Boggy peatlands, which hold much of the Earth’s carbon as well as material that can be converted to energy, are made up heavily of sphagnum mosses. New research identifies sex chromosomes in the plant and illuminates the significant role sex plays in how the moss grows, stores carbon and responds to stress.
Despite constituting less than 5% of land on Earth, peatlands store approximately one-third of the world’s soil carbon. The process to harvest energy-generating peat from these boggy wetlands produces an estimated 5% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Understanding how sphagnum, a primary component of peatlands, processes carbon can help maximize peatlands’ potential as carbon sinks and minimize their role as carbon sources. Learn more on the JGI’s website.