June 20th, 2018 Bear Hill Blog Post: New Mosses!

Yesterday Walter and I hiked up and around Bear Hill in the northwestern part of the Fells. We came prepared this time with a list of mosses that had been collected there in the past, so we could check things off as we went, as well as add to it. As of right now for the Bear Hill area we have 35 total moss species that Walter and I either saw, or collected yesterday and have already identified (aka this number could still get bigger!).


Again yesterday we collected Andreaea rothii, the small dark colored rock loving moss with the chinese lantern like capsules that I had a nice picture of in last week’s blog post. Great to have found it again, and it is making is think that A. rothii might be more common in the fells, even though in New England it is known as the harder of the two species that occur here to find.


I think one of the most amazing aspects about mosses is that they are able to live in such extreme environments. We walked up to the tower on Bear Hill and to our surprise there were mosses growing all over it! It was so fun to walk up the spiral staircase to each new floor of the tower and see mosses growing on the walls. Here is a few pictures I captured of mosses (and Walter!) at the tower: 








After the tower Walter and I kept walking down the slope to the woods below on the south side of Bear Hill. We decided to take a different trail back to the parking lot and we of course got to see some new species for Bear Hill along the way including Bartramia pomiformis and Fissidens bushii. Fissidens is a unique looking moss that has very special leaves that look like hands waving. Fissidens is usually found on soil or rocks in very wet places or even submerged in running water in streams. F. bushii is always found on soil in waste habitats, so us finding it on the shaded trail in-between a path rush and a rock seems fitting. (see photo below)

It was another great day out in the field and we are both excited to continue hiking through the fells to find more mosses! You can still support the project by donating here (copy and paste the URL into your browser): https://fundly.com/sponsor-a-young-scientist-s-climate-research-in-eastern-mass