Biological soil crusts as an organizing principle in drylands

By: , and 
Edited by: Bettina WeberBurkhard Buedel, and Jayne Belnap



Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) have been present on Earth’s terrestrial surfaces for billions of years. They are a critical part of ecosystem processes in dryland regions, as they cover most of the soil surface and thus mediate almost all inputs and outputs from soils in these areas. There are many intriguing, but understudied, roles these communities may play in drylands. These include their function in nutrient capture and transformation, influence on the movement and distribution of nutrients and water within dryland soils, ability to structure vascular plant communities, role in creating biodiversity hotspots, and the possibility that they can be used as indicators of soil health. There are still many fascinating aspects of these communities that need study, and we hope that this chapter will facilitate such efforts.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Biological soil crusts as an organizing principle in drylands
Chapter 1
ISBN 978-3-319-30212-6
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-30214-0_1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Springer-Verlag
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Biological soil crusts: An organizing principle in drylands
First page 3
Last page 13
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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Additional publication details