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Dryland ecosystems account for ca. 27% of global soil organic carbon (C) reserves, yet it is largely unknown how climate change will impact C cycling and storage in these areas. In drylands, soil C concentrates at the surface, making it particularly sensitive to the activity of organisms inhabiting the soil uppermost levels, such as communities dominated by(More)
Soil crusts influence many soil parameters that affect how water moves into and through the soil, and therefore, critically influence water availability, erosion processes, nutrient fluxes, and vegetation distribution patterns in semiarid ecosystems. Soil crusts are quite sensitive to disturbance, and their alteration can lead to modification of the local(More)
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) cover non-vegetated areas in most arid and semiarid ecosystems. BSCs play a crucial role in the redistribution of water and sediments and, ultimately, in the maintenance of ecosystem function. The effects of BSCs on water infiltration are complex. BSCs increase porosity and micro-topography, thus enhancing infiltration, but, at(More)
Biological soil crusts (BSCs), composed of lichens, cyanobacteria, mosses, liverworts and microorganisms, are key biotic components of arid and semi-arid ecosystems worldwide. Despite they are widespread in Spain, these organisms have been historically understudied in this country. This trend is beginning to change as a recent wave of research has been(More)
The importance of biological soil crusts (biocrusts) for the biogeochemistry of drylands is widely recognized. However, there are significant gaps in our knowledge about how climate change will affect these organisms and the processes depending on them. We conducted a manipulative full factorial experiment in two representative dryland ecosystems from(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)
Understanding how drylands respond to ongoing environmental change is extremely important for global sustainability. Here we review how biotic attributes, climate, grazing pressure, land cover change and nitrogen deposition affect the functioning of drylands at multiple spatial scales. Our synthesis highlights the importance of biotic attributes (e.g.(More)
In drylands, water erosion can be a process with important economic and ecological implications, and is very dependent on the soil surface cover. There is broad agreement that biocrusts protect the soil from erosion in a wide range of circumstances. However, there is little information available on the effect of rain and biocrust types on this protective(More)
Commercial chambers for in vivo gas exchange are usually designed to measure on vascular plants, but not on cryptogams and other organisms forming biological soil crusts (BSCs). We have therefore designed two versions of a chamber with different volumes for determining CO2 exchange with a portable photosynthesis system, for three main purposes: (1) to(More)
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