Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Summer Solstice!

It's the longest day of the year today! So whether you celebrate today as the first day of summer or the middle of it, I hope it's great. Go outside, eat some yummy food and watch the sunset. It'll be a whole year before we have this much daytime again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Hey there. Welcome to my blog.
I'm not much on bios, but I wanted to start with a short intro for anyone reading who doesn't already know me. I'm a biologist, currently just finishing my second year of a Master's in ecology and systematic biology. My first love and research concentration is marine ecology but seeing as how I live my life smack in the middle of a city, I've been thinking a lot about how ideas in ecology, the idea of ecology, fits in urban places. I don't have much space to play around with these thoughts in my professional life, so I've created this space for my musings about urban ecology, mostly in San Francisco, but in other places as well.
Maybe I will post often, maybe not. After a day at work I start to feel allergic to my computer, so we'll just have to see how this little experiment works.
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Grey days, moss love

I think when a lot of people think about ecology in the city, they think about big stuff, like trees and falcons and coyotes. I humbly propose that if we really want to understand and appreciate nature in the city, we need to pay attention to those things, but we also have to look down, and look closely at the other smaller, things that we share this space with. We have to start noticing-and once you do, the city will never be the same place again.
I've been thinking about moss a lot lately. Moss is one of those fantastic bits of wildness that most people don't ever notice. It's subtle and it's all over the place, sprouting up uninvited and untended, little bits of spontaneous green.
The plant that we all recognize as moss is haploid (unlike you, you're diploid). It does not have true stems or leaves. Sperm and eggs are produced in this phase of it's life cycle, and need water (usually rain) for the sperm to swim through to find an egg. Those structures growing up out of the moss are another life stage, produced after the fusion of the egg and sperm. This stage produces spores, which are dispersed by wind and, if they land in the right spot, will grow up to be new moss. Cool huh? Plant reproduction is pretty incredible. I'm sure it will come up again.
Next time you're out and about, look for some moss. You probably won't have to go far, this picture is on my front porch. If you find some, kneel down and check it out. Tell it I said hello.

Recommended Reading
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Moss
More moss greatness!