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Mar 28 2023

E&E Seminar: “The Earth’s living skin: How biocrusts shape dryland ecosystem structure and function” by Matthew Bowker (Northern Arizona University)

March 28, 2023

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


4289 SELE

Please join us on March 28, 2023 for an E&E seminar featuring Dr. Matthew Bowker (Northern Arizona University)

Bowker Lab

Hosts: Rachel Poretsky and Jamal Sheriff

Abstract: Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) result from an intimate association between soil particles and differing proportions of photoautotrophic (e.g.,cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, bryophytes) and heterotrophic (e.g. bacteria, fungi, archaea) organisms, which live within, or immediately on top of, the uppermost millimeters of soil. Soil particles are aggregated through the presence and activity of these often extremotolerant biota that desiccate regularly, and the resultant living crust covers the surface of the ground as a coherent layer. Biocrusts are found throughout the world and are especially well distributed and documented in drylands. I will demonstrate that (1) biocrusts are the most influential soil stabilizing force in drylands, (2) have a pervasive influence on soil water and hydrological processes in drylands, and (3) influence the trajectory of vascular plant community development. Therefore, biocrusts shape dryland ecosystem structure and function.


Emily Beaufort

Date posted

May 6, 2022

Date updated

Feb 16, 2023