Welcome to the "hotplants" of Yellowstone website.

 

This website is maintained by Dr. Richard Stout

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Introduction

Yellowstone's steaming geysers and turquoise hot springs fascinate millions of visitors every summer, and some of these visitors have recently included scientists attracted to these geothermal features by the thermophilic microorganisms that live in them. But if one looks to the edges of some of these hot springs, or surveys the ground around solfataras or mudpots, one may recognize that the unusually heat-tolerant organisms of Yellowstone are not limited to viruses, bacteria and algae. Indeed, there are some species of mosses and flowering plants that live in steaming soil or adjacent to thermal springs at soil temperatures that would be lethal to most other members of the plant kingdom.

Very little is known about plants adapted to grow and reproduce in geothermally heated environments. Because Yellowstone contains the highest number of surface-geothermal features in the world at a single location, it offers an excellent opportunity to study flowering plants and mosses found in such environments. Interestingly, some of these sites also have plants growing in the presence of high levels of carbon dioxide of volcanic origin.

(If you have any questions about this website or would like some information about visiting some of the "hotplant" locations in YNP, please feel free to contact me at the email address shown above.)