Biological Soil Crusts (BSC) are globally relevant complex topsoil microbial communities and locally important agents of carbon cycling in arid lands. Because arid lands make a sizeable proportion of all continents, the global standing carbon stock in BSCs probably exceeds 1014 g C, making soil crusts arguably the most extensive biosynthetic biofilm on the planet. Data from this study coupled with ecosystem-level metadata, will provide a robust predictive understanding of BSCs useful for the sustainable management of arid lands in the face of global climate change.
Principal Investigators: Cheryl Kerfeld, DOE JGI
Program: CSP 2011