13 October 2008

Incredibly Grand Moss Gardens

Originally Drafted 10 October 2008

A glimpse of moss from Grand Moss Gardens Cave. Credit: Kyle Voyles/NPS.

Today, we went to one of the main tourist caves on the monument – Grand Moss Gardens Cave. Our plan was to deploy traps in this cave and recon Train Tunnel Cave.

We deployed traps and opportunistically collected invertebrates within an extensive moss garden. While we were in part of this cave that often contains ice stalactites and stalagmites, we found crickets! While we don’t have the temperature data for this part of the cave yet, I would suspect it was in the mid to low 40s. So, I was rather surprised to find crickets in this area.

Collecting arthropods from Grand Moss Gardens Cave. Credit: Kyle Voyles/NPS.

Once we successfully deployed our traps at this cave, we spent about 30 minutes searching for invertebrates in the moss gardens. These moss gardens are perhaps the most extensive moss gardens on the Monument. We collected numerous spiders, Psocoptera, mites, Collembola and beetles.

Because this cave is so heavily used by tourists, We are hopeful that our traps will not be disturbed. In three days, we will know how they faired.

One of the numerous tunnels we walk over en route to Grand Moss Gardens Cave. Credit: Kyle Voyles/NPS.

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