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Biological soil crusts are an integral part of dryland ecosystems. We monitored the cover of lichens and mosses, cyanobacterial biomass, concentrations of UV-protective pigments in both free-living and lichenized cyanobacteria, and quantum yield in the soil lichen species Collema in an undisturbed Mojave Desert shrubland. During our sampling time, the site received historically high and low levels of precipitation, whereas temperatures were close to normal. Lichen cover, dominated by Collema tenax and C. coccophorum, and moss cover, dominated by Syntrichia caninervis, responded to both increases and decreases in precipitation. This finding for Collema spp. at a hot Mojave Desert site is in contrast to a similar...
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Biological soil crusts arrest soil erosion and supply nitrogen to arid ecosys- tems. To understand their recovery from disturbance, we studied performances of Collema spp. lichens relative to four experimental treatments plus microtopography of soil pedicels, oriented north-northwest to south-southeast in crusts. At sites in Needles (NDLS) and Island in the Sky (ISKY) districts of Canyonlands National Park, lichens were transplanted to NNW, SSE, ENE, WSW, and TOP pedicel faces and exposed to a full-factorial, randomized block experiment with four treatments: nutrient addition (P and K), soil stabilization with polyacrylamide resin (PAM), added cyanobacterial fiber, and biweekly watering. After 14.5 mo (NDLS) and...
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Biological soil crusts are an essential part of desert ecosystems throughout the world, as they are important in soil stabilization and soil fertility. Despite their importance, there have been few efforts to examine the population dynamics of the dominant species comprising these crusts or the effect of exotic plant invasions on these dynamics. In this study, we followed changes in lichen and moss cover for 8 years in plots dominated by native grasses or invaded by the exotic annual grass Bromus tectorum and across sites representing a range of land use histories. Our data showed that cover of both lichens and mosses can increase dramatically over short time periods, often going from just above 0% cover to as high...
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Desertification is a global problem, costly to national economies and human societies. Restoration of biological soil crusts (BSCs) may have an important role to play in the reversal of desertification due to their ability to decrease erosion and enhance soil fertility. To determine if there is evidence that lower fertility may hinder BSC recolonization, we investigated the hypothesis that BSC abundance is driven by soil nutrient concentrations. At a regional scale (north and central Colorado Plateau, USA), moss and lichen cover and richness are correlated with a complex water?nutrient availability gradient and have approximately six-fold higher cover and approximately two-fold higher species richness on sandy soils...
In both field and greenhouse studies, cyanobacterial and cyanolichens of cold-temperature deserts often enhance growth and essential uptake by associated herbs. That effect is associated with better seedling establishment and larger seedlings. The following are possible mechanisms for these effects: (1) the microbiota concentrate essential elements in available forms in soil surface layers, (2) the microbial surface covers are usually darker colored than the soil itself and produce warmer soils during cool seasons when soil water is most available, (3) the gelatinous sheaths of several cyanobacterial genera common on alkaline deserts contain chelating compounds, and (4) conditions that favor persistent microbial...
We analyzed the microtopography of microbiotic soil crusts at 3 sites on the Colorado Plateau of southern Utah and investigated distributions of cyanobacteria and several lichens in distinctive microhabitats created by this topography. At all 3 sites the long axes of linear soil mounds were oriented nonrandomly in a NNW?SSE direction. The conspicuous and consistent orientation of soil mounds may result from a combination of physical and biotic processes. Subtle differences across sites in mound orientation and organismal distribution suggest that these variables may be useful in comparing disturbance histories of crusts retrospectively. Differences in colonization frequencies, abundances, and distributions of microorganisms...


    map background search result map search result map Evidence for micronutrient limitation of biological soil crusts- Importance to arid-lands restoration Dynamics of cover, UV-protective pigments, and quantum yield in biological soil crust communities of an undisturbed Mojave Desert shrubland Soil lichen and moss cover and species richness can be highly dynamic: The effects of invasion by the annual exotic grass Bromus tectorum, precipitation, and temperature on biological soil crusts in SE Utah Treatment effects on performance of N-fixing lichens in disturbed soil crusts of the Colorado Plateau Soil lichen and moss cover and species richness can be highly dynamic: The effects of invasion by the annual exotic grass Bromus tectorum, precipitation, and temperature on biological soil crusts in SE Utah Treatment effects on performance of N-fixing lichens in disturbed soil crusts of the Colorado Plateau Dynamics of cover, UV-protective pigments, and quantum yield in biological soil crust communities of an undisturbed Mojave Desert shrubland Evidence for micronutrient limitation of biological soil crusts- Importance to arid-lands restoration