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Composite soil samples from 7 sites on San Nicolas Island were evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively for the presence of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic microalgae. Combined data demonstrated a rich algal flora with 19 cyanobacterial and 19 eukaryotic microalgal genera being identified, for a total of 56 species. Nine new species were identified and described among the cyanobacteria and the eukaryotic microalgae that were isolated: Leibleinia edaphica, Aphanothece maritima, Chroococcidiopsis edaphica, Cyanosarcina atroveneta, Hassallia californica, Hassallia pseudoramosissima, Microchaete terrestre, Palmellopsis californicus, and Pseudotetracystis compactis. Distinct distributional patterns of algal taxa existed...
Recovery rates of cyanobacterial-lichen soil crusts from disturbance were examined. Plots were either undisturbed or scalped, and scalped plots were either inoculated with surrounding biological crust material or left to recover naturally. Natural recovery rates were found to be very slow. Inoculation significantly hastened recovery for the cyanobacterial/green algal component, lichen cover, lichen species richness, and moss cover. Even with inoculation, however, lichen and moss recovery was minimal. Traditional techniques of assessing recovery visually were found to underestimate time for total recovery. Other techniques, such as extraction of chlorophyll a from surface soil and measurement of sheath material accumulation,...
We used microsensors to characterize physicochemical microenvironments and photosynthesis occurring immediately after water saturation in two desert soil crusts from southeastern Utah, which were formed by the cyanobacteria Microcoleus vaginatus Gomont, Nostoc spp., and Scytonema sp. The light fields within the crusts presented steep vertical gradients in magnitude and spectral composition. Near-surface light-trapping zones were formed due to the scattering nature of the sand particles, but strong light attenuation resulted in euphotic zones only ca. 1 mm deep, which were progressively enriched in longer wavelengths with depth. Rates of gross photosynthesis (3.4?9.4 mmol O2�m?2�h?1) and dark respiration (0.81?3.1...