Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Japanese gardens & Moss Diversity | Lichens

Japanese gardens: a haven for moss diversity | OurWorld 2.0

by Yoshitaka Oishi on May 25, 2011
Keywords: Japan, moss, traditional knowledge, urban ecosystem

When I mention my research on moss (bryophytes), it’s not unusual to be asked “why do you study moss?” Such questions likely arise because, for many, moss is considered to be of little use. However, in reality, moss plays a vital role within ecosystems and is valued as a biological indicator of the environment."

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USGS Release: Lichens May Aid in Combating Deadly Chronic Wasting Disease in Wildlife

MADISON, Wis. – Certain lichens can break down the infectious proteins responsible for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a troubling neurological disease fatal to wild deer and elk and spreading throughout the United States and Canada, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published today in the journal PLoS ONE.

The researchers found that lichens have great potential for safely reducing the number of prions because some lichen species contain a protease enzyme (a naturally produced chemical) capable of significantly breaking down prions in the lab.

"This work is exciting because there are so few agents that degrade prions and even fewer that could be used in the environment without causing harm," said Jim Bennett, Ph.D., a USGS lichenologist and a co-author of the study.

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