from New Scientist
This is the picture (of a lichen) to accompany a note on a paper showing how the first land plants contributed to the Earth’s oxygen. The note starts: "Earth’s air is only breathable today because of moss-like plants that colonised the land 470 million years ago. The moss enriched the atmosphere with oxygen and triggered a cycle that maintained its levels, paving the way to complex life."
Nice to have bryophytes in the news. However, the picture in the New Scientist note is not a humble moss.
The note continues:
“It’s exciting to think that without the evolution of the humble moss, none of us would be here today,” said lead scientist Tim Lenton, from the University of Exeter.
“Our research suggests that the earliest land plants were surprisingly productive and caused a major rise in the oxygen content of the Earth’s atmosphere.”
Journal reference: PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1604787113-----