CNHP wetland ecologist Joanna Lemly took this footage of ecologist Denise Culver investigating an example of a “quaking” fen this summer in Jackson County. Denise is standing on a floating mat of vegetation. These mats are a typical feature of peatlands formed in groundwater-fed basins, and consist of living plants rooted in an accumulation of peat formed from the water-logged remains of dead plants. These mats are often strong enough to walk on, although it may be a bit of a challenge to keep your balance and avoid breaking through to the water below. In contrast to their physical instability, these quaking communities are generally ecologically stable, because they can adjust to fluctuating water levels.