A networking resource devoted to biological soil crusts and the researchers who study them. We will provide a means for international scientists to communicate, share their research, share important news and announcements, ask questions and find collaborators. We will also provide a space for informal writing on research, opinion, and ideas (now seeking posters!).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

An affliction and an invitation

This is my attempt at creating an open conduit for networking among the growing, but still small number of researchers that can’t seem to stop studying biological soil crusts. We have a fondness for the things that other scientists can’t seem to notice. I started working on crusts because I love deserts and kept noticing these things on the soil while doing, e.g. tortoise surveys, or looking at (yawn!!) plants. My co-workers often sort of knew what they were called (crypto-somethings), but most people were at a loss to explain them. I was enthralled, they were black, white, yellow and pink, a coral reef in the Mojave desert. Fifteen or so years later, the fascination has been an endless well. I don’t think I’m alone. I heard Burk Budel give a talk and he mentioned a real-life generic name that speaks directly to this plight…Geodermatophilus. The love of the skin of the Earth might be called Geodermatophilia.

This site will be a source of information, especially for students just getting started. Hopefully finding information on biocrusts will be made much easier than it was for me, much much easier than it was for Jayne Belnap or Dave Eldridge, and much much much easier than it was for Rod Rogers, Otto Lange or Kimball Harper. My idea is to develop a blog as a fluid centerpiece. I would very much like this to evolve into our blog , in the sense of an international network of bloggers. I will periodically be recruiting new posters, especially younger ones. I will also be constructing a directory of links to biocrust researchers of the world, and may attempt to create a biocrust bibliography. This site will be a relaxed and informal source for information about meetings and conferences, new literature, and sharing of observations, photos, information, ideas, etc.

This post is an invitation to read, comment, and contribute.

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