Sample records for biological soil crusts

  1. Researchers Reveal Ecological Roles of Biological Soil Crusts in Desert

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    @@ Biological soil crust is a complex organic integrity of cyanobacteria, green algae, lichens and mosses, fungi, and other bacteria. This is a common and widespread phenomenon in desert areas all over the world. Biologically,this kind of soil crust differs a lot from physical ones in terms of physical and chemical properties, and become important biological factors in vegetation succession. Despite its unassuming appearance, the crust plays a significant role in the desert ecosystem, involving the process of soil formation, stability and fertility,the prevention of soil erosion by water or wind, the increased possibility of vascular plants colonization, and the stabilization of sand dunes.

  2. Biological soil crusts as soil stabilizers: Chapter 16 (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Buedel, Burkhard; Weber, Bettina; Buedel, Burkhard; Belnap, Jayne


    Soil erosion is of particular concern in dryland regions, as the sparse cover of vascular plants results in large interspaces unprotected from the erosive forces of wind and water. Thus, most of these soil surfaces are stabilized by physical or biological soil crusts. However, as drylands are extensively used by humans and their animals, these crusts are often disturbed, compromising their stabilizing abilities. As a result, approximately 17.5% of the global terrestrial lands are currently being degraded by wind and water erosion. All components of biocrusts stabilize soils, including green algae, cyanobacteria, fungi, lichens, and bryophytes, and as the biomass of these organisms increases, so does soil stability. In addition, as lichens and bryophytes live atop the soil surface, they provide added protection from raindrop impact that cyanobacteria and fungi, living within the soil, cannot. Much research is still needed to determine the relative ability of individual species and suites of species to stabilize soils. We also need a better understanding of why some individuals or combination of species are better than others, especially as these organisms become more frequently used in restoration efforts.

  3. Biological Soil Crusts: Webs of Life in the Desert (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne


    Although the soil surface may look like dirt to you, it is full of living organisms that are a vital part of desert ecosystems. This veneer of life is called a biological soil crust. These crusts are found throughout the world, from hot deserts to polar regions. Crusts generally cover all soil spaces not occupied by green plants. In many areas, they comprise over 70% of the living ground cover and are key in reducing erosion, increasing water retention, and increasing soil fertility. In most dry regions, these crusts are dominated by cyanobacteria (previously called blue-green algae), which are one of the oldest known life forms. Communities of soil crusts also include lichens, mosses, microfungi, bacteria, and green algae. These living organisms and their by-products create a continuous crust on the soil surface. The general color, surface appearance, and amount of coverage of these crusts vary depending on climate and disturbance patterns. Immature crusts are generally flat and the color of the soil, which makes them difficult to distinguish from bare ground. Mature crusts, in contrast, are usually bumpy and dark-colored due to the presence of lichens, mosses, and high densities of cyanobacteria and other organisms.

  4. Nitrogen fixation in biological soil crusts from southeast Utah, USA (United States)

    Belnap, J.


    Biological soil crusts can be the dominant source of N for arid land ecosystems. We measured potential N fixation rates biweekly for 2 years, using three types of soil crusts: (1) crusts whose directly counted cells were >98% Microcoleus vaginatus (light crusts); (2) crusts dominated by M. vaginatus, but with 20% or more of the directly counted cells represented by Nostoc commune and Scytonema myochrous (dark crusts); and (3) the soil lichen Collema sp. At all observation times, Collema had higher nitrogenase activity (NA) than dark crusts, which had higher NA than light crusts, indicating that species composition is critical when estimating N inputs. In addition, all three types of crusts generally responded in a similar fashion to climate conditions. Without precipitation within a week of collection, no NA was recorded, regardless of other conditions being favorable. Low (26??C) temperatures precluded NA, even if soils were moist. If rain or snow melt had occurred 3 or less days before collection, NA levels were highly correlated with daily average temperatures of the previous 3 days (r2=0.93 for Collema crusts; r2=0.86 for dark crusts and r2=0.83 for light crusts) for temperatures between 1??C and 26??C. If a precipitation event followed a long dry period, NA levels were lower than if collection followed a time when soils were wet for extended periods (e.g., winter). Using a combination of data from a recording weather datalogger, time-domain reflectometry, manual dry-down curves, and N fixation rates at different temperatures, annual N input from the different crust types was estimated. Annual N input from dark crusts found at relatively undisturbed sites was estimated at 9 kg ha-1 year-1. With 20% cover of the N-fixing soil lichen Collema, inputs are estimated at 13 kg ha-1 year-1. N input from light crusts, generally indicating soil surface disturbance, was estimated at 1.4 kg ha-1 year-1. The rates in light crusts are expected to be highly variable, as

  5. Biological soil crusts as an integral component of desert environments (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Weber, Bettina


    The biology and ecology of biological soil crusts, a soil surface community of mosses, lichens, cyanobacteria, green algae, fungi, and bacteria, have only recently been a topic of research. Most efforts began in the western U.S. (Cameron, Harper, Rushforth, and St. Clair), Australia (Rogers), and Israel (Friedmann, Evenari, and Lange) in the late 1960s and 1970s (e.g., Friedmann et al. 1967; Evenari 1985reviewed in Harper and Marble 1988). However, these groups worked independently of each other and, in fact, were often not aware of each other’s work. In addition, biological soil crust communities were seen as more a novelty than a critical component of dryland ecosystems. Since then, researchers have investigated many different aspects of these communities and have shown that although small to microscopic, biological soil crusts are critical in many ecological processes of deserts. They often cover most of desert soil surfaces and substantially mediate inputs and outputs from desert soils (Belnap et al. 2003). They can be a large source of biodiversity for deserts, as they can contain more species than the surrounding vascular plant community (Rosentreter 1986). These communities are important in reducing soil erosion and increasing soil fertility through the capture of dust and the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen and carbon into forms available to other life forms (Elbert et al. 2012). Because of their many effects on soil characteristics, such as external and internal morphological characteristics, aggregate stability, soil moisture, and permeability, they also affect seed germination and establishment and local hydrological cycles. Covering up to 70% of the surface area in many arid and semi-arid regions around the world (Belnap and Lange 2003), biological soil crusts are a key component within desert environments.

  6. Linking biological soil crust diversity to ecological functions (United States)

    Glaser, Karin; Borchhardt, Nadine; Schulz, Karoline; Mikhailyuk, Tatiana; Baumann, Karen; Leinweber, Peter; Ulf, Karsten


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are an association of different microorganisms and soil particles in the top millimeters of the soil. They are formed by algae, cyanobacteria, microfungi, bacteria, bryophytes and lichens in various compositions. Our aim was to determine and compare the biodiversity of all occurring organisms in biogeographically different habitats, ranging from polar (both Arctic and Antarctic), subpolar (Scandinavia), temperate (Germany) to dry regions (Chile). The combination of microscopy and molecular techniques (next-generation sequencing) revealed highly diverse crust communities, whose composition clustered by region and correlates with habitat characteristics such as water content. The BSC biodiversity was then linked to the ecological function of the crusts. The functional role of the BSCs in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous is evaluated using an array of state of the art soil chemistry methods including Py-FIMS (pyrolysis field ionization mass spectrometry) and XANES (x-ray absorbance near edge structure). Total P as well as P fractions were quantified in all BSCs, adjacent soil underneath and comparable nearby soil of BSC-free areas revealing a remarkable accumulation of total phosphorous and a distinct pattern of P fractions in the crust. Further, we observed an indication of a different P-speciation composition in the crust compared with BSC-free soil. The data allow answering the question whether BSCs act as sink or source for these compounds, and how biodiversity controls the biogeochemical function of BSCs.

  7. Reconstruction of food webs in biological soil crusts using metabolomics. (United States)

    Baran, Richard; Brodie, Eoin L.; Mayberry-Lewis, Jazmine; Nunes Da Rocha, Ulisses; Bowen, Benjamin P.; Karaoz, Ulas; Cadillo-Quiroz, Hinsby; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Northen, Trent R.


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are communities of organisms inhabiting the upper layer of soil in arid environments. BSCs persist in a dessicated dormant state for extended periods of time and experience pulsed periods of activity facilitated by infrequent rainfall. Microcoleus vaginatus, a non-diazotrophic filamentous cyanobacterium, is the key primary producer in BSCs in the Colorado Plateau and is an early pioneer in colonizing arid environments. Over decades, BSCs proceed through developmental stages with increasing complexity of constituent microorganisms and macroscopic properties. Metabolic interactions among BSC microorganisms probably play a key role in determining the community dynamics and cycling of carbon and nitrogen. However, these metabolic interactions have not been studied systematically. Towards this goal, exometabolomic analysis was performed using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry on biological soil crust pore water and spent media of key soil bacterial isolates. Comparison of spent vs. fresh media was used to determine uptake or release of metabolites by specific microbes. To link pore water experiments with isolate studies, metabolite extracts of authentic soil were used as supplements for isolate exometabolomic profiling. Our soil metabolomics methods detected hundreds of metabolites from soils including many novel compounds. Overall, Microcoleus vaginatus was found to release and utilize a broad range of metabolites. Many of these metabolites were also taken up by heterotrophs but there were surprisingly few metabolites uptaken by all isolates. This points to a competition for a small set of central metabolites and specialization of individual heterotrophs towards a diverse pool of available organic nutrients. Overall, these data suggest that understanding the substrate specialization of biological soil crust bacteria can help link community structure to nutrient cycling.

  8. Synthesis on biological soil crust research (United States)

    Weber, Bettina; Belnap, Jayne; Buedel, Burkhard


    In this closing chapter, we summarize the advances in biocrust research made during the last 1.5 decades. In the first part of the chapter, we discuss how in some research fields, such as the microbial diversity of fungi, bacteria, and microfauna; the interaction between biocrusts and vascular plants; and in the rehabilitation of biocrusts; particularly large achievements have been made. In other fields, previously established knowledge of overall patterns has been corroborated and refined by additional studies, e.g., in the fields of soil stabilization and disturbance effects. In the second part of the chapter, we outline the research gaps and challenges foreseen by us. We identify multiple knowledge gaps, including many understudied geographic regions, the largely missing link between genetic and morphological species identification data, and the answers to some mechanistic questions, such as the overall role of biocrusts in hydrology and nutrient cycles. With some ideas on promising new research questions and approaches we close this chapter and the overall book.

  9. Impact of biological soil crusts and desert plants on soil microfaunal community composition (United States)

    Darby, B.J.; Neher, D.A.; Belnap, J.


