All posts in The World Beneath Our Feet

Alberta’s Wonderful World of Bryophytes

From upper left (clockwise): Sphagnum magellanicum, photo: M. Luth; Polytrichum commune, photo: M. Luth; Anthelia juratzkana (liverwort), photo: R. Caners; Scorpidium scorpioides, photo: R. Caners; Brachythecium rivulare, photo: R. Caners    Part 1: Introducing Bryophytes It’s a beautiful spring day and you are walking through a lush, green boreal forest somewhere in northern Alberta. The sunlight [...]

Bryologist at Large – Profile of Richard Caners

Bryologist Richard Caners studies a moss specimen in a peatland near Cold Lake, Alberta. “The best aspect of my job is the fact that I get to study and work with bryophytes every day.” – Richard Caners, Bryologist for the ABMI and the Royal Alberta Museum – Anyone who meets Dr. Richard Caners walks away a convert. [...]

Dung Mosses: Masters of Manipulation

A dung moss, also known as Splachnum ampullaceum. Photo: R. Caners If you can get past the unflattering name, dung mosses might just be one of the most fascinating groups of species you will ever come across. As the name suggests most species in this moss family are closely associated with dung. But they do [...]

The World Beneath Our Feet: The Mysterious Nature of Lichens (Part 2/2)

A great place to start looking at lichens in Alberta is in Crimson Lake Provincial Park located just northwest of Rocky Mountain House. Here, you can walk through a few different forest types in the course of a 10 km hike. You’ll find burnt stumps covered in baby Cladonia lichens and Cockleshell lichens. Veteran poplar [...]

The World Beneath Our Feet: The Mysterious Nature of Lichens (Part 1/2)

“Without lichens, the world would be bereft of beauty – lichens are the bling, the colour, the contrast in many of our ecosystems, including our urban environments. Beautiful oranges, red sexual structures, geometric patterns on rocks and concrete. And because we’re only just beginning to understand the diversity they harbour, we also don’t know the [...]