A graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, found that some mosses in the California desert seek protection from the relentless sun and heat by sheltering under translucent quartz pebbles, essentially using the rocks as sunshades.
The soil under these rocks retains more moisture than exposed desert soil, said Jenna Ekwealor, while enough light leaks through the milky quartz to allow the tiny mosses to remain green with chlorophyll. Mosses actually prefer dim light, making these conditions ideal for growth.
Professor Koskella is an evolutionary biologist seeking to understand how interactions among species generate and maintain much of the diversity you see on earth. She is interested in how species interactions influence genetic diversity within populations, diversity between populations, and species diversity at the community level. By combining evolutionary theory on coevolution, population dynamics, and infection genetics, she directly tests the underlying assumptions and predicted outcomes of host-pathogen and microbial interactions through the