    Carbon and nitrogen are supplied by a variety of sources in the desert food web; both vascular and non-vascular plants and cyanobacteria supply carbon, and cyanobacteria and plant-associated rhizosphere bacteria are sources of biological nitrogen fixation. The objective of this study was to compare the relative influence of vascular plants and biological soil crusts on desert soil nematode and protozoan abundance and community composition. In the first experiment, biological soil crusts were removed by physical trampling. Treatments with crust removed had fewer nematodes and a greater relative ratio of bacterivores to microphytophages than treatments with intact crust. However, protozoa composition was similar with or without the presence of crusts. In a second experiment, nematode community composition was characterized along a spatial gradient away from stems of grasses or shrubs. Although nematodes generally occurred in increasing abundance nearer to plant stems, some genera (such as the enrichment-type Panagrolaimus) increased disproportionately more than others (such as the stress-tolerant Acromoldavicus). We propose that the impact of biological soil crusts and desert plants on soil microfauna, as reflected in the community composition of microbivorous nematodes, is a combination of carbon input, microclimate amelioration, and altered soil hydrology. ?? Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009.

  10. Biological soil crusts: a fundamental organizing agent in global drylands (United States)

    Belnap, J.; Zhang, Y.


    Ecosystem function is profoundly affected by plant community composition, which is ultimately determined by factors that govern seed retention. Dryland ecosystems constitute ~35% of terrestrial surfaces, with most soils in these regions covered by biological soil crusts (biocrusts), a community whose autotrophs are dominated by cyanobacteria, lichens, and mosses. Studies at 550 sites revealed that plant community composition was controlled by the interaction among biocrust type, disturbance regime, and external morphology of seeds. In bare soils (due to disturbance), all seed types were present in the seedbank and plant community. As biocrusts became better developed (i.e., the cover of lichens and mosses increased), they more strongly filtered out seeds with appendages. Thus, soils under late successional biocrusts contained seedbanks dominated by smooth seeds and vascular plants growing in late successional biocrusts were dominated by those with smooth seeds. Therefore, the tension between the removal of biocrusts by soil surface disturbance and their recovery creates a shifting mosaic of plant patch types in both space and time. Because changes in vascular plant communities reverberate throughout both below ground and above ground food webs and thus affect multiple trophic levels, we propose that biocrusts are a fundamental organizing agent in drylands worldwide. Future increased demand for resources will intensify land use both temporally and spatially, resulting in an increased rate of biocrust loss across larger areas. As a result, we can expect shifts in the composition and distribution of plant communities, accompanied by concomitant changes in many aspects of dryland ecosystems. Conceptual model of shifting dryland plant mosaics through space and time. Within the large circles, soil surface type changes with time in the same space, going from bare uncrusted soil (B) to cyanobacterial biocrust (C) to lichen/moss (L/M) biocrust. Disturbance (D) drives the

  11. Six Siderophore-Producing Microorganisms Identified in Biological Soil Crusts (United States)

    Noonan, K.; Anbar, A. D.; Garcia-Pichel, F.; Poret-peterson, A. T.; Hartnett, H. E.


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are diverse microbial communities that colonize soils in arid and semi-arid environments. Cyanobacteria in BSCs are pioneer organisms that increase ecosystem habitability by providing fixed carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) as well as by reducing water run-off and increasing infiltration. Photosynthesis and N fixation, in particular, require a variety of metals in large quantities, and yet, metals are predominantly insoluble in the environments where BSCs thrive. Therefore, BSC organisms must have efficient strategies for extracting metals from soil minerals. We hypothesized that BSC microbes, particularly the cyanobacteria, produce siderophores to serve their metal-acquisition needs. Siderophores are small organic compounds that bind Fe with high affinity and are produced by a variety of microorganisms, including cyanobacteria. Most siderophores bind Fe, primarily; however, some can also bind Mo, V, and Cu. Soil siderophores are released by microbes to increase the solubility of metals from minerals and to facilitate microbial uptake. Thus, siderophores serve as chemical weathering agents and provide a direct link between soil microbes and minerals. Studying siderophore production in BSCs provides insight into how BSCs tackle the challenge of acquiring insoluble metals, and may help conservationists determine useful fertilizers for BSC growth by facilitating metal acquisition. Biological soil crusts were collected near Moab, UT. Soil slurries were prepared in deionized water and transferred to modified BG-11 agar plates. The O-CAS agar plate assay was used to screen organisms for siderophore production. Siderophore producing microbes were isolated and identified by16S rRNA gene sequencing. Cultures were then grown in 3 L batch cultures under metal limitation, and siderophore presence was monitored using the traditional liquid CAS assay. After siderophore detection, cells were removed by centrifugation, organic compounds were separated using

  12. Influence of Disturbance on Soil Respiration in Biologically Crusted Soil during the Dry Season

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Feng


    Full Text Available Soil respiration (Rs is a major pathway for carbon cycling and is a complex process involving abiotic and biotic factors. Biological soil crusts (BSCs are a key biotic component of desert ecosystems worldwide. In desert ecosystems, soils are protected from surface disturbance by BSCs, but it is unknown whether Rs is affected by disturbance of this crust layer. We measured Rs in three types of disturbed and undisturbed crusted soils (algae, lichen, and moss, as well as bare land from April to August, 2010, in Mu Us desert, northwest China. Rs was similar among undisturbed soils but increased significantly in disturbed moss and algae crusted soils. The variation of Rs in undisturbed and disturbed soil was related to soil bulk density. Disturbance also led to changes in soil organic carbon and fine particles contents, including declines of 60–70% in surface soil C and N, relative to predisturbance values. Once BSCs were disturbed, Q10 increased. Our findings indicate that a loss of BSCs cover will lead to greater soil C loss through respiration. Given these results, understanding the disturbance sensitivity impact on Rs could be helpful to modify soil management practices which promote carbon sequestration.

  13. Influence of disturbance on soil respiration in biologically crusted soil during the dry season. (United States)

    Feng, Wei; Zhang, Yu-qing; Wu, Bin; Zha, Tian-shan; Jia, Xin; Qin, Shu-gao; Shao, Chen-xi; Liu, Jia-bin; Lai, Zong-rui; Fa, Ke-yu


    Soil respiration (Rs) is a major pathway for carbon cycling and is a complex process involving abiotic and biotic factors. Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are a key biotic component of desert ecosystems worldwide. In desert ecosystems, soils are protected from surface disturbance by BSCs, but it is unknown whether Rs is affected by disturbance of this crust layer. We measured Rs in three types of disturbed and undisturbed crusted soils (algae, lichen, and moss), as well as bare land from April to August, 2010, in Mu Us desert, northwest China. Rs was similar among undisturbed soils but increased significantly in disturbed moss and algae crusted soils. The variation of Rs in undisturbed and disturbed soil was related to soil bulk density. Disturbance also led to changes in soil organic carbon and fine particles contents, including declines of 60-70% in surface soil C and N, relative to predisturbance values. Once BSCs were disturbed, Q 10 increased. Our findings indicate that a loss of BSCs cover will lead to greater soil C loss through respiration. Given these results, understanding the disturbance sensitivity impact on Rs could be helpful to modify soil management practices which promote carbon sequestration.

  14. Discussion on wind factor influencing the distribution of biological soil crusts on surface of sand dunes

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YongSheng Wu; Hasi Erdun; RuiPing Yin; Xin Zhang; Jie Ren; Jian Wang; XiuMin Tian; ZeKun Li; HengLu Miao


    Biological soil crusts are widely distributed in arid and semi-arid regions, whose formation and development have an important impact on the restoration process of the desert ecosystem. In order to explore the relationship between surface airflow and development characteristics of biological soil crusts, we studied surface airflow pattern and development characteristics of biological soil crusts on the fixed dune profile through field observation. Results indicate that the speed of near-surface airflow is the lowest at the foot of windward slope and the highest at the crest, showing an increasing trend from the foot to the crest. At the leeward side, although near-surface airflow increases slightly at the lower part of the slope after an initial sudden decrease at upper part of the slope, its overall trend decreases from the crest. Wind velocity variation coefficient varied at different heights over each observation site. The thickness, shear strength of biological soil crusts and percentage of fine particles at crusts layer decreased from the slope foot to the upper part, showing that biological soil crusts are less developed in high wind speed areas and well developed in low wind speed areas. It can be seen that there is a close relationship between the distribution of biological soil crusts in different parts of the dunes and changes in airflow due to geomorphologic variation.

  15. The microstructure and formation of biological soil crusts in their early developmental stage

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHANG Yuanming


    The biological soil crust serves as one of the biological factors contributing to the sand fixation in the Gurbantunggut Desert, the largest fixed and semi-fixed desert in China. This study was conducted to investigate the microstructure and formation of biological soil crusts which develop as a result of occurrence of cryptogams. One year after removal of biological soil crusts, the exposed surface could be fixed by bacteria, which make sand particles cohere by exopolysaccharides. The exopolysaccharides were mainly composed of glucose, mannitol, arabinose and galactose. The intension of pressure for this kind of crust is 13.42±1.38 Pa. After four-year recovery of the exposed sandy surface, the biological soil crust resulting from the colonization of soil surface by communities of filamentous cyanobacteria were mainly dominated by Microcoleus, which occurred as a cluster of filaments surrounded by a gelatinous sheath. At this developmental stage, the main contributors for sand fixation were changed from bacteria to filamentous cyanobacteria. Microscopic examination of this kind of crust revealed an intricate network of filamentous cyanobacteria and extracellular polymer secretions, which binds and entraps mineral particles and finer particles on the filament surface. These effects enhance soil cohesion and resistance to erosion. The intension of pressure for this kind of crust is 32.53±3.08 Pa.

  16. Soil nematode communities are ecologically more mature beneath late- than early-successional stage biological soil crusts (United States)

    Darby, B.J.; Neher, D.A.; Belnap, J.


