Monday, August 6, 2018

Fascinating Fern Facts

Azolla filiculoides. Image: Public domain

This just in from Quartz.

Fifty million years ago, a tiny fern called Azolla filiculoides grew in mats over open water in the Arctic Ocean, flourishing like that for 800,000 years. (It now turns up in Arctic ice cores in vast quantities.)

This was a significant event not just for fern domination but for the globe: Paleobotanists call it the “Azolla event,” because the Azolla mats sucked up 10 trillion tons of carbon dioxide during that period—well over 200 times the total amount of carbon dioxide humans currently release into the atmosphere every year. The event played a role in the abrupt shift from a very warm planet to the cool one we now inhabit.


Scientists have wondered for years if Azolla could be harnessed to cool the planet again.

Sure. Why not? I'm all for it if the research is privately funded. 

This and other fascinating fern facts are for learning in today's email from QuartzIt's a great resource for thought-provoking info on a lot of topics. Check it out. I believe you'll enjoy it.

It occurs to me, though, that according to the USDA, Azolla filiculoides - aka Mosquito fern - is already native to Florida, the Pacific coastal states, and even New York. (I'm assuming we're referencing the same Azolla filiculoides.) Are they noticing any benefit?

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