You asked. Sooooooooooooooo.......
That is Java Moss.
However it may not look like what you think of as a very unique series of transitions has occurred. I've observed it multiple times now. But is most clearly visible in this particular tank I've been following for about 4 years now.
The java moss starts off as you know it looking like this.
Then depending on the nutrient load in the water, the emergent java will become slowly overtaken by a faster growing black algae biofilm. This biofilm is probably not just one species but a large number of them working together to form a very thick layer that grows over the nice green java. A key aspect with this biofilm is that it has a much stronger hold on the rock and can grow in areas with much heavier flow than the java moss can. This has occured when there is a high-ish nitrate/phosphate load in the water. I have turtles and small mouth bass in the water portion so that accounted for this.
Then the java after a time will begin to poke out from under the black mass covering it. As you can see above. And this re-emerging java takes on a new growth pattern and morphology. It looks almost like a different species. Then after a while it grows out and begins to fan out, it begins to trail and grow looking like the normal java again.
Because of this layered succession, you get this nice dark black background behind the green java, and a much thicker, drought resistant multispecies community. Now that the java and the algae biofilm are anchored onto the previously bare/uncolonized rock and have created a volume/space made of dead moss, algae, and bacteria/fungi, the root systems of higher ordered plants (ferns, grasses, etc) can have something to hold onto begin growing in. It took about 3 years to form. Now the community has reached a stable point and unless I turn off the water for 3-4 days it doesn't die off.
The next step is to introduce a few fern spores to the community and see if I can't get the next phase moving. In theory now that the rock has been "preped" I can get all kinds of stuff growing in it. Unless of course that particular biofilm is producing an inhibiting allelopathic chemical/secondary metabolite that is preventing the fern gametophytes and transient seeds from establishing themselves. Which would then make one wonder if the black algae came along with the java, as it clearly isn't inhibiting it's growth. And if this is the case, and this interaction is found in nature, then why is the java "immune" to the biofilm’s allelopathic effects? Determine this and you may have a new method by which to make aquatic crops resistant to formation of pathologic epiphtyic biofilms. Of course then again, maybe I’m just reading too much into the green slimy stuff again…. It happens… a lot.