This article strikes me as interesting for several reasons but chiefly I am struck by the excellent breakdown of how epi-genetics allow organisms to respond to local conditions thus allowing for genetic expression. I find this interesting because where I'm from, Embarrass Minnesota, the Canadian shield extends down into the US and sphagnum bogs are extensive where I believe similar mosses are considered a "climax forest species". I was wondering how these biomes like pothole bogs and glacial dome bogs were going to respond to the pressures of climate migration. They seem to have more tools in their genetic toolbox than I understood!
I am struck by the intelligence of mosses, an ancient race, and how the animistic people of the heath bogs understood places (like mountain summits, trees, sources of water) as having genius loci--sprite, fairy, naiad, et cetera--the ability organisms to respond to local conditions and change to adapt--intelligence of the extensive yet simple mathematics of local conditions expressed through genetic change. Indeed those seeds that "will not sprout in mossy conditions" are merely failed attempts at establishing a mutualistic system like there is in my bogs at home: carnivorous plants ericaceous understory--heathers. Have heathers and pitcher plants evolved with the sphagnum bogs in Hawaii? Can I try to farm my Embarrass bog plants in Hawaii?
Other organisms like aspens evolved cloning to reproduce when sexual reproduction was limited by climate are also very ancient--clonal colonizing seems to be a successful expression of life when confronted by sterile conditions. Island evolution will instruct us on how life responds to rapid climate change and these mosses are the perfect place to start. Let's take a clue and not fear the introduction of "alien species" as being anything other than what they are: vehicles of evolution to allow local conditions to create genetic diversity.