    Biological soil crusts are key mediators of carbon and nitrogen inputs for arid land soils and often represent a dominant portion of the soil surface cover in arid lands. Free-living soil nematode communities reflect their environment and have been used as biological indicators of soil condition. In this study, we test the hypothesis that nematode communities are successionally more mature beneath well-developed, late-successional stage crusts than immature, early-successional stage crusts. We identified and enumerated nematodes by genus from beneath early- and late-stage crusts from both the Colorado Plateau, Utah (cool, winter rain desert) and Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico (hot, summer rain desert) at 0-10 and 10-30 cm depths. As hypothesized, nematode abundance, richness, diversity, and successional maturity were greater beneath well-developed crusts than immature crusts. The mechanism of this aboveground-belowground link between biological soil crusts and nematode community composition is likely the increased food, habitat, nutrient inputs, moisture retention, and/or environmental stability provided by late-successional crusts. Canonical correspondence analysis of nematode genera demonstrated that nematode community composition differed greatly between geographic locations that contrast in temperature, precipitation, and soil texture. We found unique assemblages of genera among combinations of location and crust type that reveal a gap in scientific knowledge regarding empirically derived characterization of dominant nematode genera in deserts soils and their functional role in a crust-associated food web. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Lichen-moss interactions within biological soil crusts (United States)

    Ruckteschler, Nina; Williams, Laura; Büdel, Burkhard; Weber, Bettina


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) create well-known hotspots of microbial activity, being important components of hot and cold arid terrestrial regions. They colonize the uppermost millimeters of the soil, being composed of fungi, (cyano-) bacteria, algae, lichens, bryophytes and archaea in varying proportions. Biocrusts protect the (semi-) arid landscape from wind and water erosion, and also increase water holding capacity and nutrient content. Depending on location and developmental stage, composition and species abundance vary within biocrusts. As species live in close contact, they are expected to influence each other, but only a few interactions between different organisms have so far been explored. In the present study, we investigated the effects of the lichen Fulgensia fulgens whilst growing on the moss Trichostomum crispulum. While 77% of Fulgensia fulgens thalli were found growing associated with mosses in a German biocrust, up to 95% of Fulgensia bracteata thalli were moss-associated in a Swedish biocrust. In 49% (Germany) and in 78% (Sweden) of cases, thalli were observed on the moss T. crispulum and less frequently on four and three different moss species. Beneath F. fulgens and F. bracteata thalli, the mosses were dead and in close vicinity to the lichens the mosses appeared frail, bringing us to the assumption that the lichens may release substances harming the moss. We prepared a water extract from the lichen F. fulgens and used this to water the moss thalli (n = 6) on a daily basis over a time-span of three weeks. In a control setup, artificial rainwater was applied to the moss thalli (n = 6). Once a week, maximum CO2 gas exchange rates of the thalli were measured under constant conditions and at the end of the experiment the chlorophyll content of the moss samples was determined. In the course of the experiment net photosynthesis (NP) of the treatment samples decreased concurrently with an increase in dark respiration (DR). The control samples

  18. Chlorophytes of biological soil crusts in Gurbantunggut Desert, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    In this paper, chlorophytes collected from 253 biological soil crust samples in Gurbantunggut Desert in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China were studied by field investigation and microscopical observation in lab. The flora composition, ecological distribution of chlorophytes in the desert and dynamic changes of species composition of chlorophytes in different developing stages of biological soil crusts are preliminarily analyzed. Results showed that there were 26 species belonging to 14 genera and 10 families, in which unicellular chlorophytes were dominant. There existed some differences in distribution of varied sand dune positions. The taxa of chlorophytes in leeward of sand dunes are most abundant, but the taxa in windward, interdune and the top of sand dunes reduced gradually. Chlorophytes were mainly distributed within the crust and the taxa of chlorophytes decrease obviously under the crust. In the devel-oping stages of the biological soil crust, species diversity of chlorophytes changed a little, but species composition pre-sented some differences. Chlorococcum humicola, Chlorella vulgaris, Chlamydomonas ovalis and Chlamydomonas sp. nearly existed in all developing stages of biological crusts. In several former stages of the biological soil crust there were spherical chlorophytes and filamentous ones. When moss crust formed, filamentous chlorophytes disappeared, such as Microspora and Ulothrix.

  19. Rapid recovery of cyanobacterial pigments in desiccated biological soil crusts following addition of water

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Abed, R M M; Polerecky, Lubos; Al-Habsi, Amal; Oetjen, Janina; Strous, Marc; de Beer, Dirk


    We examined soil surface colour change to green and hydrotaxis following addition of water to biological soil crusts using pigment extraction, hyperspectral imaging, microsensors and 13C labeling experiments coupled to matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time of flight-mass spectrometry

  20. A new extreme environment for aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs: biological soil crusts. (United States)

    Csotonyi, Julius T; Swiderski, Jolantha; Stackebrandt, Erko; Yurkov, Vladimir


    Biological soil crusts improve the health of arid or semiarid soils by enhancing water content, nutrient relations and mechanical stability, facilitated largely by phototrophic microorganisms. Until recently, only oxygenic phototrophs were known from soil crusts. A recent study has demonstrated the presence of aerobic representatives of Earth's second major photosynthetic clade, the evolutionarily basal anoxygenic phototrophs. Three Canadian soil crust communities yielded pink and orange aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic strains possessing the light-harvesting pigment bacteriochlorophyll a. At relative abundances of 0.1-5.9% of the cultivable bacterial community, they were comparable in density to aerobic phototrophs in other documented habitats. 16S rDNA sequence analysis revealed the isolates to be related to Methylobacterium, Belnapia, Muricoccus and Sphingomonas. This result adds a new type of harsh habitat, dry soil environments, to the environments known to support aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs.

  1. Patterns and controls on nitrogen cycling of biological soil crusts (United States)

    Barger, Nichole N.; Zaady, Eli; Weber, Bettina; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Belnap, Jayne


    Biocrusts play a significant role in the nitrogen [N ] cycle within arid and semi-arid ecosystems, as they contribute major N inputs via biological fixation and dust capture, harbor internal N transformation processes, and direct N losses via N dissolved, gaseous and erosional loss processes (Fig. 1). Because soil N availability in arid and semi-arid ecosystems is generally low and may limit net primary production (NPP), especially during periods when adequate water is available, understanding the mechanisms and controls of N input and loss pathways in biocrusts is critically important to our broader understanding of N cycling in dryland environments. In particular, N cycling by biocrusts likely regulates short-term soil N availability to support vascular plant growth, as well as long-term N accumulation and maintenance of soil fertility. In this chapter, we review the influence of biocrust nutrient input, internal cycling, and loss pathways across a range of biomes. We examine linkages between N fixation capabilities of biocrust organisms and spatio-temporal patterns of soil N availability that may influence the longer-term productivity of dryland ecosystems. Lastly, biocrust influence on N loss pathways such as N gas loss, leakage of N compounds from biocrusts, and transfer in wind and water erosion are important to understand the maintenance of dryland soil fertility over longer time scales. Although great strides have been made in understanding the influence of biocrusts on ecosystem N cycling, there are important knowledge gaps in our understanding of the influence of biocrusts on ecosystem N cycling that should be the focus of future studies. Because work on the interaction of N cycling and biocrusts was reviewed in Belnap and Lange (2003), this chapter will focus primarily on research findings that have emerged over the last 15 years (2000-2015).

  2. Biological soil crusts in subtropical China and their influence on initial soil erosion (United States)

    Seitz, Steffen; Goebes, Philipp; Kühn, Peter; Scholten, Thomas


    Soil is one of the most valuable resources we have on our planet. The erosion of this resource is a major environmental problem, in particular in subtropical China where high rainfall intensity causes severe and continuous soil losses. One of the main mechanisms controlling soil erosion is surface coverage, typically by vegetation, litter, stones and biological soil crusts (BSCs). BSCs play significant functional roles in soil systems, such as accelerating soil formation, changing water and nutrient cycling rates, enhancing soil stability and thus preventing erosion by wind or water. In initial ecosystems, cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, mosses and lichens are the first organisms to colonize the substrate; they form a biological crust within the first millimetres of the surface. BSCs and their effect on erosion are rarely mentioned in literature and most of the work done focussed on arid and semi-arid environments. This study aims to investigate the role of BSCs controlling the amount of runoff generated and sediment detached during soil erosion events in an initial ecosystem in subtropical China. The study took place on a deforested experimental site (BEF China) near Xingangshan, Jiangxi Province, PR China. We used a total number of 350 runoff plots (ROP, 40cmx40cm) to measure sediment discharge and surface runoff. BSC cover in each ROP was determined photogrammetrically in 4 time steps (autumn 2011, spring 2012, summer 2012 and summer 2013). Perpendicular images were taken and then processed to measure the coverage of BSCs using a 1 cm² digital grid overlay. Additionally BSCs were sampled in the field and identified by their taxonomy. In our ROPs we found 65 different moos, algae and lichen species, as well as cyanobacteria's. Mean BSC cover per ROP in 2013 was 17 % with a maximum of 62 % and a minimum of 0 %. Compared to stone cover with 3 %, our findings highlight the role of BSC in soil erosion processes. The total BSC covered area is slightly decreasing since

  3. A new environment for aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria: biological soil crusts. (United States)

    Csotonyi, Julius T; Swiderski, Jolantha; Stackebrandt, Erko; Yurkov, Vladimir


    Phototrophic microorganisms are critical to the carbon cycling and productivity of biological soil crusts, which enhance water content, nutrient relations and mechanical stability of arid soils. Only oxygen-producing phototrophs, including cyanobacteria and algae, are known from soil crusts, but Earth's second major branch of photosynthetic organisms, the evolutionarily earlier anoxygenic phototrophs, is unreported. We announce the discovery of aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs in three Canadian soil crust communities. We found in a culture-based study that they comprised 0.1-5.9% of the cultivable bacterial community in moss-, lichen- and cyanobacteria-dominated crust from sand dunes and sandy soils. Comparable in density to aerobic phototrophs in other habitats, the bacteriochlorophyll a-possessing pink and orange isolates were related to species of Methylobacterium (99.0-99.5%), Belnapia (97.4-98.8%), Muricoccus (94.4%) and Sphingomonas (96.6-98.5%), based on 16S rRNA gene sequences. Our results demonstrate that proteobacterial anoxygenic phototrophs may be found in dry soil environments, implying desiccation resistance as yet unreported for this group. By utilizing sunlight for part of their energy needs, aerobic phototrophs can accelerate organic carbon cycling in nutrient-poor arid soils. Their effects will be especially important as global climate change enhances soil erosion and consequent nutrient loss.

  4. How development and disturbance of biological soil crust do affect runoff and erosion in drylands?

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chamizo, S.; Canton, Y.; Afana, A.; Lazaro, R.; Domingo, F.; Sole-Benet, A.


    Deserts and semiarid ecosystems (shrub lands and grasslands) are the largest terrestrial biome, covering more than 40% of the Earth's terrestrial surface and Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) are the predominant surface type in most of those ecosystems covering up to 70% of its surface. BSCs have been demonstrated to be very vulnerable to disturbance due to human activities and their loss has been implicated as a factor leading to accelerate soil erosion and other forms of land degradation. Incorporation of the response of different type of soil crusts and the effects of the their disturbance is likely to improve the prediction of runoff and water erosion models in arid and semi-arid catchments. The aim of this work is to analyse the influence of crust disturbance on infiltration and erosion. Extreme rainfall simulations at micro plots scale were performed in two semiarid ecosystems with different lithology and conditions of occurrence of BSCs: El Cautivo and Amoladeras. (Author) 10 refs.

