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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...
Cyanobacteria were immobilized on hemp cloth, which was subsequently cut into fine pieces for use as a soil amendment. The amendment is intended for speeding recovery of microbiotic soil crusts in semi-arid and arid lands where such crusts have been destroyed by anthropogenic activities. Microcoleus vaginatus, Schizothrix calcicola, and Nostoc were used to create amendments, but most of the experiments in this study utilized the Microcoleus amendment, as it is the most cosmopolitan and ecologically important cyanobacterial taxon in desert soil crusts. The amendment was found to retain its viability in storage for at least 18 months. M. vaginatus grew best in CT and Z8+ (plus vitamins) media with aeration and addition...
Physiological groups of soil microorganisms, total C and N and available nutrients were investigated in four heated (350 °C, 1 h) soils (one Ortic Podsol over sandstone and three Humic Cambisol over granite, schist or limestone) inoculated (1.5 μg chlorophyll a g−1 soil or 3.0 μg chlorophyll a g−1 soil) with four cyanobacterial strains of the genus Oscillatoria, Nostoc or Scytonema and a mixture of them. Cyanobacterial inoculation promoted the formation of microbiotic crusts which contained a relatively high number of NH4+-producers (7.4×109 g−1 crust), starch-mineralizing microbes (1.7×108 g−1 crust), cellulose-mineralizing microbes (1.4×106 g−1 crust) and NO2− and NO3− producers...
Microphytic crusts form at the soil surface in arid and semiarid rangelands. They bind soil particles together and purportedly influence hydrologic and stability responses to rainfall. We tested this influence in a designed rainfall simulation experiment conducted on a sandy lam site in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, that had been protected from livestock and human traffic for two to three years. Treatments consisted of microphytic crust conditions: 1) living and undisturbed (control); 2) chemically killed to determine structural influence (chemically killed), and mechanically removed from the soil surface (scalped) to approximate conditions of absence. Microphytic crusts in control and chemically killed treatments...
Anthropogenic activity is causing dramatic changes in the nitrogen (N) cycle in many ecosystems. Most research has focused on the increase in N input caused by atmospheric deposition and invasion of N-fixing species, and on their effects on resource availability and species composition. However, in contrast to many ecosystems experiencing large increases in N input, many arid ecosystems are experiencing loss of nutrients due to land-use change. An important component of many arid ecosystems on a worldwide basis is the microbiotic crust, a biological soil crust composed of lichens, cyanobacteria, mosses, and algae. Nitrogen fixation by lichens and cyanobacteria comprising the crust is the primary source of N input...
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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...
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are the dominant living cover in many drylands of the world. They possess many features that can influence different aspects of local hydrologic cycles, including soil porosity, absorptivity, roughness, aggregate stability, texture, pore formation, and water retention. The influence of biological soil crusts on these factors depends on their internal and external structure, which varies with climate, soil, and disturbance history. This paper presents the different types of biological soil crusts, discusses how crust type likely influences various aspects of the hydrologic cycle, and reviews what is known and not known about the influence of biological crusts on sediment production and...
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...
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...
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...
Anthropogenic activity is causing dramatic changes in the nitrogen (N) cycle in many ecosystems. Most research has focused on the increase in N input caused by atmospheric deposition and invasion of N-fixing species, and on their effects on resource availability and species composition. However, in contrast to many ecosystems experiencing large increases in N input, many arid ecosystems are experiencing loss of nutrients due to land-use change. An important component of many arid ecosystems on a worldwide basis is the microbiotic crust, a biological soil crust composed of lichens, cyanobacteria, mosses, and algae. Nitrogen fixation by lichens and cyanobacteria comprising the crust is the primary source of N input...


    map background search result map search result map Treatment effects on performance of N-fixing lichens in disturbed soil crusts of the Colorado Plateau Treatment effects on performance of N-fixing lichens in disturbed soil crusts of the Colorado Plateau