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Study how moss grows and spreads.

What does a Bryologist do?

You know the old proverb, “A rolling stone gathers no moss”? Bryologists hate rolling stones, because they love moss. In fact, Bryologists love moss so much that they make their living studying it for the likes of colleges, universities, government agencies, museums, and research institutes, as well as private enterprises in industries like agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and forestry.

As a Bryologist, you’re a Scientist who specializes in bryophytes — mosses, liverworts, and hornworts, which are plants that lack roots and vascular systems, and that reproduce with spores instead of seeds. You might study their scientific classification, or perhaps their anatomy. You might study their geographic locations and habitats. Or, you might study their reproduction.

Regardless, you’re a moss expert who’s paid to understand the biology, evolution, and ecology of bryophyte species, which contributes to humankind’s understanding of its environment and of the fellow species that live in it.

Like most Scientists, your days involve a combination of field research, lab analysis, and reporting. It’s not uncommon to find you traveling the world — in damp climates where mosses thrive — collecting bryophyte samples and specimens, some of which you study in their natural environment and some of which you bring back to your lab for analysis. Armed with specimens, you hypothesize, observe, test, dissect, and record, then report your findings in scholarly articles and at scientific conferences. If you’re a Professor — and many Bryologists are — you also spend some days teaching classes.

Because most other plants evolved from bryophytes, you’re kind of like a prehistoric plant Detective, looking into the past through moss-covered spectacles!