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A novel black yeast-like fungus, Exophiala crusticola, is described based on two closely related isolates from biological soil crust (BSC) samples collected on the Colorado Plateau (Utah) and in the Great Basin desert (Oregon), USA. Their morphology places them in the anamorphic genus Exophiala, having affinities to the family Herpotrichiellaceae (Ascomycota). Phylogenetic analysis of their D1/D2 large subunit nuclear ribosomal RNA (LSU nrRNA) gene sequences suggests that they represent a distinct species. The closest known putative relative to Exophiala crusticola is Capronia coronata Samuels, isolated from decorticated wood in Westland County, New Zealand. The holotype for Exophiala crusticola anam. nov. is UAMH...
Cyanobacterial soil crusts are a community of microorganisms living in the soil surface of different habitats worldwide. Through photosynthesis, cyanobacteria produce extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) increasing the soil carbon (C) pool as carbohydrates. The layer of polysaccharides also acts as a mechanical structure surrounding the filamentous cyanobacteria that together with the soil particles form stable aggregates in the topsoil thus decreasing C loss by erosion. Thus despite their apparent importance to the dryland system we have only a limited understanding of their role and possible applications in dryland soil environments. This review draws on these disparate sources of information in order to provide...