
3/ Scientists have long debated the use of the term zombie fire, but also the importance of these holdover conditions. How important are they? Moving from anecdotal to monitoring will require collaborating with local knowledge holders.…
Read 7 tweets
24 Sep 20
Stay tuned for my top 10 facts about #BadAssBogs! Bogs are weird, logistically challenging & sometimes smelly. But they have fascinating plants, are an archeology & paleoecology resource, & are one of the most efficient stockpiles of carbon in the biosphere. What's not to ♥️? ImageImage
BogFact 1: Did you know that bogs breathe? The bog surface shrinks & expands as the water table moves up & down. This is a great example of the ecohydrology that makes bogs so unique. The traits of bog plants & soil reinforce the bog sponge -it's adaptive!…
BogFact 2: Bogs are actually quite rare. These are ombrotrophic systems. Ombros=rain; trophic=fed. Scientists gravitate towards bogs because they are closed systems and relative easy to study. But in 🇨🇦 bogs are <10% of peatland cover. Fens (surface & ground water fed) rule! Fens rule the landscape nea...
Read 12 tweets

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