Novel biogenic aggregation of moss gemmae on a disappearing african glacier

Jun Uetake, Sota Tanaka, Kosuke Hara, Yukiko Tanabe, Denis Samyn, Hideaki Motoyama, Satoshi Imura, Shiro Kohshima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Tropical regions are not well represented in glacier biology, yet many tropical glaciers are under threat of disappearance due to climate change. Here we report a novel biogenic aggregation at the terminus of a glacier in the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. The material was formed by uniseriate protonemal moss gemmae and protonema. Molecular analysis of five genetic markers determined the taxon as Ceratodon purpureus , a cosmopolitan species that is widespread in tropical to polar region. Given optimal growing temperatures of isolate is 20-30 uC, the cold glacier surface might seem unsuitable for this species. However, the cluster of protonema growth reached approximately 10uC in daytime, suggesting that diurnal increase in temperature may contribute to the moss's ability to inhabit the glacier surface. The aggregation is also a habitat for microorganisms, and the disappearance of this glacier will lead to the loss of this unique ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere112510
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine


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