There's so much crust news I can't possibly keep up with posting. This is one I should have addressed weeks ago. Bettina Weber and Jayne Belnap organized a crust session on biocrusts in last summer's Ecological Society of America Meeting in Portland, all authors were asked to contribute to this special issue (or paper collection, the open-access version). Some of the talks turned into papers, and other contributors were invited to fill in the gaps. It's an eclectic and high quality collection that is truly international.
Ecological Processes is a new Springer open access journal. All papers are free! Follow the links below to read the papers or download pdf's. Also, check back, I believe more papers are coming.
Biological soil crusts: their diversity, functional ecology and management.
Edited by: It has only recently been recognized that biological soil crusts (BSC) are a critical component of dryland ecosystems, contributing to the diversity, functionality and nutrient cycling of these regions worldwide. Formed by cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, fungi and bacteria in varying proportions, BSC grow within the uppermost millimeters of the soil, fulfilling a variety of ecosystem services. With their filaments BSC organisms glue together soil particles, thus effectively preventing erosion by both wind and water. BSC organisms in general and nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria in particular, add nutrients to nutrient-poor desert soils, thus promoting the establishment and growth of vascular plants. Their relevance and impact on global carbon and nitrogen cycles is just starting to be considered. During the last decade, studies on BSC have intensified and diversified, creating a unique and growing research community.Collection published: 23 February 2013Last updated: 16 May 2013
Belnap J, Weber B- Biological soil crusts as an integral component of desert environments.
Marusenko Y, Bates S, Anderson I, Johnson S, Soule T, Garcia-Pichel F. Ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria are structured by geography in biological soil crusts of North American arid lands.
Weber B, Wessels DCJ, Deutschewitz, Dojani S, Reichenberger H, Budel B. Ecological characterization of soil-inhabiting and hypolithic soil crusts within the Knersvlakte, South Africa.
Budel B, Vivas M, Lange OL. Lichen species dominance and the resulting photosynthetic behavior of Sonoran Desert soil crust types (Baja California, Mexico).
Dettweiler-Robinson E, Ponzetti JM, Bakker JD. Long-term changes in biological soil crust cover and composition.
Peterson EB. Regional-scale relationship among biological soil crusts, invasive annual grasses, and disturbance.
Beraldi-Campesi H. Early life on land and the first terrestrial ecosystems.
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!).