  5. Dew formation on the surface of biological soil crusts in central European sand ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Fischer


    Full Text Available Dew formation was investigated in three developmental stages of biological soil crusts (BSC, which were collected along a catena of an inland dune and in the initial substrate. The Penman equation, which was developed for saturated surfaces, was modified for unsaturated surfaces and used for prediction of dewfall rates. The levels of surface saturation required for this approach were predicted using the water retention functions and the thicknesses of the BSCs. During a first field campaign (2–3 August 2011, dewfall increased from 0.042 kg m−2 for the initial sandy substrate to 0.058, 0.143 and 0.178 kg m−2 for crusts 1 to 3, respectively. During a second field campaign (17–18 August 2011, where dew formation was recorded in 1.5 to 2.75-h intervals after installation at 21:30 CEST, dewfall increased from 0.011 kg m−2 for the initial sandy substrate to 0.013, 0.028 and 0.055 kg m−2 for crusts 1 to 3, respectively. Dewfall rates remained on low levels for the substrate and for crust 1, and decreased overnight for crusts 2 and 3 (with crust 3 > crust 2 > crust 1 throughout the campaign. Dew formation was well reflected by the model response. The suggested mechanism of dew formation involves a delay in water saturation in near-surface soil pores and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS where the crusts were thicker and where the water capacity was high, resulting in elevated vapor flux towards the surface. The results also indicate that the amount of dewfall was too low to saturate the BSCs and to observe water flow into deeper soil. Analysis of the soil water retention curves revealed that, despite the sandy mineral matrix, moist crusts clogged by swollen EPS pores exhibited a clay-like behavior. It is hypothesized that BSCs gain double benefit from suppressing their competitors by runoff generation and from improving their water supply by dew collection. Despite higher amounts of dew, the

  6. Effects of Altered Temperature & Precipitation on Soil Bacterial & Microfaunal Communities as Mediated by Biological Soil Crusts

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Neher, Deborah A. [University of Vermont


    With increased temperatures in our original pot study we observed a decline in lichen/moss crust cover and with that a decline in carbon and nitrogen fixation, and thus a probable decline of C and N input into crusts and soils. Soil bacteria and fauna were affected negatively by increased temperature in both light and dark crusts, and with movement from cool to hot and hot to hotter desert climates. Crust microbial biomass and relative abundance of diazotrophs was reduced greatly after one year, even in pots that were not moved from their original location, although no change in diazotroph community structure was observed. Populations of soil fauna moved from cool to hot deserts were affected more negatively than those moved from hot to hotter deserts.

  7. Geomorphic controls on biological soil crust distribution: A conceptual model from the Mojave Desert (USA) (United States)

    Williams, Amanda J.; Buck, Brenda J.; Soukup, Deborah A.; Merkler, Douglas J.


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are bio-sedimentary features that play critical geomorphic and ecological roles in arid environments. Extensive mapping, surface characterization, GIS overlays, and statistical analyses explored relationships among BSCs, geomorphology, and soil characteristics in a portion of the Mojave Desert (USA). These results were used to develop a conceptual model that explains the spatial distribution of BSCs. In this model, geologic and geomorphic processes control the ratio of fine sand to rocks, which constrains the development of three surface cover types and biogeomorphic feedbacks across intermontane basins. (1) Cyanobacteria crusts grow where abundant fine sand and negligible rocks form saltating sand sheets. Cyanobacteria facilitate moderate sand sheet activity that reduces growth potential of mosses and lichens. (2) Extensive tall moss-lichen pinnacled crusts are favored on early to late Holocene surfaces composed of mixed rock and fine sand. Moss-lichen crusts induce a dust capture feedback mechanism that promotes further crust propagation and forms biologically-mediated vesicular (Av) horizons. The presence of thick biogenic vesicular horizons supports the interpretation that BSCs are long-lived surface features. (3) Low to moderate density moss-lichen crusts grow on early Holocene and older geomorphic surfaces that display high rock cover and negligible surficial fine sand. Desert pavement processes and abiotic vesicular horizon formation dominate these surfaces and minimize bioturbation potential. The biogeomorphic interactions that sustain these three surface cover trajectories support unique biological communities and soil conditions, thereby sustaining ecological stability. The proposed conceptual model helps predict BSC distribution within intermontane basins to identify biologically sensitive areas, set reference conditions for ecological restoration, and potentially enhance arid landscape models, as scientists address impacts

  8. A first record of biological soil crusts in the Cape Floristic Region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Denise M. Mager


    Full Text Available To date, the biological soil crusts (BSCs of southern Africa are thought to be dominated mainly by cyanobacteria, with the exception of the lichen fields of the Namib Desert. Because soil microorganisms can physically modify, maintain or create habitat for other organisms – including soil biota and plants – they have been considered ecosystem engineers. Therefore, the presence of BSCs may be a good indicator of ecosystem resilience. Although BSCs are found throughout the world, recent work has suggested that the absence of BSCs in the fynbos of South Africa may be as a result of the inherent acidity of soils. We surveyed one area within the fynbos biome for the presence of BSCs and determined the relative cover of vegetation and different crust types. We found a widespread presence (up to 80% of surface soil of BSC communities in fynbos soils. We conclude that soil acidity may not be a constraining factor in the development of BSCs in fynbos soils and that previous reports on the absence of BSCs in fynbos soils may have been based on insufficient field observations. We encourage future studies in this region in order to determine the currently unexplored spatial distribution of soil microbial communities and the taxonomic composition of microorganisms in fynbos soils.

  9. Restoring the biological crust cover of soils across biomes in arid North America (United States)

    Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Antoninka, Anita; Bowker, Matthew; Giraldo Silva, Ana; Nelson, Corey; Velasco Ayuso, Sergio; Barger, Nichole; Belnap, Jayne; Reed, Sasha; Duniway, Michael


    Biological soil crust communities provide important ecosystem services to arid lands, particularly regarding soil fertility and stability against erosion. In North America, and in many other areas of the globe, increasingly intense human activities, ranging from cattle grazing to military training, have resulted in the significant deterioration of biological soil surface cover of soils. With the intent of attaining sustainable land use practices, we are conducting a 5-year, multi-institutional research effort to develop feasible soil crusts restoration strategies for US military lands. We are including field sites of varying climatic regions (warm and cold deserts, in the Chihuahuan Desert and in the Great Basin, respectively) and varying edaphic characteristics (sandy and silty soils in each). We have multiple aims. First, we aim to establishing effective "biocrust nurseries" that produce viable and pedigreed inoculum, as a supply center for biocrust restoration and for research and development. Second, we aim to develop optimal field application methods of biocrust inoculum in a series of field trials. Currently in our second year of research, we will be reporting on significant advances made on optimizing methodologies for the large-scale supply of inoculum based on a) pedigreed laboratory cultures that match the microbial community structure of the original sites, and b) "in soil" biomass enhancement, whereby small amounts of local crusts are nursed under greenhouse conditions to yield hundred-fold increases in biomass without altering significantly community structure. We will also report on field trials for methodologies in field application, which included shading, watering, application of chemical polymers, and soil surface roughening. In a soon-to-be-initiated effort we also aim to evaluate soil and plant responses to biocrust restoration with respect to plant community structure, soil fertility, and soil stability, in multi-factorial field experiments. An

  10. Ecological succession, hydrology and carbon acquisition of biological soil crusts measured at the micro-scale. (United States)

    Tighe, Matthew; Haling, Rebecca E; Flavel, Richard J; Young, Iain M


    The hydrological characteristics of biological soil crusts (BSCs) are not well understood. In particular the relationship between runoff and BSC surfaces at relatively large (>1 m(2)) scales is ambiguous. Further, there is a dearth of information on small scale (mm to cm) hydrological characterization of crust types which severely limits any interpretation of trends at larger scales. Site differences and broad classifications of BSCs as one soil surface type rather than into functional form exacerbate the problem. This study examines, for the first time, some hydrological characteristics and related surface variables of a range of crust types at one site and at a small scale (sub mm to mm). X-ray tomography and fine scale hydrological measurements were made on intact BSCs, followed by C and C isotopic analyses. A 'hump' shaped relationship was found between the successional stage/sensitivity to physical disturbance classification of BSCs and their hydrophobicity, and a similar but 'inverse hump' relationship exists with hydraulic conductivity. Several bivariate relationships were found between hydrological variables. Hydraulic conductivity and hydrophobicity of BSCs were closely related but this association was confounded by crust type. The surface coverage of crust and the microporosity 0.5 mm below the crust surface were closely associated irrespective of crust type. The δ (13)C signatures of the BSCs were also related to hydraulic conductivity, suggesting that the hydrological characteristics of BSCs alter the chemical processes of their immediate surroundings via the physiological response (C acquisition) of the crust itself. These small scale results illustrate the wide range of hydrological properties associated with BSCs, and suggest associations between the ecological successional stage/functional form of BSCs and their ecohydrological role that needs further examination.

  11. Carbon exchange in biological soil crust communities under differential temperatures and soil water contents: implications for global change (United States)

    Grote, Edmund E.; Belnap, Jayne; Housman, David C.; Sparks, Jed P.


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are an integral part of the soil system in arid regions worldwide, stabilizing soil surfaces, aiding vascular plant establishment, and are significant sources of ecosystem nitrogen and carbon. Hydration and temperature primarily control ecosystem CO2 flux in these systems. Using constructed mesocosms for incubations under controlled laboratory conditions, we examined the effect of temperature (5-35 1C) and water content (WC, 20-100%) on CO2 exchange in light cyanobacterially dominated) and dark cyanobacteria/lichen and moss dominated) biocrusts of the cool Colorado Plateau Desert in Utah and the hot Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico. In light crusts from both Utah and New Mexico, net photosynthesis was highest at temperatures 430 1C. Net photosynthesis in light crusts from Utah was relatively insensitive to changes in soil moisture. In contrast, light crusts from New Mexico tended to exhibit higher rates of net photosynthesis at higher soil moisture. Dark crusts originating from both sites exhibited the greatest net photosynthesis at intermediate soil water content (40-60%). Declines in net photosynthesis were observed in dark crusts with crusts from Utah showing declines at temperatures 425 1C and those originating from New Mexico showing declines at temperatures 435 1C. Maximum net photosynthesis in all crust types from all locations were strongly influenced by offsets in the optimal temperature and water content for gross photosynthesis compared with dark respiration. Gross photosynthesis tended to be maximized at some intermediate value of temperature and water content and dark respiration tended to increase linearly. The results of this study suggest biocrusts are capable of CO2 exchange under a wide range of conditions. However, significant changes in the magnitude of this exchange should be expected for the temperature and precipitation changes suggested by current climate models.

