Fertilization of the desert soil by rock-eating snails

  title={Fertilization of the desert soil by rock-eating snails},
  author={Clive G. Jones and Moshe Shachak},
PLANT productivity in deserts can be nitrogen-limited. Nitrogen inputs are often low, soil nitrogen pools small, and losses from runoff, erosion, volatilization and denitrification, can be high1–6. We have now found an unusual, important source of soil nitrogen in the Central Negev Highlands of Israel, a limestone rock desert with patches of soil (Fig. 1). Snails feed on endolithic lichens that grow within the rock, ingesting both rock and lichens7,8, and depositing their faeces on the soil… Expand
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