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The Grand Staircase—Escalante National Monument (GSENM) contains a rich diversity of native plant communities. However, many exotic plant species have become established, potentially threatening native plant diversity. We sought to quantify patterns of native and exotic plant species and cryptobiotic crusts (mats of lichens, algae, and mosses on the soil surface), and to examine soil characteristics that may indicate or predict exotic species establishment and success. We established 97 modified-Whittaker vegetation plots in 11 vegetation types over a 29,000 ha area in the Monument. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and multiple linear regressions were used to quantify relationships between soil characteristics...
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We examined the content and isotopic composition of nitrogen within soils of a juniper woodland and found that a cryptobiotic crust composed of cyanobacteria, lichens, and mosses was the predominant source of nitrogen for this ecosystem. Disturbance of the crust has resulted in considerable spatial variability in soil nitrogen content and isotopic composition; intercanopy soils were significantly depleted in nitrogen and had greater abundance of 15N compared to intra-canopy soils. Variations in the 15N\14N ratio for inter- and intracanopy locations followed similar Rayleigh distillation curves, indicating that the greater 15N/14N ratios for inter-canopy soils were due to relatively greater net nitrogen loss. Coverage...
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,...
Biological soil crust (BSC) communities (composed of lichens, bryophytes, and cyanobacteria) may be more dynamic on short-time scales than previously thought, requiring new and informative short-term monitoring techniques. We used repeat digital photography and image analysis, which revealed a change in area of a dominant BSC lichen, Collema tenax. The data generated correlated well with gross photosynthesis (r=0.57) and carotenoid content (r=0.53), two variables that would be expected to be positively related to lichen area. We also extracted fatty acids from lichen samples and identified useful phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) indicators for the Collema mycobiont (20:1, 15:0, 23:0), and the Collema photobiont (18:3?3)....
The Grand Staircase?Escalante National Monument (GSENM) contains a rich diversity of native plant communities. However, many exotic plant species have become established, potentially threatening native plant diversity. We sought to quantify patterns of native and exotic plant species and cryptobiotic crusts (mats of lichens, algae, and mosses on the soil surface), and to examine soil characteristics that may indicate or predict exotic species establishment and success. We established 97 modified-Whittaker vegetation plots in 11 vegetation types over a 29,000 ha area in the Monument. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and multiple linear regressions were used to quantify relationships between soil characteristics...
The role of the cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatlls in cold-desert soil crusts is investigated using scanning electron microscopy. Crusts from sandstone-, limestone-, and gypsum-derived soils are examined. When dry, polysaccharide sheath material from this cyanobacterium can be seen winding through and across all three types of soil surfaces, attaching to and binding soil particles together. When wet, sheaths and living filaments can be seen absorbing water, swelling and covering soil surfaces even more extensively. Addition of negatively charged material, found both as sheath material and attached clay particles, may affect cation exchange capacity of these soils as well. As a result of these observations, we...
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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...
The role of the cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatlls in cold-desert soil crusts is investigated using scanning electron microscopy. Crusts from sandstone-, limestone-, and gypsum-derived soils are examined. When dry, polysaccharide sheath material from this cyanobacterium can be seen winding through and across all three types of soil surfaces, attaching to and binding soil particles together. When wet, sheaths and living filaments can be seen absorbing water, swelling and covering soil surfaces even more extensively. Addition of negatively charged material, found both as sheath material and attached clay particles, may affect cation exchange capacity of these soils as well. As a result of these observations, we...
Land managers require landscape-scale information on where exotic plant species have successfully established, to better guide research, control, and restoration efforts. We evaluated the vulnerability of various habitats to invasion by exotic plant species in a 100,000 ha area in the southeast corner of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. For the 97 0.1-ha plots in 11 vegetation types, exotic species richness (log10) was strongly negatively correlated to the cover of cryptobiotic soil crusts (r = −0.47, P < 0.001), and positively correlated to native species richness (r = 0.22, P < 0.03), native species cover (r = 0.23, P < 0.05), and total nitrogen in the soil (r = 0.40, P < 0.001). Exotic species...
Biological soil crusts can be the dominant source of N for arid land ecosystems. We measured potential N fixation rates biweekly for 2 years, using three types of soil crusts: (1) crusts whose directly counted cells were >98% Microcoleus vaginatus (light crusts); (2) crusts dominated by M. vaginatus, but with 20% or more of the directly counted cells represented by Nostoc commune and Scytonema myochrous (dark crusts); and (3) the soil lichen Collema sp. At all observation times, Collema had higher nitrogenase activity (NA) than dark crusts, which had higher NA than light crusts, indicating that species composition is critical when estimating N inputs. In addition, all three types of crusts generally responded in...
Recovery of soil properties from World War II-era military training exercises in the Mojave Desert was measured approximately 55 years following disturbance. Tracks from military vehicles were still visible, particularly in areas of desert pavement. Soil penetrability was much lower in visible tracks than outside the tracks. Soils in tracks had fewer rocks in the top 10cm of the soil profile than adjacent untracked soils. Larger particles (> 4.8mm) formed a moderately well-developed pavement outside of the tracks, while smaller, loose particles ( h 4.8mm) dominated the surface of the tracks. The time required to restore the desert pavement is likely to be measured in centuries. Based on biomass estimates, the cyanobacterial...


    map background search result map search result map Treatment effects on performance of N-fixing lichens in disturbed soil crusts of the Colorado Plateau A Break in the Nitrogen Cycle in Aridlands? Evidence from δ 15N of Soils Treatment effects on performance of N-fixing lichens in disturbed soil crusts of the Colorado Plateau A Break in the Nitrogen Cycle in Aridlands? Evidence from δ 15N of Soils