Searching for ancient Antarctic Moss
May 15, 2010 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Trying to find detailed info on 5,000-year-old Moss living on the Antarctic Peninsula for my "Oldest Living Things in the World" project.

I'm an artist working with biologists on a project called "The Oldest Living Things in the World" creating an index and photographing continuously living organisms 2,000 years old and older. One of the things that I am trying to track down as part of my project is the supposedly 5,000-year-old moss living on the Antarctic Peninsula. I'm having trouble finding/connecting with anyone doing active field research, and need to pinpoint an exact location before heading down to Antarctica.

Do you know anyone doing this sort of research? Or have you heard of the moss and know the coordinates of where it can be found in? Any leads would be most appreciated!


posted by OLTW to Science & Nature (5 answers total)
[Pulled the links, put them on your profile page if you like.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:25 AM on May 15, 2010

There are 5,000-year-old moss banks growing on Antarctic islands (Signy Island, for example). However it is really peat (decayed [dead] moss) that younger moss is growing on. So while moss has been growing there for thousands of years, there are no living moss organisms of that age.
posted by gubo at 7:40 AM on May 15, 2010

Thanks for your response, Gubo. Fenton's research is what I was going on. I think the question here is whether or not the new moss growth is vegetative/clonal or if it reproduced sexually -- if it's the former, and the new growth is genetically identical to that of the original growth, I would consider that a continuously living organism for the purposes of this project.

Do you have access to the full article? Does it specify Signy as the location of that bank?
posted by OLTW at 10:21 AM on May 15, 2010

The Oldest Living Things In The World
posted by JV at 7:08 PM on May 16, 2010

Thanks @JV - that's actually a link to my blog : )
posted by OLTW at 6:41 AM on May 20, 2010

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