Volcanic moss research. Terrestrial biologist taking spot temperature measurements (along yellow marker) to record a temperature profile across a growth of moss. The moss is growing by a volcanic vent in the cold climate of the subantarctic. The vent emits gases such as steam. Plants colonize ecological niches like this because of warmer temperatures, a water supply (condensing steam and meltwater) and minerals from the volcanic rocks. Mosses (phylum Bryophyta), small plants that lack true roots, woody tissue and flowers, grow in damp places worldwide. This is Bellingshausen Island, South Sandwich Islands, southern Atlantic Ocean.
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