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!).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's finally on: Colorado Plateau regional biocrust symposium

1. Teusday October 25
11th Biennial Conference of Research on the Colorado Plateau, 
High Country Conference Center,
Northern Arizona University,
Flagstaff, Arizona

(There's a whole conference, but this is what you came to see)

Biological Soil Crusts: Understanding, modeling, and restoring their function in ecosystems, Part I
Location: Agassiz
Moderator: Matthew Bowker, U.S. Geological Survey
9:40-10:00 AM MATTHEW BOWKER – Understanding, modeling, and restoring biocrust function in ecosystems: introduction to special session
10:00-10:20 AM JAYNE BELNAP, M. Bowker – Interactions between biocrust microtopography and ecosystem function
10:20-10:40 AM GREGORY CAPORASO, B. Prithiviraj, S. Bates, R. Knight – Recovery of biological soil crust-like microbial communities in previously submerged soils of Glen Canyon
10:40-11:00 AM NICHOLE BARGER, H. Guenther, M. Miller, J. Herrick – Fire mitigation practices in piñon-juniper woodlands: Soil erosion increases related to declines in biological soil crust communities
11:00-11:20 AM STEVEN WARREN, L. St. Clair, J. Johansen – Effects of prescribed fire on biological soil crust and their subsequent recovery in a juniper woodland
11:20-11:40 AM TRENT NORTHEN, N. Klitgord, U. Nunes da Rocha, S. Axen, L. Rajeev, E. Luning, N. Bouskill, B. Bowen, C. Kerfeld, J. Fortney, R. Salve, E. Brodie, A. Mukhopadhyay, F. Garcia-Pichel – Resolving community and metabolic dynamics and carbon flux in Colorado Plateau biological soil crusts
11:40-12:00 PM Open Questions
Biological Soil Crusts: Understanding, modeling, and restoring their function in ecosystems, Part II
Location: Agassiz
Moderator: Matthew Bowker, U.S. Geological Survey
1:30-1:50 PM MATTHEW BOWKER, T. Arundel – Maps of the biological soil crust potential of the Colorado Plateau: A resource prepared for the Bureau of Land Management ecoregional assessment
1:50-2:10 PM COLBY BRUNGARD, J. Boettinger – Spatial prediction of biological soil crust classes in and around Canyonlands National Park: Implications for biological soil crust management on the Colorado Plateau
2:10-2:30 PM NICOLE DECRAPPEO – Using biological soil crusts to assess the suitability of degraded rangeland sites for restoration
2:30-2:50 PM LINDSAY CHIQUIONE, M. Bowker, L. Stark, S. Abella – Biological soil crust rehabilitation on disturbed gypsiferous soils
2:50-3:10 PM TAMARA ZELIKOVA, D. Housman, E. Grote, D. Neher, J. Belnap – Biocrust response to three years of experimental warming
3:10-3:30 PM FERRAN GARCIA-PICHEL, R. Potrafka, V. Loza, P. Mateo, S. Bates, T. Soule – Microbial biodiversity and function in biological soil crusts: Among the good, the bad and the ugly, some like it hot
3:30-3:50 PM Panel Discussion
3:50-4:10 PM Open Questions
4:10-4:30 PM Break

Poster Session
7:00 - 9:00 PM  
CHONGFENG BU, N. Myers, F. Garcia-Pichel - The artificial cultivation of cyanobacteria-dominated biological soil crusts in the Sonoran Desert.
NIELS KLITGORD, U., Nunes da Rocha, S. Axen, L. Rajeev, N. Bouskill, B. Bowen, C. Kerfeld, J. Fortney, R. Salve, E. Brodie, A. Mukhopadhyay, F. Garcia-Pichel, T. Northen - Resolving metabolic dynamics of Colorado Plateau biological soil crusts during precipitation events.

2. I'm working on adding all of the lead authors to the biocrust researcher directory on the right. Hopefully complete soon.

3. In other news, Bettina Weber and Jayne Belnap put in a biocrust symposium proposal for next year's Ecological Society of America Meeting. Let's hope it comes together, should be fun...in Portland I believe, one of my favorite cities.

Cool blog post about recent dust storms

Isn't this figure amazing! Check out the blog post by Munson et al. here. It's true, we are hearing alot more about dust storms recently. When I was growing up, I really only remember a few and they never lasted multiple days. The most memorable was when my mom was driving me to school during a dust storm, and one of those refrigerator boxes reinforced with wood was actually airborne and cracked our windshield. That was in the super-wet 1980's. Now its seems multiple dust storms occur ever year in western cities. Just ask anyone in Phoenix:

Arizona Republic headlines 2011:
Dust storm hits Phoenix, limits visibility – July 6

Arizona dust storm leaves big mess, health fears in its wake – July 7

3 Phoenix-area dust storms towered nearly 4000 feet high – July 19

Arizona dust storm: double dose of dust for Valley residents – July 23

Phoenix storms: rain, dust slam Pinal County – Aug 19

Crash amid dust storm at Picacho Peak – 25 Sept.

This is not comprehensive, just a sample. I actually heard about the first of these in the Australian news, then followed them in local papers. The funnest local article I found was a letter complaining to the newspaper for using the arabic word "haboob" rather than the phrase "Arizona dust storm". The guy didn't want us to give credit for our good ole Arizonan dust to the Arabs. You could also ask someone in Lubbock about dust storms. I read that their recent one was 8000 feet tall (~2700 meters!).

Heres the dust story in a nutshell: the reason there are more dust storm is that we are seeing more drought years. Drought shrinks the height and increases the spacing of plants, reducing their ability to buffer erosive forces. The soil crust is the major force reducing erodibility. If crusts are compromised at the same time the plants are drought stricken...and it usually is...the dust will blow (alot).