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!).

Monday, December 30, 2013

Behold! the Bryotron!

Its been a while since I last posted. November and early December kept me plenty busy…and that means no posts (that's why I need additional bloggers here). But anyway, was has excited me lately is our success culturing biocrust organisms, particularly mosses. I had envisioned and found some small funds to create an automated moss growing system, and put Kyle and Anita in charge of final design and implementation. They completely upgraded the design, and it has been a great success. We have 2 experiments running now for different projects, but are planning many more.

Kyle Doherty, moss farmer.
We started growing Syntrichia caninervis and Syntrichia ruralis in a growth chamber environment, but have largely abandoned these efforts and made the jump to the greenhouse late last summer.

We are Arizona's largest consumer of urine sample cups!
One experiment subjects Syntrichia ruralis sourced from different populations to different environmental conditions. The other is seeking optimal growing conditions for both Syntrichia species sourced from northern Utah.

Nostoc "volunteers" among Syntrichia shoots.

This fibrous mat in between shoots is actually a Scytonema colony.
When we inoculate with field collected material, we add several hitchhikers. Thus far, they're primarily desirable species such as N-fixing cyanobacteria, so we have no problem with this.

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