Drilling for moss.
Peter BoelenSampling frozen moss in Antarctica.

The germs of microscopic jungles lay frozen at the poles, ready to burst into life as the ice and snow melt around them.

Deep moss banks growing on rocks and at the bottoms of lakes are defining botanical features in many cold and frigid environments. And as the poles melt, moss populations are quickly greening newly exposed earth.

But how could moss reach these remote locations? A new discovery highlights the fact that it doesn’t need to. It’s already there, frozen after previous warm spells and ready to resume the humble act of living.