  12. Modelling and interpreting biologically crusted dryland soil sub-surface structure using automated micropenetrometry (United States)

    Hoon, Stephen R.; Felde, Vincent J. M. N. L.; Drahorad, Sylvie L.; Felix-Henningsen, Peter


    Soil penetrometers are used routinely to determine the shear strength of soils and deformable sediments both at the surface and throughout a depth profile in disciplines as diverse as soil science, agriculture, geoengineering and alpine avalanche-safety (e.g. Grunwald et al. 2001, Van Herwijnen et al. 2009). Generically, penetrometers comprise two principal components: An advancing probe, and a transducer; the latter to measure the pressure or force required to cause the probe to penetrate or advance through the soil or sediment. The force transducer employed to determine the pressure can range, for example, from a simple mechanical spring gauge to an automatically data-logged electronic transducer. Automated computer control of the penetrometer step size and probe advance rate enables precise measurements to be made down to a resolution of 10's of microns, (e.g. the automated electronic micropenetrometer (EMP) described by Drahorad 2012). Here we discuss the determination, modelling and interpretation of biologically crusted dryland soil sub-surface structures using automated micropenetrometry. We outline a model enabling the interpretation of depth dependent penetration resistance (PR) profiles and their spatial differentials using the model equations, σ {}(z) ={}σ c0{}+Σ 1n[σ n{}(z){}+anz + bnz2] and dσ /dz = Σ 1n[dσ n(z) /dz{} {}+{}Frn(z)] where σ c0 and σ n are the plastic deformation stresses for the surface and nth soil structure (e.g. soil crust, layer, horizon or void) respectively, and Frn(z)dz is the frictional work done per unit volume by sliding the penetrometer rod an incremental distance, dz, through the nth layer. Both σ n(z) and Frn(z) are related to soil structure. They determine the form of σ {}(z){} measured by the EMP transducer. The model enables pores (regions of zero deformation stress) to be distinguished from changes in layer structure or probe friction. We have applied this method to both artificial calibration soils in the

  13. Biological soil crusts reduce soil erosion in early successional subtropical forests in PR China (United States)

    Seitz, Steffen; Goebes, Philipp; Käppeler, Kathrin; Nebel, Martin; Webber, Carla; Scholten, Thomas


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) have major influences on terrestrial ecosystems and play significant functional roles in soil systems, such as accelerating soil formation, changing water flows or enhancing soil stability. By that, they have the potential to protect soil surfaces against erosive forces by wind or water. However, the effect of BSCs on erosion processes is rarely mentioned in literature and most of the work done focused on arid and semi-arid environments. Furthermore, compared to the structure and function of BSCs, less attention was paid to their temporal and topographical distribution. This study aims to investigate the influence of BSCs on initial soil erosion, and their topographical development over time in initial subtropical forest ecosystems. Therefore, measurements have been conducted within a biodiversity and ecosystem functioning experiment (BEF China) near Xingangshan, Jiangxi Province, PR China. Interrill erosion was measured on 220 microscale run-off plots (ROPs, 0.4 m × 0.4 m) and the occurrence, distribution and development of BSCs within the measuring setup were recorded. BSC cover in each ROP was determined photogrammetrically in four time steps (autumn 2011, summer 2012, summer 2013 and summer 2014). BSC species were identified by morphological characteristics and classified to higher taxonomic levels. Higher BSC cover led to reduced sediment discharge and runoff volume due to its protection against splash energy, the adherence of soil particles and enhanced infiltration. Canopy ground cover and leaf area index had a positive effect on the development of BSC cover at this initial stage of the forest ecosystem. Moreover, BSC cover decreased with increasing slope, as we presume that developing BSCs are washed away more easily at steep gradients. Elevation and aspect did not show an influence. BSCs in this study were moss-dominated and 26 different moos species were found. Mean BSC cover on ROPs was 14 % in the 3rd year of the tree

  14. Biological soil crusts on initial soils: organic carbon dynamics and chemistry under temperate climatic conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Dümig


    Full Text Available Numerous studies have been carried out on the community structure and diversity of biological soil crusts (BSCs as well as their important functions on ecosystem processes. However, the amount of BSC-derived organic carbon (OC input into soils and its chemical composition under natural conditions has rarely been investigated. In this study, different development stages of algae- and moss-dominated BSCs were investigated on a~natural (<17 yr old BSCs and experimental sand dune (<4 yr old BSCs in northeastern Germany. We determined the OC accumulation in BSC-layers and the BSC-derived OC input into the underlying substrates for bulk materials and fractions <63 μm. The chemical composition of OC was characterized by applying solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy and analysis of the carbohydrate-C signature.14C contents were used to assess the origin and dynamic of OC in BSCs and underlying substrates. Our results indicated a rapid BSC establishment and development from algae- to moss-dominated BSCs within only 4 yr under this temperate climate. The distribution of BSC types was presumably controlled by the surface stability according to the position in the slope. We found no evidence that soil properties influenced the BSC distribution on both sand dunes. 14C contents clearly indicated the existence of two OC pools in BSCs and substrates, recent BSC-derived OC and lignite-derived "old" OC (biologically refractory. The input of recent BSC-derived OC strongly decreased the mean residence time of total OC. The downward translocation of OC into the underlying substrates was only found for moss-dominated BSCs at the natural sand dune which may accelerate soil formation at these spots. BSC-derived OC mainly comprised O-alkyl C (carbohydrate-C and to a lesser extent also alkyl C and N-alkyl C in varying compositions. Accumulation of alkyl C was only detected in BSCs at the experimental dune which may induce a~lower water

  15. High resolution mapping of Normalized Difference Vegetation Indices (NDVI) of biological soil crusts (United States)

    Fischer, T.; Veste, M.; Eisele, A.; Bens, O.; Spyra, W.; Hüttl, R. F.


    Normalized Difference Vegetation Indices (NDVI) are typically determined using satellite or airborne remote sensing, or field portable spectrometers, which give an averaged signal on centimetre to meter scale plots. Biological soil crust (BSC) patches may have smaller sizes, and ecophysiological, hydrological as well as pedological processes may be heterogeneously distributed within this level of resolution. A ground-based NDVI imaging procedure using low-cost equipment (Olympus Camedia 5000z digital camera equipped with a Hoya R72 infrared filter) was developed in this study to fill this gap at the level of field research, where carrying costly and bulky equipment to remote locations is often the limiting factor for data collection. A commercially available colour rendition chart (GretagMacbeth ColorChecker®) with known red (600-700 nm) and NIR (800-900 nm) reflectances was placed into each scene and used for calibration purposes on a per-image basis. Generation of NDVI images involved (i) determination of red and NIR reflectances from the pixel values of the red and NIR channels, respectively, and (ii) calculation and imaging of the NDVI, where NDVI values of -1 to +1 were mapped to grey values of 0 to 255. The correlation between NDVI values retrieved from these images and NDVI values determined using conventional field spectrometry (ASD FieldSpec 3 portable spectroradiometer) was close (r2 =0.91), the 95% confidence interval amounted to 0.10 NDVI units. The pixel resolution was 0.8 mm in the field and 0.2 mm in the laboratory, but can still be improved significantly with closer distance to the crust or with higher camera resolution. Geostatistical analysis revealed that both spatial variability as well as size of individual objects characterized by the NDVI increased with crust development. The latter never exceeded 4 mm in the investigated crusts, which points to the necessity of high resolution imaging for linking remote sensing with ecophysiology

  16. Three-dimensional structure and cyanobacterial activity within a desert biological soil crust. (United States)

    Raanan, Hagai; Felde, Vincent J M N L; Peth, Stephan; Drahorad, Sylvie; Ionescu, Danny; Eshkol, Gil; Treves, Haim; Felix-Henningsen, Peter; Berkowicz, Simon M; Keren, Nir; Horn, Rainer; Hagemann, Martin; Kaplan, Aaron


    Desert biological soil crusts (BSCs) are formed by adhesion of soil particles to polysaccharides excreted by filamentous cyanobacteria, the pioneers and main producers in this habitat. Biological soil crust destruction is a central factor leading to land degradation and desertification. We study the effect of BSC structure on cyanobacterial activity. Micro-scale structural analysis using X-ray microtomography revealed a vesiculated layer 1.5-2.5 mm beneath the surface in close proximity to the cyanobacterial location. Light profiles showed attenuation with depth of 1%-5% of surface light within 1 mm but also revealed the presence of 'light pockets', coinciding with the vesiculated layer, where the irradiance was 10-fold higher than adjacent crust parts at the same depth. Maximal photosynthetic activity, examined by O2 concentration profiles, was observed 1 mm beneath the surface and another peak in association with the 'light pockets'. Thus, photosynthetic activity may not be visible to currently used remote sensing techniques, suggesting that BSCs' contribution to terrestrial productivity is underestimated. Exposure to irradiance higher than 10% full sunlight diminished chlorophyll fluorescence, whereas O2 evolution and CO2 uptake rose, indicating that fluorescence did not reflect cyanobacterial photosynthetic activity. Our data also indicate that although resistant to high illumination, the BSC-inhabiting cyanobacteria function as 'low-light adapted' organisms.

  17. Biological soil crusts as an organizing principle in drylands: Chapter 1 (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Weber, Bettina; Büdel, Burkhard; Weber, Bettina; Buedel, Burkhard; Belnap, Jayne


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) have been present on Earth’s terrestrial surfaces for billions of years. They are a critical part of ecosystem processes in dryland regions, as they cover most of the soil surface and thus mediate almost all inputs and outputs from soils in these areas. There are many intriguing, but understudied, roles these communities may play in drylands. These include their function in nutrient capture and transformation, influence on the movement and distribution of nutrients and water within dryland soils, ability to structure vascular plant communities, role in creating biodiversity hotspots, and the possibility that they can be used as indicators of soil health. There are still many fascinating aspects of these communities that need study, and we hope that this chapter will facilitate such efforts.

  18. Revisiting classic water erosion models in drylands: The strong impact of biological soil crusts (United States)

    Bowker, M.A.; Belnap, J.; Bala, Chaudhary V.; Johnson, N.C.


    Soil erosion and subsequent degradation has been a contributor to societal collapse in the past and is one of the major expressions of desertification in arid regions. The revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) models soil lost to water erosion as a function of climate erosivity (the degree to which rainfall can result in erosion), topography, soil erodibility, and land use/management. The soil erodibility factor (K) is primarily based upon inherent soil properties (those which change slowly or not at all) such as soil texture and organic matter content, while the cover/management factor (C) is based on several parameters including biological soil crust (BSC) cover. We examined the effect of two more precise indicators of BSC development, chlorophyll a and exopolysaccharides (EPS), upon soil stability, which is closely inversely related to soil loss in an erosion event. To examine the relative influence of these elements of the C factor to the K factor, we conducted our investigation across eight strongly differing soils in the 0.8 million ha Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We found that within every soil group, chlorophyll a was a moderate to excellent predictor of soil stability (R2 = 0.21-0.75), and consistently better than EPS. Using a simple structural equation model, we explained over half of the variance in soil stability and determined that the direct effect of chlorophyll a was 3?? more important than soil group in determining soil stability. Our results suggest that, holding the intensity of erosive forces constant, the acceleration or reduction of soil erosion in arid landscapes will primarily be an outcome of management practices. This is because the factor which is most influential to soil erosion, BSC development, is also among the most manageable, implying that water erosion in drylands has a solution. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

  19. Species composition,distribution patterns and ecological functions of biological soil crusts in the Gurbantunggut Desert

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    As one of the most important biological factors that maintain the stability of the largest fixed and semi-fixed desert in China,the Gurbantunggut Desert,the biological soil crusts (BSCs) develop well and play critical ecological roles in the desert ecosystem. In this paper,we briefly summarize our research findings since 2002 including species composition,distribution pattern and ecological functions of BSCs in the desert. Our results indicate abundant species diversity of BSCs in the Gurbantunggut Desert in comparison to other deserts in China. At the scales of sand dune or whole desert,the distribution patterns of BSCs are location-specific. The existence of BSCs in this desert could:(1) accelerate the formation of desert soil and the weathering of minerals; (2) accumulate organic matter in surface soil through related species in soil crusts; (3) enhance the abilities of sand surface to resist wind erosion; (4) influence seed germination of vascular plants; and (5) enhance the production of dew deposition on sandy soil surface.

