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So we went walking in the woods today and we stopped and looked at this moss that was covering the bottom 10 inches or so of the trunk of a tree.

No sporophytes visible at all.

I can only assume this whole clump reproduced asexually through division.

On the other side of the trunk however was this small patch of a second type of moss.

Same height, same shade but producing sporophytes.

So I skipped to the next tree over and found some more of the first moss but higher off the ground, on a branch maybe about 2ft or so up. Much shadier too.

This was the same moss as the first but there were a few sporophytes in places.

And then further along I found another patch on a higher still branch.

This was as shady as the previous one but was higher up in the tree. It was also producing many more sporophytes.

My hypothesis is that being higher up the tree gives you greater access to more water than lower down on the trunk.

Moss needs water to reproduce sexually so the more water the better.

Also being on a horizontal branch may be preferable for water retention due to gravity pulling the water down a vertical incline on a trunk.

There must be a sweet spot for this moss not too close to the top of the tree to get enough sun to dry it but not so far down that it is shielded from the water where it has maximum chance of sexual reproduction.

My hypothesis anyway. Not tested but observed.

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Merveilles

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