Why moss matters

>>”So, what do you study?”


>>”Moths? That’s cool!”

“No, Mossssssss”

>>”Oh. Hey I have some of that on my roof. How do I get rid of it?”

I have had this exchange countless times at social gatherings, with family, friends and strangers. It’s possible that loud background noise at social gatherings obscures the end of the word, though my enunciation is likely to share just as much blame.

There’s an interesting progression of emotions I observe during these conversations. First, there’s interest, followed by excitement at the possibility that I study moths, presumably because they are suddenly interested in hearing all kinds of Cool Moth Facts. 1 Then, after the terrible realization that I actually study moss, their first instinct is to ask me how to kill the thing I study. It’s clear: Moss has a bit of a PR problem.

And therefore here I am with this blog. This will be my second foray into the blogosphere, after having a bit of fun with obscure baseball statistics and joining in the analytical revolution with a sports blog I wrote while in grad school.


We are the Knights Who Say… Mossmatters!

With this space I’m hoping to feature all sorts of research on bryophytes, including my own. I’ll also be discussing bioinformatics, genomics, programming, and other topics about life in academia. I don’t expect that research on moss will suddenly be able to have the public captivated the way they are for, say, whales or landing rovers on other planets. But I do hope to show that mosses, and the people who study them, have an extremely under-appreciated relevance.


  1. cool moth facts” has 517,000 hits on Google, while “cool moss facts” have over 92 million hits. Just sayin’.

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