  20. Contribution of the biological crust to the soil CO2 efflux in a Mediterranean ecosystem (United States)

    Morillas, Lourdes; Bellucco, Veronica; Lo Cascio, Mauro; Marras, Serena; Spano, Donatella; Mereu, Simone


    Lately, the important role of the soil biological crust (hereafter biocrust) in Mediterranean ecosystems is emerging from a multitude of articles. It is becoming apparent that the biocrust has an important role in regulating ecosystem functions and that it interacts with the woody and herbaceous vegetation to a degree depending on the availability of water among other factors. Here we present the first results of a wider project and focus on the contribution of the biocrust to soil CO2 efflux, and on how the respiration of the biocrust responds to soil water content and temperature. A manipulative experiment was performed in a Mediterranean shrubland ecosystem in Sardinia (Italy) to assess the contribution of the bicocrust to soil CO2 efflux and to identify the main environmental drivers of the CO2 efflux in this ecosystem. For 19 months,in situ soil CO2 efflux was measured over three different surfaces: soil deprived of biocrust (hereafter Soil), biocrust (hereafter BC) and intact soil (hereafter Soil+BC). For these surfaces, three different approaches were used to investigate the dependency of CO2 efflux on soil temperature and soil water content, e.g. a simple linear regression, a multi-linear equation, and a modified version of the most common used Lloyd and Taylor model (Lloyd and Taylor, 1994). Results showed that CO2 effluxes emitted by Soil, BC and Soil+BC were differently driven by soil moisture and temperature: BC respiration was mainly controlled by soil moisture at 5 cm depth, whereas both soil temperature and water content at 20 cm depth determined Soil CO2 efflux. Soil temperature and water content at 5 cm depth drove Soil+BC respiration. We also found that biocrust can contribute substantially (up to 60%) to the total soil respiration depending on its moisture content. This contribution persists even in periods in which deeper soil layers are inactive, as small water pulses can activate lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria associated to the biocrust as

  1. Rapidly restoring biological soil crusts and ecosystem functions in a severely disturbed desert ecosystem. (United States)

    Chiquoine, Lindsay P; Abella, Scott R; Bowker, Matthew A


    Restoring biological soil crusts (biocrusts) in degraded drylands can contribute to recovery of ecosystem functions that have global implications, including erosion resistance and nutrient cycling. To examine techniques for restoring biocrusts, we conducted a replicated, factorial experiment on recently abandoned road surfaces by applying biocrust inoculation (salvaged and stored dry for two years), salvaged topsoil, an abiotic soil amendment (wood shavings), and planting of a dominant perennial shrub (Ambrosia dumosa). Eighteen months after treatments, we measured biocrust abundance and species composition, soil chlorophyll a content and fertility, and soil resistance to erosion. Biocrust addition significantly accelerated biocrust recovery on disturbed soils, including increasing lichen and moss cover and cyanobacteria colonization. Compared to undisturbed controls, inoculated plots had similar lichen and moss composition, recovered 43% of total cyanobacteria density, had similar soil chlorophyll content, and exhibited recovery of soil fertility and soil stability. Inoculation was the only treatment that generated lichen and moss cover. Topsoil application resulted in partial recovery of the cyanobacteria community and soil properties. Compared to untreated disturbed plots, topsoil application without inoculum increased cyanobacteria density by 186% and moderately improved soil chlorophyll and ammonium content and soil stability. Topsoil application produced 22% and 51% of the cyanobacteria density g⁻¹ soil compared to undisturbed and inoculated plots, respectively. Plots not treated with either topsoil or inoculum had significantly lower cyanobacteria density, soil chlorophyll and ammonium concentrations, and significantly higher soil nitrate concentration. Wood shavings and Ambrosia had no influence on biocrust lichen and moss species recovery but did affect cyanobacteria composition and soil fertility. Inoculation of severely disturbed soil with native

  2. Measurement of dinitrogen fixation by Biological soil crust (BSC) from the Sahelian zone: an isotopic method. (United States)

    Ehrhardt, F.; Alavoine, G.; Bertrand, I.


    Amongst the described ecological roles of Biological Soil Crust, N fixation is of importance for soil fertility, especially in arid and semi-arid ecosystems with low inputs. In BSC, the quantification of N fixation fluxes using an indirect method is widespread, usually with the Acetylene Reduction Assay (ARA) which consists in measuring the nitrogenase activity through the process of acetylene reduction into ethylene. A converting factor, still discussed in the literature and greatly depending of the constitutive organisms of the BSC, is the tool used to convert the amount of reduced ethylene into quantitative fixed Nitrogen. The aim of this poster is to describe an isotopic direct method to quantify the atmospheric dinitrogen fixation fluxes in BSC, while minimizing the variability due to manipulations. Nine different BSC from the Sahelian zone were selected and placed in an incubation room at 28° C in dark and light conditions during three days, while moisture equivalent to pF=2 was regularly adjusted using the gravimetric method with needles and deionized water, in order to activate and reach a dynamic stability of their metabolisms. Subsequently, each crust was placed into a gas-tight glass vial for incubation with a reconstituted 15N2 enriched atmosphere (31.61 % atom 15N, while the proportion of each main gas present in the air was conserved, i.e. 78% N2, 21% O2 and 0.04% CO2). Principal difficulties are to guarantee the airtighness of the system, to avoid crust desiccation and to keep the crust metabolically active under stable conditions for six hours. Several tests were performed to determine the optimum time for 15N2 incubation. Three replicated control samples per crust were also stabilized for three days and then dried at 105° C, without any incubation with 15N2 enriched atmosphere. Total N and 15N were then measured in the grounded (80μm) and dried (105° C) crust, using a Flash EA elemental analyzer (Eurovector, Milan, Italy) coupled to a Delta

  3. Bacterial community dynamics over successional stages of Australian biological soil crusts (United States)

    Chilton, Angela; Woodhouse, Jason; Neilan, Brett


    A key aspect for successful ecological rehabilitation is understanding the naturally occurring ecosystem and landscape function which is to be restored. This allows for recovery indicators to be identified and criteria to be developed to assess progress and outcomes. In arid rangelands, environmental stresses result in characteristically heterogeneous landscapes where biological soil crusts (BSCs) cover large expanses of inter-plant areas. Here, BSCs perform crucial roles in nutrient cycling and re-distribution, affect hydrological patterns and stabilise the soil surface. They also serve as a large reservoir of microbial and avascular plant biodiversity. The recognition of these important roles has resulted in increased global arid rehabilitation efforts employing BSCs. Within Australia, research has focused on the macro components of BSCs including lichens and mosses, however, there have been insufficient studies examining the BSC bacterial communities and their dynamics over different successional stages. This project surveyed the bacterial community of crust-free soil and three successional stages of undisturbed BSCs from New South Wales (NSW), Australia, in order to provide reference standards of naturally occurring Australian BSCs. Visual assessments were conducted and BSCs were categorised as Early, Mid or Late stage depending on colour, thickness, topography and presence of lichens and mosses. The crust-free soil and different stages were sampled within three 50 m2 plots of the same edaphic conditions near the town of Cobar, NSW. High throughput sequencing using the Illumina MiSeq platform was performed targeting the V2 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Preliminary analysis has revealed a clear distinction between the crust-free and crusted soil while Canonical Analysis of Principal Co-ordinates (CAP) suggests the presence of two distinct BSC microbial communities despite three stages being sampled. Across all sample types, the dominant phyla were Actinobacteria

  4. Ecological Maturity and Drought Stress of Biological Soil Crusts along a Central European Inland Dune Catena (United States)

    Fischer, Thomas; Veste, Maik; Mykhailova, Larysa


    In the early stages of ecological succession, the rate of primary production, or total photosynthesis (P) exceeds the rate of community respiration (R), so that the P/R ratio is greater than 1. In the special case of organic pollution, the P/R ratio is typically less than 1. Odums theory (Odum, 1969) is that P/R approaches 1 as succession occurs. The P/R ratio, therefore, should be an excellent functional index of the relative maturity of the system. Photosynthesis and respiration of biological soil crusts (BSCs) sampled along a mobile inland dune catena were determined to evaluate the applicability of Odums P/R ratio for estimation of crust ecosystem maturity under progressing drought stress. Samples of BSCs were collected near the dune crest (aeolian deflation zone, BSC type 1, thickness 1-2 mm, 13.8 mg/m2 Chlorophyll a), at the at the dune slope (protected from wind by tussocks of Corynephorus canescens, BSC type 2, thickness 2-4 mm, 24.5 mg/m2 Chlorophyll a) and near the base (BSC type 3, thickness 4-6 mm, 27.3 mg/m2 Chlorophyll a) of a carbonate-free, siliceous, east-facing inland dune. The P/R-ratio decreased with crust biomass downslope, with the exception that the highly disturbed and seemingly most immature BSC type 1 did not have the highest P/R ratio as could be expected according to our working hypothesis (mean arithmetic P/R=0.85), but the lowest compared to BSC types 2 and 3 (mean arithmetic P/R values 1.78 and 1.25, respectively). Dümig et al. (2013) reported decreasing relative amounts of fossil and increasing amounts of recent carbon downslope for the same BSCs as studied here. At the same time, the 14C ages of the crusts decreased from 570 years for the mineral substrate, to 165, 80 and ~5 years for BSC type 1, 2 and 3, respectively (Dümig et al., 2013). We attribute the unexpectedly low P/R ratio of crust 1 to the influence of fossil, non-crust organic matter which was inherited from former pedogenesis, and which can be considered as "organic

  5. Frequent fire promotes diversity and cover of biological soil crusts in a derived temperate grassland. (United States)

