Early Land Plants

How Are They Found?

Field Museum staff work across the globe to conserve the natural world, provide resources to build vibrant communities, and bring people and nature together. With the diversity of life and cultures severely threatened around the world, the Museum's scientific expertise can play a major role in ensuring a strong future where diversity can thrive.

Check out some of Chile’s amazing liverworts, hornworts, and mosses, watch how the team collects these bryophytes, and get a brief overview of the team’s mission. This is the first installment in a series of video journals by botanist Laura Briscoe documenting The Field Museum’s 2013 bryophyte survey along remote islands in the Cape Horn Archipelago.

THINK ABOUT: Laura mentioned packing up the mosses in waterproof pieces of paper and taking them back to study; what are other ways bryologists can pack and preserve plants they will study in the future?

You'll be surprised to discover the critical role these tiny plants play in establishing healthy soil, water, and air, and you'll learn how Field Museum scientists are working to conserve their rare and fragile habitat. Get a glimpse of gorgeous Southern Beech (Nothofagus) forests absolutely coated with bryophytes, and witness Laura’s discovery of what may be a new liverwort species.

THINK ABOUT: Laura looked at the moss and assumed she might have found a new species. How do you think scientists differentiate species within the same genus? What characteristics would you look out for if you were out in the field?