Please provide a short (approximately 100 word) summary of the following web Content, written in the voice of the original author. If there is anything controversial please highlight the controversy. If there is something surprising, unique, or clever, please highlight that as well. Content: Title: Weird, Rare, and Everywhere Site: Article body copy Our boat noses into the craggy, primordial shore of Hecate Island. The first two off the deck have their hand lenses out before the rest of us touch land. They are Randal Mindell and Dan Tucker, both experts in mosses and liverworts, called in for their deep knowledge of these underappreciated oddball plants. The beach is bounded on one side by a granite outcrop shining silver in the morning sun. Mindell and Tucker are peering at the green tufts that sprout from dripping cracks in the rock. The moss’s minute architecture snaps into focus through their lenses, which are palm-sized magnifying glasses sans handles—jeweler’s lenses for field biologists. Every so often, one of them swings a camera off their shoulder to snap a photo. Right behind them, hopping single file off the aluminum-hulled cabin boat onto a shoreline boulder, are four apprentices. They’ve all landed on one of the best summer jobs out there for budding biologists: traveling through British Columbia’s provincial parks to document as many living things as they can find, from great horned owls to long-toed salamanders. Budding biologists Eva Ullström (first photo) and Finn McGhee survey the shoreline of North Beach on Calvert Island, British Columbia. Photos by Kristina Blanchflower Soon they, too, are hunched over the granite, peering through their lenses. Last comes the leader, Brian Starzomski, an ecologist from the University of Victoria in British Columbia. He is one of two masterminds behind this bioblitz conducted at the Hakai Lúxvbálís Conservancy. Managed by BC Parks and the Heiltsuk Nation, Hakai Lúxvbálís is a 123,000-hectare protected area on and around Calvert Island on British Columbia’s central coast. Starzomski is also behind the larger project it’s a part of: a multiyear effort to document the flora and fauna in more than 1,000 provincial parks, conservancies, and ecological reserves spread across British Columbia. The Hakai Lúxvbálís Conservancy is itself part of the Great Bear Rainforest, a special management area approximately the size of Ireland that encompasses the central portion of the province’s island-dotted coastline. Outsiders of all stripes are drawn by the abundance of flora and fauna here, leading many to describe it as an “untouched wilderness.” That’s one thing the Great Bear Rainforest emphatically is not. A closer look reveals that much of it—bay, bog, or patch of forest—bears the mark of human hands. Bark-stripped cedars and ancient clam gardens speak to a lasting Indigenous presence. The region also shows the presence of postcolonial industrial society and the lingering scars of resource extraction. While not mythically pristine or primordial, the Great Bear Rainforest remains a global hotspot for biodiversity, home to one-quarter of the world’s remaining ancient coastal temperate rainforest. To much less fanfare, this band of coastline that runs north to the Alaska Panhandle hosts the greatest diversity of bryophytes in all of the continent north of Mexico. Bryophyte experts Dan Tucker (left) and Randal Mindell set out to stalk mosses and liverworts. Photo by Kristina Blanchflower Bryophytes are ancient, thought to be the first plants to leave the sea. Some 475 million years later, they lack the xylem and phloem that vascular plants use to transport water and nutrients. As a result, they remain tiny and easy to ignore, even for ecologists. “My eyes used to glaze over when people talked about mosses and liverworts,” admits Starzomski. That changed during a field trip to Ellesmere Island, known by the Inuit as Umimmaat Nunaat, in Canada’s Arctic; there, bryology researcher Catherine La Farge-England showed Starzomski a particular moss growing at the edge of a retreating glacier. Starzomski learned it had regenerated after spending centuries buried under ice. “Now I find their stories so compelling,” he says. Thanks to the region’s near-constant rain and cool temperatures, almost 600 species of bryophytes carpet vast swaths of British Columbia’s central coast, including Calvert Island. Photo by Shanna Baker At a planetary scale, these stories include a leading role in the fight against climate change. In temperate and Arctic regions, peat is formed mainly from decomposed sphagnum moss, along with other plants, such as shrubs, herbs, and small trees. Peat stores one-third of the world’s terrestrial carbon—twice as much as all the forests on Earth. Bryophytes also irrigate vast tracts of land throughout tropical cloud forests by sucking moisture from the air and transforming it into liquid; the condensed vapor dripping off trillions of miniature leaves flows into streams and rivers that water the lowlands. But it’s down at the scale of individual species that bryophytes really start to show some personality. There is a moss, Daltonia angustifolia , that grows on the backs of beetles. A genus of liverwort, Radula —three species of which were found in this bioblitz—can produce cannabinoid molecules not unlike those found in cannabis plants. Scientists are still working on pharmaceutical applications, but anyone interested in recreational study can already buy Radula preparations online. Goblin’s gold, or Schistostega pennata , is a glow-in-the-dark moss that flourishes in caves and other light-starved microbiomes where few other plants can survive. “The search for something weird and rare is awesome,” says Starzomski, who spent months looking for goblin’s gold after he first heard about it. Thanks to a