Plants, People and the Environment
Lecture 4. Invasion: Mosses and ferns.
We start this week with defining the major differences between plants and algae. This link gives you the "big picture" of all those groups and how they differ from one another: Plants
The land plants are most closely related to the green algae. The diagram and information at this site shows you the evolutionary relationship of Bryophytes to algae and to other land plants. There is also other information of interest about Bryophytes here: Classification of Bryophytes
This Bryophyte site is included because it has good graphics and a nice summary on Bryophyte biology: Mosses and Liverworts in Wales
If you would like to know more about the use of moss in Japanese Gardens, here are a few sites with beautiful photos: Japanese Gardens of Kyoto and Arnie Malkamaki's Japanese Gardens.
Peat bogs preserve organic material because the high acidity prevents microorganisms from breaking down organic molecules. Here's a site that offers information about "Bog Bodies" -- Bodies of the Bog.
Here are some good sites to learn more about Ferns and Fern Allies: Ferns (focus on life cycle, biology, and evolution), Psilophyta ("whisk ferns" - life cycle, biology, nice images), Lycophyta ("club mosses"), Sphenophyta ("horsetails").
To learn more about the economic or aboriginal uses of ferns, check out these links: Fern and Man in New Guinea (some surprising uses of ferns are discussed here), Fern Care (or how to grow ferns), and Australian Tree Ferns (in addition to the sales pitch for buying Australian ferns, there are some good pictures and basic information on the biology of tree ferns included here).
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