Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

Dwelling on the limits of our usual notion, mosses are a typical yet principally ignored section of the flora and fauna. amassing Moss is a fantastically written mixture of technology and private mirrored image that invitations readers to discover and examine from the elegantly basic lives of mosses.

Robin Wall Kimmerer's ebook isn't really an identity advisor, neither is it a systematic treatise. really, it's a sequence of associated own essays that may lead normal readers and scientists alike to an figuring out of ways mosses dwell and the way their lives are intertwined with the lives of numerous different beings, from salmon and hummingbirds to redwoods and rednecks. Kimmerer basically and artfully explains the biology of mosses, whereas while reflecting on what those interesting organisms need to educate us.

Drawing on her different studies as a scientist, mom, instructor, and author of local American background, Kimmerer explains the tales of mosses in clinical phrases in addition to within the framework of indigenous methods of figuring out. In her publication, the average historical past and cultural relationships of mosses develop into a robust metaphor for tactics of dwelling within the world.

Gathering Moss will entice a variety of readers, from bryologists to these drawn to average background and the surroundings, local americans, and modern nature and technological know-how writing.

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Without water a dry moss is incapable of growth. Lacking roots, mosses can’t replenish their supply of water from the soil, and survive only at the mercy of rainfall. Mosses are therefore most abundant in consistently moist places, such as the spray zone of waterfalls and cliffs seeping with spring water. But mosses also inhabit places that dry out, such as rocks exposed to the noonday sun, xeric sand dunes, and even deserts. The branches of a tree can be a desert in the summer and a river in the spring.

Mosses without such favorable design dried out too quickly and were eliminated by natural selection. Watch a drop of rainwater fall on a broad, flat oak leaf. It beads up for a minute, reflecting the sky like a crystal ball, and then slides off to the ground. Most tree leaves are designed to shed water, leaving the task of water absorption to the roots. Tree leaves are covered with a thin layer of wax, a barrier to water entering by absorption or leaving via evaporation. But moss leaves have no barrier at all, and are only one cell thick.

The force behind this divergence into new species is related to the inevitable competition between siblings. Remember wanting what your brother had, just because he had it? At the family dinner table, if everyone wants a drumstick from the Sunday chicken someone will be disappointed. When two closely related species put the same demands on their environment, with not quite enough to go around, both will end up with less than they need to survive. So, in families, siblings can coexist by developing their own preferences, and if you specialize in white meat or the mashed potatoes, you can avoid competition for the drumsticks.

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