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Although belowground ecosystems have been studied extensively and soil biota play integral roles in biogeochemical processes, surprisingly we have a limited understanding of global patterns in belowground biomass and community structure. To address this critical gap, we conducted a meta-analysis of published data (> 1300 datapoints) to compare belowground plant, microbial and faunal biomass across seven of the major biomes on Earth. We also assembled data to assess biome-level patterns in belowground microbial community composition. Our analysis suggests that variation in microbial biomass is predictable across biomes, with microbial biomass carbon representing 0.6-1.1% of soil organic carbon (r(2) = 0.91) and 1-20%...
Biological soil crusts provide habitat for microarthropods of various trophic groups in arid systems, but the community composition and functional role of microarthropods in these unique systems are not well characterized for many desert locations. This study examined the microarthropod community, including mites, collembolans, and tardigrades, associated with early- and late-successional stage biological soil crusts at two locations, Colorado Plateau (southeastern Utah) and Chihuahuan Desert (southern New Mexico). Most microarthropod groups were more abundant in Colorado Plateau than Chihuahuan Desert, and tardigrades were more abundant near the surface (0?10 cm) than at depth (10?30 cm). Although the microarthropod...