Super Neat Ornithology News:
Migratory Birds May Ferry Mosses Around the World
New study sheds light on botanical puzzle.
by Chelsea Harvey
There’s a mystery afoot in the moss world.
Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts—collectively known as bryophytes—have some of the widest ranges of any species on the planet. Why genetically close populations can crop up thousands of miles apart, from the frigid tundra to the balmy Argentinian countryside, is a question that has baffled scientists for decades.
As it turns out, migratory birds may be their long-distance carriers.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut believe that migratory shorebirds carry diaspores—the seeds or spores plants use to reproduce—in their feathers, a possible mechanism for the plants’ amazing ranges. While this theory was proposed by botanists as long ago as the 1940s, “it’s all been circumstantial until now,” said Lily Lewis, lead author on the paper…
(read more: Audubon Magazine)
Photograph by Mark Peck/Creative Commons