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!).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fall 2013 Biocrust symposium in Flagstaff, Arizona

There have been alot of events lately promoting biocrust science. Three years ago the first international biocrust conference was held in Germany. Two years ago, there was a biocrust symposium at the Biennial Conference for research on the Colorado Plateau. Last Spring there were two such sessions here and here at The European Geosciences Union in Vienna. Last Summer, there was a special session at the Ecological Society of America Meeting in Portland which resulted in a special issue in the journal Ecological Processes. And in less than a week the second international biocrust meeting will kick off in Madrid. I'd like to continue this drumbeat by contributing another Fall Symposium in Flagstaff, Arizona. My draft speaker list and the topics are below, when final I will post all the titles and abstracts here. Although I've only got 16 symposium spots, I'd like to encourage all regional biocrust enthusiasts and researchers to attend or submit a talk or poster to the general conference...the more the merrier.

The Biennial Conference for Research on the Colorado Plateau is coming up September 16 - 19 in Flagstaff, Arizona. Kyle Doherty and I are co-organizing a symposium on biological crusts, which will occur on Wednesday (17th).

This is a very fun regional conference well attended by university and agency scientists, and many land managers as well.

conference website - http://nau.edu/merriam-powell/biennial-conference/

I tend to believe that the Colorado Plateau is one of the crust capitols of the world, due to its highly visible and charismatic biocrusts, and due to the relatively large number of researchers studying this topic. This will be the third such session at this conference, the most recent being two years ago. Two years ago (read about it here http://geodermatophilia.blogspot.com/2011/10/its-finally-on-colorado-plateau.html and here
http://biocrust.posterous.com/ we had a great lineup of talks on all topics biocrusty, with crust researchers in attendance representing Arizona, Utah, California, Colorado, Colombia, China and Catalunya. The session was packed, especially early, and well-attended by agency personnel who are keen to learn about biocrusts. In the late afternoon, we had our own private poster session, and a lovely night out featuring good beer, wine and bluegrass. It was great fun, and we'd like to continue the tradition. In addition to this biocrust session, Jayne Belnap will also be organizing a session on dust which will be of interest to many (myself included).

Biennial Conference for Research on the Colorado Plateau, Flagstaff, AZ, September 16-19 2013

Proposal for Symposium

Length: 4 hours

Title: Biological Soil Crusts: Response to climate change and utility in ecological restoration

Justification: 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. We wish to continue an incipient tradition of biocrust-themed sessions at the Biennial conference.

This special session is designed to bring together researchers from multiple western states working on two focal aspects of biocrust research. The session will focus on: 1. Responses of biocrusts to climate change and ecosystem consequences, and 2. Ecological restoration of biocrusts, theory and technology, 3. Biocrust genomics, metabolomics and microbial ecology. Speakers will be asked to tailor their talks to both a scientific and natural resource management audience. This session will complement a distinct session on the dust cycle the following day.

Expected outcomes: This session will give regional biocrust researchers the opportunity to disseminate their research and its relevance to resource management professionals. We will outreach also to alternative energy and military representative, two groups which may have special interest in biocrust restoration technologies. Equally important, especially for early career researchers, is the opportunity to network and meet peers. Multiple graduate students, post-docs and other early career researchers have been invited to participate. Symposia such as these lead to friendships, collaborations, research proposals, and more research conducted on these integral components of Colorado Plateau ecology.

Available funding: None has been secured. Speakers are being asked, to travel at their own expense.

Confirmed speakers (topics are tentative)
Sasha Reed - Effects of altered climate of biocrust dominated ecosystems
Anita Antoninka – Determining how best to deploy biocrust inoculum for restoration
Deb Neher – Climate change effects on biocrust fauna
Kyle Doherty – Development of a biocrust moss inoculum for restoration purposes
Jayne Belnap – Review of Chinese language studies of biocrust restoration
Matthew Bowker – 8 years of biocust succession and recovery after nutrient supplements
Eva Dettweiler- Robinson - The Contribution of Biological Soil Crust Carbon and Nitrogen Exchange to the Net Ecosystem Exchange Along an Elevation Gradient
Anny Chung- TBD
Ferran Garcia-Pichel or grad student- TBD
Trent Northen –TBD
Zachary Aanderud – Evaluating Post-Fire Recovery of Biocrusts and Ecosystem Services
Eoin Brodie –
Cheryl Kuske -
Lindsay Chiquoine – update on restoration of gypsum communities
Aindrila Mukhopadhyay -

Possible speakers (pending funds & lifting of federal travel restrictions)
Kirsten Coe
Nichole Barger

Dr. Matthew Bowker, School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, 200 E Pine Knoll Drive, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011. Matthew.bowker@nau.edu

Kyle Doherty, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Box 5640, Flagstaff, AZ 86011. Kd498@nau,edu.

Trent Northen, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, One Cyclotron Road , Mailstop: 84R0171, Berkeley, CA 94720, trnorthen@lbl.gov

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