Add Water and ‘Resurrection Plants’ Spring to Life in Seconds

June 30, 2015
By: Robert Sanders

Humans can’t survive more than a few days without water, but some plants, in particular mosses, can survive drought for decades and suddenly revive with the first rain.

KQED’s Deep Look into ‘resurrection plants.”

KQED’s “Deep Look” team visited UC Berkeley’s University and Jepson Herbaria to learn about these so-called “resurrection plants” from one of the world’s experts, Brent Mishler, director of the herbaria and a professor of integrative biology.

They also worked closely with Steve Ruzin at the Biological Imaging Facility in the Valley Life Sciences Building to obtain close-up shots of mosses as they revive with a spritz of water.

Mishler and others are interested in mosses, in part, because of their ability to survive desiccation. Studying them could lead scientists to genes that control drought tolerance and help them engineer plants to better withstand drought, an increasing problem as California goes through a low-water period and climate change promises  a warmer and drier future.

“Deep Look” is a new ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios.

For more about “resurrection plants,” link to  the story on KQED’s website.

Additional Information
Research profile on Brent Mishler