Bryomonitoring Canada




Welcome to


We are a citizen science initiative that hopes to engage academics, field researchers, students, hobbyists and general members of the public in collecting moss for air quality analysis. Join us in our 2020 and 2021 field seasons to collect moss all over Canada!


A COVID-19 update: Nearly there!

June 17, 2021

Thank you for your patience as we delayed the start of our project due to Covid-19. We are excited to announce that we are ready to launch our project July 1st, 2021, and we are eagerly looking for volunteers to pick and submit moss samples for the project!

What does the Official Launch mean for volunteers? It means that we can finally accept your moss samples for analysis in our lab! Starting July 1st, the Reserve Your Turf (Step One) button will be enabled on our website, and you can reserve your sampling grid square. 

Please adhere to the current Covid-19 regulations in your province or territory as you head out to sample.

You may check here for updates, or join the mailing list to receive updates on the project.

While you can browse the sampling areas, we have temporarily disabled the reservation system until July 1st, 2021.

Looking forward to receiving your samples!
-The Bryomonitoring Canada Team

Sign up for the mailing list:

What is bryomonitoring?

Biomonitoring refers to using plants or animals to monitor the environment.  Bryophytes (mosses) are ideal for monitoring air quality since they receive all their nutrients from the atmosphere rather than the soil.  While setting up and maintaining air quality monitoring stations can be difficult and expensive, moss is free and found almost everywhere!  That’s why we chose bryomonitoring to help us gain an understanding of air quality across Canada, but we need volunteers like you to help collect samples!


How can I participate?

Citizen science relies on the participation of interested people to help us gather data for research.  If you find yourself out hiking, exploring, or doing field research, taking a few minutes to collect samples for us is easy!  Here’s how it works:


Reserve your turf

Sign up to sample a spot anywhere across Canada.


Spot your moss

Search for two common species of moss. They’re easy to spot once you know how!


Pick and package

Send it to us for analysis in our lab.

Research in action

Our data and publications, once available, will be shared here for everybody to access and use.  And if you choose, we’ll put your name on our sample map to show the world you sampled moss for air quality research.  We’ll also send you a small token of our thanks in the mail!

Spot Your Moss: Must-have mosses

We’re searching for two particular mosses that are found throughout Canada: Hylocomium splendens and Pleurozium schreberi.  Have you seen either of these mosses around?  Find out how to identify them in the field, and what to do when you find some!

Hylocomium splendens

Also known as stair-step moss, Hylocomium splendens is a feather moss with distinctive red stems and a “stepped” appearance.

Pleurozium schreberi

Pleurzoium schreberi is also a type of feather moss sometimes called red-stemmed feather moss.  It has a loose appearance and commonly grows in big mats or “beards” .

Field seasons in
2021 and 2022

Spring to fall is the ideal moss sampling time in most of Canada!  We have over 900 grid areas to cover and are aiming to get as many as possible over the next year to create a deposition map for various metals and nutrients across the country. 

Reserve Your Turf: Sign up to sample

We’re using the National Topographic System 250k grid to divide Canada into different sampling regions.  We’re hoping to get as many grids covered as possible between 2021 and 2022.  Are you visiting any of these areas?  Identification and sampling are easy!   Sign up to sample and we will mail you a sampling kit to get started, or you can make your own at home.

Grid sizes vary based on their location within Canada, but are approximately 100 km by 150 km.  We are hoping to collect samples from up to 3 locations within each grid.  If you would like to volunteer to sample more than one location, we suggest selecting sites about 20 km from each other to get the best spatial representation.

The community

From the blog