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!).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Biocrust symposium this Fall

I'm happy to announce that the organizers of the 11th Biennial Conference for Research on the Colorado Plateau have accepted my proposal for a symposium devoted to crusts. The lineup is tentative, I will update it as it becomes more concrete. I did the same a few year's ago (maybe 4???) and it spawned IBiSCA...not to be confused with RUBISCO or Nabisco. I don't even recall what IBiSCA stood for, maybe International Biological Soil Crust Association or something silly like that. Then we realized we were all living in the USA, so we really needed to add some international people.

Anyways, I'm hoping for some good talks, good Thai food, and good beer. Think of it as IBiSCA 2.0, though maybe a better name might be in order.

Length: 4 hours
Theme: Biological Soil Crusts: Understanding, modeling and restoring their functions in ecosystems
Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are the protective skin of the earth creating soil stability, building and maintaining soil fertility and influencing hydrology. Ecosystem functions of biocrusts operate from microscopic to landscape scales. They are one of the most informative indicators of terrestrial ecosystem health in the Colorado Plateau region. Despite that the Colorado Plateau ecoregion is one of the major epicenters of biocrust research, and that biocrusts are unusually visible and highly functional on the plateau, the biennial conference usually does not feature much research on this topic. Here we bring together new researchers in the field as well as globally-established biocrust experts. We hope to establish a biennial tradition.
This special session is designed to bring together researchers from multiple western states working on various aspects of biocrust-mediated function and share their research and its management implications. The session will stress: 1. Erosion processes and their societal costs, 2. Methods for spatially modeling biological crust cover at landscape scales, 3. Rehabilitation of biocrusts to degraded sites to restore function., 4. Contributions of biocrusts to ecosystem functioning and nutrient cycling. Speakers will be asked to tailor their talks to both a scientific and natural resource management audience.
Expected outcomes: This session will give regional biocrust researchers the opportunity to disseminate their research and its relevance to resource management professionals. Equally important, especially for early career researchers, is the opportunity to network and meet peers. Symposia such as these lead to friendships, collaborations, research proposals, and more research conducted on these integral components of Colorado Plateau ecology.
1.Matthew Bowker – Introduction to special session 15 min.
2. Steve D. Warren - the effects of a prescribed burn on crust organisms in a mixed sagebrush/juniper community in Central Utah 15 min.
3. Nichole Barger – Prescribed fire and consequences for biological crusts and soil erosion 15 min.
4. Matthew Bowker - What controls dryland soil stability? The surprising importance of biological soil crusts at multiple spatial scales 15 min.
5. Colby Brungard – Modeling biological soil crust classes in Canyonlands National Park: Implications for management 15 min.
6. Jayne Belnap – Interactions between biocrust microtopography and ecosystem function 30 min
7. Panel discussion (Biocrusts role in  erosion and trapping of mobile resources; landscape modeling of BSCs and these functions; Fire impacts)  15 min.
1. Lindsay Chiquoine- Biological soil crust rehabilitation on disturbed gypsiferous soils 15 min.
2. Nicole Decrappeo - Using biological soil crusts to assess the suitability of degraded rangeland sites for restoration 15 min.
3. Roger Rosentreter-- Lessons learned using fragmentation of mosses to revegetate arid lands 15 min.
4. Tamara Zelikova – Biocrust response to three years of experimental warming 15 min
5. Garcia – Pichel student 1-TBA N-cycling or biodiversity? 15 min.
6. Ferran Garcia-Pichel  or student– TBA N-cycling or biodiversity? 30 min.
7. Panel discussion (Biocrust restoration; nutrient cycling in biocrusts  15 min.

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