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Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are ubiquitous living covers in arid and semiarid regions, playing a critical role in soil erosion control in semiarid regions. So far, research separating the multiple mechanisms of erosion control by biocrusts has been limited. It was problematic to link the influence of biocrusts to existing erosion models. In the(More)
Here we report details of the European research initiative “Soil Crust International” (SCIN) focusing on the biodiversity of biological soil crusts (BSC, composed of bacteria, algae, lichens, and bryophytes) and on functional aspects in their specific environment. Known as the so-called “colored soil lichen community” (Bunte Erdflechtengesellschaft), these(More)
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are communities of cryptogamic organisms, occurring in arid and semiarid regions all over the world. Based on both morphological identification and genetic analyses, we established a first cyanobacterial inventory using the biphasic approach for BSCs within two major biomes of southern Africa. The samples were collected at two(More)
The Soil Crust International project aims to better understand the functioning of biological soil crust environments (BSC) in Europe in order to understand the importance of these ecosystems. The final objective of this project is to inform and strengthen protection strategies for these types of habitats in the frame of the European Union. To achieve this,(More)
Biological soil crusts, formed by an association of soil particles with cyanobacteria, lichens, mosses, fungi and bacteria in varying proportions, live in or directly on top of the uppermost soil layer. To evaluate their role in the global carbon cycle, gas exchange measurements were conducted under controlled conditions. Moss-dominated soil crusts were(More)
Facilitative effects and plant–plant interactions are well known for higher plants, but there is a lack of information about their relevance in cryptogams. Additional information about facilitative effects between bryophytes and lichens would be an important contribution to recent research on positive plant–plant interactions, as these can have striking(More)
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