    O'Bryan, Katharine E; Prober, Suzanne Mary; Lunt, Ian D; Eldridge, David J


    The intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) predicts that species diversity is maximized at moderate disturbance levels. This model is often applied to grassy ecosystems, where disturbance can be important for maintaining vascular plant composition and diversity. However, effects of disturbance type and frequency on cover and diversity of non-vascular plants comprising biological soil crusts are poorly known, despite their potentially important role in ecosystem function. We established replicated disturbance regimes of different type (fire vs. mowing) and frequency (2, 4, 8 yearly and unburnt) in a high-quality, representative Themeda australis-Poa sieberiana derived grassland in south-eastern Australia. Effects on soil crust bryophytes and lichens (hereafter cryptogams) were measured after 12 years. Consistent with expectations under IDH, cryptogam richness and abundance declined under no disturbance, likely due to competitive exclusion by vascular plants as well as high soil turnover by soil invertebrates beneath thick grass. Disturbance type was also significant, with burning enhancing richness and abundance more than mowing. Contrary to expectations, however, cryptogam richness increased most dramatically under our most frequent and recent (2 year) burning regime, even when changes in abundance were accounted for by rarefaction analysis. Thus, from the perspective of cryptogams, 2-year burning was not an adequately severe disturbance regime to reduce diversity, highlighting the difficulty associated with expression of disturbance gradients in the application of IDH. Indeed, significant correlations with grassland structure suggest that cryptogam abundance and diversity in this relatively mesic (600 mm annual rainfall) grassland is maximised by frequent fires that reduce vegetation and litter cover, providing light, open areas and stable soil surfaces for colonisation. This contrasts with detrimental effects of 2-year burning on native perennial grasses

  6. How biological soil crusts became recognized as a functional unit: a selective history (United States)

    Lange, Otto L.; Belnap, Jayne


    It is surprising that despite the world-wide distribution and general importance of biological soil crusts (biocrusts), scientific recognition and functional analysis of these communities is a relatively young field of science. In this chapter, we sketch the historical lines that led to the recognition of biocrusts as a community with important ecosystem functions. The idea of biocrusts as a functional ecological community has come from two main scientific branches: botany and soil science. For centuries, botanists have long recognized that multiple organisms colonize the soil surface in the open and often dry areas occurring between vascular plants. Much later, after the initial taxonomic and phyto-sociological descriptions were made, soil scientists and agronomists observed that these surface organisms interacted with soils in ways that changed the soil structure. In the 1970’s, research on these communities as ecological units that played an important functional role in drylands began in earnest, and these studies have continued to this day. Here, we trace the history of these studies from the distant past until 1990, when biocrusts became well-known to scientists and the public.

  7. Climate change and physical disturbance manipulations result in distinct biological soil crust communities (United States)

    Steven, Blaire; Kuske, Cheryl R.; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne; Reed, Sasha C.; Belnap, Jayne


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) colonize plant interspaces in many drylands and are critical to soil nutrient cycling. Multiple climate change and land use factors have been shown to detrimentally impact biocrusts on a macroscopic (i.e., visual) scale. However, the impact of these perturbations on the bacterial components of the biocrusts remain poorly understood. We employed multiple long-term field experiments to assess the impacts of chronic physical (foot trampling) and climatic changes (2 °C soil warming, altered summer precipitation (wetting), and combined warming and wetting) on biocrust bacterial biomass, composition, and metabolic profile. The biocrust bacterial communities adopted distinct states based on the mechanism of disturbance. Chronic trampling decreased biomass and caused small community compositional change. Soil warming had little effect on biocrust biomass or composition, while wetting resulted in an increase in cyanobacterial biomass and altered bacterial composition. Warming combined with wetting dramatically altered bacterial composition and decreased cyanobacteria abundance. Shotgun metagenomic sequencing identified four functional gene categories that differed in relative abundance among the manipulations, suggesting that climate and land use changes affected soil bacterial functional potential. This study illustrates that different types of biocrust disturbance damage biocrusts in macroscopically similar ways, but they differentially impact the resident soil bacterial communities and the community functional profile can differ depending on the disturbance type. Therefore, the nature of the perturbation and the microbial response are important considerations for management and restoration of drylands.

  8. Climate change and physical disturbance manipulations result in distinct biological soil crust communities. (United States)

    Steven, Blaire; Kuske, Cheryl R; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne; Reed, Sasha C; Belnap, Jayne


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) colonize plant interspaces in many drylands and are critical to soil nutrient cycling. Multiple climate change and land use factors have been shown to detrimentally impact biocrusts on a macroscopic (i.e., visual) scale. However, the impact of these perturbations on the bacterial components of the biocrusts remains poorly understood. We employed multiple long-term field experiments to assess the impacts of chronic physical (foot trampling) and climatic changes (2°C soil warming, altered summer precipitation [wetting], and combined warming and wetting) on biocrust bacterial biomass, composition, and metabolic profile. The biocrust bacterial communities adopted distinct states based on the mechanism of disturbance. Chronic trampling decreased biomass and caused small community compositional changes. Soil warming had little effect on biocrust biomass or composition, while wetting resulted in an increase in the cyanobacterial biomass and altered bacterial composition. Warming combined with wetting dramatically altered bacterial composition and decreased Cyanobacteria abundance. Shotgun metagenomic sequencing identified four functional gene categories that differed in relative abundance among the manipulations, suggesting that climate and land use changes affected soil bacterial functional potential. This study illustrates that different types of biocrust disturbance damage biocrusts in macroscopically similar ways, but they differentially impact the resident soil bacterial communities, and the communities' functional profiles can differ depending on the disturbance type. Therefore, the nature of the perturbation and the microbial response are important considerations for management and restoration of drylands.

  9. Soil fertility in deserts: a review on the influence of biological soil crusts and the effect of soil surface disturbance on nutrient inputs and losses (United States)

    Reynolds, R.; Phillips, S.; Duniway, M.; Belnap, J.


    Sources of desert soil fertility include parent material weathering, aeolian deposition, and on-site C and N biotic fixation. While parent materials provide many soil nutrients, aeolian deposition can provide up to 75% of plant-essential nutrients including N, P, K, Mg, Na, Mn, Cu, and Fe. Soil surface biota are often sticky, and help retain wind-deposited nutrients, as well as providing much of the N inputs. Carbon inputs are from both plants and soil surface biota. Most desert soils are protected by cyanobacterial-lichen-moss soil crusts, chemical crusts and/or desert pavement. Experimental disturbances applied in US deserts show disruption of soil surfaces result in decreased N and C inputs from soil biota by up to 100%. The ability to glue aeolian deposits in place is compromised, and underlying soils are exposed to erosion. The ability to withstand wind increases with biological and physical soil crust development. While most undisturbed sites show little sediment production, disturbance by vehicles or livestock produce up to 36 times more sediment production, with soil movement initiated at wind velocities well below commonly-occurring wind speeds. Soil fines and flora are often concentrated in the top 3 mm of the soil surface. Winds across disturbed areas can quickly remove this material from the soil surface, thereby potentially removing much of current and future soil fertility. Thus, disturbances of desert soil surfaces can both reduce fertility inputs and accelerate fertility losses.

  10. Biological soil crusts emit large amounts of NO and HONO affecting the nitrogen cycle in drylands (United States)

    Tamm, Alexandra; Wu, Dianming; Ruckteschler, Nina; Rodríguez-Caballero, Emilio; Steinkamp, Jörg; Meusel, Hannah; Elbert, Wolfgang; Behrendt, Thomas; Sörgel, Matthias; Cheng, Yafang; Crutzen, Paul J.; Su, Hang; Pöschl, Ulrich; Weber, Bettina


    Dryland systems currently cover ˜40% of the world's land surface and are still expanding as a consequence of human impact and global change. In contrast to that, information on their role in global biochemical processes is limited, probably induced by the presumption that their sparse vegetation cover plays a negligible role in global balances. However, spaces between the sparse shrubs are not bare, but soils are mostly covered by biological soil crusts (biocrusts). These biocrust communities belong to the oldest life forms, resulting from an assembly between soil particles and cyanobacteria, lichens, bryophytes, and algae plus heterotrophic organisms in varying proportions. Depending on the dominating organism group, cyanobacteria-, lichen-, and bryophyte-dominated biocrusts are distinguished. Besides their ability to restrict soil erosion they fix atmospheric carbon and nitrogen, and by doing this they serve as a nutrient source in strongly depleted dryland ecosystems. In this study we show that a fraction of the nitrogen fixed by biocrusts is metabolized and subsequently returned to the atmosphere in the form of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous acid (HONO). These gases affect the radical formation and oxidizing capacity within the troposphere, thus being of particular interest to atmospheric chemistry. Laboratory measurements using dynamic chamber systems showed that dark cyanobacteria-dominated crusts emitted the largest amounts of NO and HONO, being ˜20 times higher than trace gas fluxes of nearby bare soil. We showed that these nitrogen emissions have a biogenic origin, as emissions of formerly strongly emitting samples almost completely ceased after sterilization. By combining laboratory, field, and satellite measurement data we made a best estimate of global annual emissions amounting to ˜1.1 Tg of NO-N and ˜0.6 Tg of HONO-N from biocrusts. This sum of 1.7 Tg of reactive nitrogen emissions equals ˜20% of the soil release under natural vegetation according

  11. Identification of factors influencing the restoration of cyanobacteria-dominated biological soil crusts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chongfeng Bu

    Full Text Available Biological soil crusts (BSCs cover >35% of the Earth's land area and contribute to important ecological functions in arid and semiarid ecosystems, including erosion reduction, hydrological cycling, and nutrient cycling. Artificial rapid cultivation of BSCs can provide a novel alternative to traditional biological methods for controlling soil and water loss such as the planting of trees, shrubs, and grasses. At present, little is known regarding the cultivation of BSCs in the field due to lack of knowledge regarding the influencing factors that control BSCs growth. Thus, we determined the effects of various environmental factors (shade; watering; N, P, K, and Ca concentrations on the growth of cyanobacteria-dominated BSCs from the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States. The soil surface changes and chlorophyll a concentrations were used as proxies of BSC growth and development. After 4 months, five factors were found to impact BSC growth with the following order of importance: NH4NO3 ≈ watering frequency>shading>CaCO3 ≈ KH2PO4. The soil water content was the primary positive factor affecting BSC growth, and BSCs that were watered every 5 days harbored greater biomass than those watered every 10 days. Groups that received NH4NO3 consistently exhibited poor growth, suggesting that fixed N amendment may suppress BSC growth. The effect of shading on the BSC biomass was inconsistent and depended on many factors including the soil water content and availability of nutrients. KH2PO4 and CaCO3 had nonsignificant effects on BSC growth. Collectively, our results indicate that the rapid restoration of BSCs can be controlled and realized by artificial "broadcasting" cultivation through the optimization of environmental factors.

