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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Old moss revived after 1,500 years of dead and frozen

British scientists successfully revive the moss in Antarctica has been "dead" for 1,500 years. Previously, scientists had indeed managed to "revive" the bacteria that have the same age in the Antarctic. However, this success marks the first success the "revival" of plant.
Researchers drilling into a mossy bank on Signy Island in Antarctica. (Picture from: http://www.bbc.com/)
Scientists pleased and surprised with this success. They then publicize the success of their studies in the Current Biology journal. Piles of old moss into beautiful Antarctic region, which has been established since thousands of years ago. The moss bloom in summer.

Piles of the oldest moss around 5,000 years old. For scientists, the moss is useful because it is able to uncover the mysteries of past climate. Previously, scientists had tried to "revive" the frozen moss. However, they only managed to activate the moss which is trapped in ice for 20 years.

Now, British Antartics Survey scientists have successfully took samples of moss from the permafrost layer and "revive" it. They put the sample in an incubator with the temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, the temperature at which algae bloom during the summer. After 3 weeks, the new shoots appear. "Many people ask if we are doing complicated things to grow back," said Peter Convey, one of the scientists involved in the research.

"We basically just cut in half and placed in an incubator and do anything to grow," he said as quoted by the BBC, on Monday, March 17, 2014. Probably the most complicated process is to ensure the absence of contaminants in the moss culture based on carbon dating 1,530 years old.

Both in the Arctic and Antarctica, lichens are an important part of the ecosystem. These organisms act like big plants, absorb carbon. The question then, when the old moss successfully revived, Can it absorb human-generated carbon?

According to Convey, the frozen moss in the arctic is dead and can not be revitalized. So, it can no longer absorb carbon. In Antarctica, the moss was still able to "revived". However, when it's done, how much moss should be "revived"? Regardless, this research reveals one thing. Plants were able to survive much longer than previously suspected by human. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BBC]
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