tip from Mindell, he finally saw a patch growing beneath the rootball of a Douglas fir tree on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Radula complanata is part of a genus of liverworts that includes a handful of cannabinoid-producing species. Photo by Randal Mindell For the next 20 minutes, I eavesdrop as the biologists on Hecate Island begin their treasure hunt. They alternately admire and mock one another’s discoveries, covering ground at the pace of grazing deer. “You seeing that central frill at the tip?” Mindell asks Braden Judson, a younger researcher who’s unsure what he’s looking at, which happens to be one of the most common and least memorable mosses around. “That’s Grimmia torquata . Congratulations, you found the shittiest moss in the bryophyte kingdom.” A moment later, a separate ID yields a genuine compliment from Mindell: “Oh, you did it, you rat bastard! You found some Ptychostomum !” Finn McGhee, another student-apprentice whose sharp gaze and eccentric demeanor give him the mien of a budding arch-mage, takes pity on me. “There are probably between 25 and 40 species of moss growing on this 20-meter stretch of shore,” he tells me. “That’s why we’re moving so slow.” First photo: Single delight ( Moneses uniflora ), also known as one-flowered wintergreen among other names, sprouts among the trees. Second photo: A black fly hangs onto the sticky secretions of a carnivorous round-leaved sundew ( Drosera rotundifolia ). Third photo: A western toad ( Anaxyrus boreas ) holds court on the forest floor. Photos by Kelly Fretwell, Grant Callegari, and Bennett Whitnell Bryophytes are not the only focus. Over the course of the week, the seven researchers will explore both Hecate and Calvert Islands from the tidal shoreline to the forest, logging everything from hermit crabs and spotted tussock moths to mock azaleas and (highly poisonous) green false hellebores. But bryophytes are a relatively understudied part of the Hakai Institute’s ecological archive, and one of the motivators of this bioblitz—the fourth hosted by the institute’s Calvert Island Ecological Observatory—was to flesh that archive out. The evening before I joined the group on the field survey, I sat in on the Species of the Day presentations, a Hakai bioblitz tradition—essentially a show-and-tell with an edge of playful competition. Every evening, researchers nominate the most interesting plant, fungus, or animal they found that day, share a photograph, and tell its story. At the end, they vote to select a winner. There were plenty of contenders for the top prize that night: Starzomski had spotted a queen’s veil mountain fern, curiously far from its typical subalpine habitat; there was also a parasitic wasp no larger than a poppyseed and a “very handsome” western toad, among others. Mindell nominated a sphagnum known as delicate peat moss ( Sphagnum tenellum ). “It looks very small and inconspicuous,” Mindell said of his moss, “but unlike almost any other plant on Earth, sphagnums are total regulators of massive tracts of land.” Sphagnum mosses, like this delicate peat moss ( Sphagnum tenellum ), have transformed wetlands around the world. Photo by Randal Mindell A variety of attributes enable sphagnum to colonize and transform vast landscapes: they absorb so much water that they can fill in ponds and shallow lakes, and as sphagnum spreads, it acidifies the soil to a degree that only a handful of plants can tolerate. In this way, sphagnum “creates an entirely unique landscape that sphagnum is essentially in charge of,” says Mindell. “Almost three percent of terrestrial ecosystems on Earth are sphagnum wetlands, and it’s neat to think that this little thing manages to control so much area.” Three percent may not sound like much, but that adds up to four million square kilometers—larger than the area of India—spread around the world. Their reign spans temperate, tropical, and alpine biomes, though they prefer the northern hemisphere’s boreal region. Also known as peatlands, they can be found in 180 countries and account for half of the world’s wetlands. Thanks to its absorptive capacity, sphagnum has been used for everything from diapers to menstrual pads. “Up until the ’80s,” Mindell told us, “there were advertisements for pads that proudly declared ‘Made with sphagnum!’” Mindell’s sphagnum won Species of the Day on the strength of its relationship to ecosystems and human culture alike. Tucker, gracious in defeat (he’d nominated an alder-loving moss), noted that sphagnum is also antimicrobial and was used as a wound dressing on battlefields up through the First World War. First photo: Northwest Hesperian snails ( Vespericola columbianus ) are usually found in wet forests but sometimes venture out to the beach. Second photo: Waterfingers lichen ( Siphula ceratites ), also known as waterworm, is rare among lichens for its ability to live in standing water for long periods. Photos by Kelly Fretwell and Eva Ullström A Brief History of ’Blitzing The first official bioblitz was held in 1996 at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC. Sam Droege, a wildlife biologist and one of the event organizers, later recounted to National Geographic that the original concept was to allow biologists to return to their “ancestral” state as curious explorers “who actually went out and tried to find things instead of filtering out forms, or gridding on a plot, or counting the number of tarsal segments and measuring them to within 15 microns.” Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens is a national park in Washington, DC, that held the world’s first bioblitz. In the late 1800s, the site grew aquatic flowers for sale, many of them exotic varieties imported from as far away as Egypt and India. Photo by Lori Epstein/Alamy Stock Photo The idea, said Droege, was for