Current Projects

Bryophytes and the global carbon cycle: implications for Earth Systems Models    This U.S. Department of Energy-funded project focuses on (a) synthesizing available data on bryophyte-mediated processes that impact global carbon cycling, and (b) developing functions for bryophyte-carbon cycling processes suitable for ultimately building a bryophyte plant functional type (PFT) for Earth Systems Models. This project is in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Evolution of stress tolerance in mosses   The Syntrichia clade of dryland-adapted mosses experienced a rapid Northern Hemisphere radiation coincident with late Miocene aridification. In collaboration with the Ekwealor Lab at San Francisco State, we are examining phylogenetic patterns and evolutionary processes associated with desiccation and freezing tolerance in this clade, using chlorophyll fluorescence as a metric of photosynthetic health and recovery.


Impact of fire on cryptogam-mediated ecosystem function    Working in a sandstone pavement barren in Altona, NY (The Flat Rock), we are examining the influence of fire on bryophytes and lichens, in terms of diversity/abundance as well as ecosystem functions. In particular, we are interested in how fire severity impacts moss-associated nitrogen fixation and plant sources of nitrogen. This is a collaborative project with Antioch University of New England and SUNY Plattsburgh.

Past Projects

Moss-associated nitrogen fixation in New England Peatlands     This New England Botanical Society – funded project examined moss-associated nitrogen fixation using in situ 15N incubations across space and time in New England. We examined drivers of nitrogen fixation including Sphagnum species, climate and microclimate, time, latitude, and cyanobacterial abundance.

Desiccation and diversity in dryland mosses (3DMOSS)     This multi-institution NSF-funded project examined drivers of biodiversity in the Syntrichia clade of dryland-adapted mosses from ecophysiological, phylogenetic, and genomic approaches. The Coe lab focused on variation in desiccation tolerance in the clade as assessed using techniques such as infrared gas exchange, carbon balance, and chlorophyll fluorescence.

Funding sources