  12. Temporal-spatial dynamics of distribution patterns of microorganism relating to biological soil crusts in the Gurbantunggut Desert

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WU Nan; WANG Hongling; LIANG Shaoming; NIE Huali; ZHANG Yuanming


    Biological soil crusts serve as an important biological factor contributing to the sand fixation. This study was conducted to investigate the temporal-spatial variability of microorganism in crusts relating to locations, soil layers of sand dunes and seasons. At moss-dominated inter-dune areas,higher soil nutrient and water concentrations were likely to maintain the microbial activities. Bacteria showed the highest capabilities of settlement and growth in inter-dunes in both spring and autumn. Soil water content reached the highest value in soil crusts in the inter-dune areas, especially in spring. Variations of quantities of actinomyces and fungi basically showed the consistent trend in different locations of sand dunes. With the deepening of soil layers, vertical distribution of quantities of each microorganism group showed different characteristics because environmental factors fluctuated in both spring and autumn. Among different microorganism groups, bacteria were predominant, actinomyces the next and fungi the least in both spring and autumn in all soil layers (0-20 cm). The proportion of bacteria and soil water content were higher in spring than those in autumn in all soil layers (0-20 cm). No consistent trends were found in actinomyces and fungi. The results showed that the quantities of microorganisms were significantly positive correlated with organic matter content,soil water content, total N, total P, available P, available K, pH, electrical conductivity, total salt content,catalase, urease, phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase.

  13. Activation of methanogenesis in arid biological soil crusts despite the presence of oxygen.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roey Angel

    Full Text Available Methanogenesis is traditionally thought to occur only in highly reduced, anoxic environments. Wetland and rice field soils are well known sources for atmospheric methane, while aerated soils are considered sinks. Although methanogens have been detected in low numbers in some aerated, and even in desert soils, it remains unclear whether they are active under natural oxic conditions, such as in biological soil crusts (BSCs of arid regions. To answer this question we carried out a factorial experiment using microcosms under simulated natural conditions. The BSC on top of an arid soil was incubated under moist conditions in all possible combinations of flooding and drainage, light and dark, air and nitrogen headspace. In the light, oxygen was produced by photosynthesis. Methane production was detected in all microcosms, but rates were much lower when oxygen was present. In addition, the δ(13C of the methane differed between the oxic/oxygenic and anoxic microcosms. While under anoxic conditions methane was mainly produced from acetate, it was almost entirely produced from H(2/CO(2 under oxic/oxygenic conditions. Only two genera of methanogens were identified in the BSC-Methanosarcina and Methanocella; their abundance and activity in transcribing the mcrA gene (coding for methyl-CoM reductase was higher under anoxic than oxic/oxygenic conditions, respectively. Both methanogens also actively transcribed the oxygen detoxifying gene catalase. Since methanotrophs were not detectable in the BSC, all the methane produced was released into the atmosphere. Our findings point to a formerly unknown participation of desert soils in the global methane cycle.

  14. Isolation of a significant fraction of non-phototroph diversity from a desert Biological Soil Crust

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    Ulisses eNunes da Rocha


    Full Text Available Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs are organosedimentary assemblages comprised of microbes and minerals in topsoil of terrestrial environments. BSCs strongly impact soil quality in dryland ecosystems (e.g., soil structure and nutrient yields due to pioneer species such as Microcoleus vaginatus; phototrophs that produce filaments that bind the soil together, and support an array of heterotrophic microorganisms. These microorganisms in turn contribute to soil stability and biogeochemistry of BSCs. Non-cyanobacterial populations of BSCs are less well known than cyanobacterial populations. Therefore, we attempted to isolate a broad range of numerically significant and phylogenetically representative BSC aerobic heterotrophs. Combining simple pre-treatments (hydration of BSCs under dark and light and isolation strategies (media with varying nutrient availability and protection from oxidative stress we recovered 402 bacterial and one fungal isolate in axenic culture, which comprised 116 phylotypes (at 97% 16S rRNA gene sequence homology, 115 bacterial and one fungal. Each medium enriched a mostly distinct subset of phylotypes, and cultivated phylotypes varied due to the BSC pre-treatment. The fraction of the total phylotype diversity isolated, weighted by relative abundance in the community, was determined by the overlap between isolate sequences and OTUs reconstructed from metagenome or metatranscriptome reads. Together, more than 8% of relative abundance of OTUs in the metagenome was represented by our isolates, a cultivation efficiency much larger than typically expected from most soils. We conclude that simple cultivation procedures combined with specific pre-treatment of samples afford a significant reduction in the culturability gap, enabling physiological and metabolic assays that rely on ecologically relevant axenic cultures.

  15. Evidence for micronutrient limitation of biological soil crusts: Importance to arid-lands restoration (United States)

    Bowker, M.A.; Belnap, J.; Davidson, D.W.; Phillips, S.L.


    Desertification is a global problem, costly to national economies and human societies. Restoration of biological soil crusts (BSCs) may have an important role to play in the reversal of desertification due to their ability to decrease erosion and enhance soil fertility. To determine if there is evidence that lower fertility may hinder BSC recolonization, we investigated the hypothesis that BSC abundance is driven by soil nutrient concentrations. At a regional scale (north and central Colorado Plateau, USA), moss and lichen cover and richness are correlated with a complex water-nutrient availability gradient and have approximately six-fold higher cover and approximately two-fold higher species richness on sandy soils than on shale-derived soils. At a microscale, mosses and lichens are overrepresented in microhabitats under the north sides of shrub canopies, where water and nutrients are more available. At two spatial scales, and at the individual species and community levels, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that distributions of BSC organisms are determined largely by soil fertility. The micronutrients Mn and Zn figured prominently and consistently in the various analyses, strongly suggesting that these elements are previously unstudied limiting factors in BSC development. Structural-equation modeling of our data is most consistent with the hypothesis of causal relationships between the availability of micronutrients and the abundance of the two major nitrogen (N) fixers of BSCs. Specifically, higher Mn availability may determine greater Collema tenax abundance, and both Mn and Zn may limit Collema coccophorum; alternative causal hypotheses were less consistent with the data. We propose experimental trials of micronutrient addition to promote the restoration of BSC function on disturbed lands. Arid lands, where BSCs are most prevalent, cover ???40% of the terrestrial surface of the earth; thus the information gathered in this study is potentially useful

  16. Biological soil crusts accelerate the nitrogen cycle through large NO and HONO emissions in drylands. (United States)

    Weber, Bettina; Wu, Dianming; Tamm, Alexandra; Ruckteschler, Nina; Rodríguez-Caballero, Emilio; Steinkamp, Jörg; Meusel, Hannah; Elbert, Wolfgang; Behrendt, Thomas; Sörgel, Matthias; Cheng, Yafang; Crutzen, Paul J; Su, Hang; Pöschl, Ulrich


    Reactive nitrogen species have a strong influence on atmospheric chemistry and climate, tightly coupling the Earth's nitrogen cycle with microbial activity in the biosphere. Their sources, however, are not well constrained, especially in dryland regions accounting for a major fraction of the global land surface. Here, we show that biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are emitters of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous acid (HONO). Largest fluxes are obtained by dark cyanobacteria-dominated biocrusts, being ∼20 times higher than those of neighboring uncrusted soils. Based on laboratory, field, and satellite measurement data, we obtain a best estimate of ∼1.7 Tg per year for the global emission of reactive nitrogen from biocrusts (1.1 Tg a(-1) of NO-N and 0.6 Tg a(-1) of HONO-N), corresponding to ∼20% of global nitrogen oxide emissions from soils under natural vegetation. On continental scales, emissions are highest in Africa and South America and lowest in Europe. Our results suggest that dryland emissions of reactive nitrogen are largely driven by biocrusts rather than the underlying soil. They help to explain enigmatic discrepancies between measurement and modeling approaches of global reactive nitrogen emissions. As the emissions of biocrusts strongly depend on precipitation events, climate change affecting the distribution and frequency of precipitation may have a strong impact on terrestrial emissions of reactive nitrogen and related climate feedback effects. Because biocrusts also account for a large fraction of global terrestrial biological nitrogen fixation, their impacts should be further quantified and included in regional and global models of air chemistry, biogeochemistry, and climate.

  17. Wildfire-resistant biological soil crusts and fire-induced loss of soil stability in Palouse prairies, USA (United States)

    Bowker, M.A.; Belnap, J.; Rosentreter, R.; Graham, B.


    Frequent low-intensity fires are a natural component of the ecology of the Palouse prairies of northwestern North America. To study the effects of fire upon biological soil crusts (BSCs) occurring in these grasslands, we sampled three burned (in 2000) sites and three unburned sites in the Hell's Canyon area (OR, USA) ???1 year post-fire. We measured vascular plant and BSC cover, soil microbe pigmentation, texture and chemistry, and soil surface physical properties (stability and rugosity). Festuca idahoensis was two times more abundant in unburned plots (P=0.0006), and vascular plant and litter cover were generally higher in unburned plots. At the community scale, there was no difference in the lichen and moss species composition, suggesting much less drastic effects of fire on BSCs than reported in other systems. Soil surface stability (measured using slake value) was significantly lower in burned sites than unburned sites (median value=5 versus 6, P=0.008), a result which is likely due to the greater density of lichens and mosses encountered in the unburned plots. Soil microbe pigmentation was lower in burned plots (P=0.03), suggesting that the biomass of photosynthetic microbes had decreased; however, the presence of intra- and extracellular pigments in burned soils indicates that microorganisms were not eradicated. Pigments most strongly associated with cyanobacteria were more abundant in unburned sites, suggesting that cyanobacteria may have been more strongly impacted by the fire than other BSC components. Composition of nutrients and surface rugosity did not differ significantly between treatments. We hypothesize that Palouse prairie soil crusts are relatively resistant to wildfire because of low fire intensity and their occupation of space away from the vascular plant fuel load.

  18. Water repellency and infiltration of biological soil crusts on an arid and a temperate dunes (United States)

    Fischer, Thomas; Yair, Aaron; Geppert, Helmut; Veste, Maik


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) play an important role in many ecosystems and in all climates. We studies hydrological properties of BSCs under arid and temperate climates. The arid study site was located near Nizzana, in the northwestern Negev, Israel and the temperate site was near Lieberose, Brandenburg, Germany. BSCs were sampled at each site near the dune crest, at the center of the dune slope and at the dune base. Using principal component analysis (PCA), we studied the relationships between hydraulic properties and the molecular structure of organic matter using repellency indices, microinfiltrometry, and 13C-CP/MAS-NMR. The soil texture was finer and water holding capacities (WHCs) were higher in Nizzana, whereas surface wettability was reduced in Lieberose. At both sites, BSCs caused extra WHC compared to the mineral substrate. Infiltration after wetting along both catenas generally reached a maximum after 10 min and decreased after 30 min. Carbohydrates were the dominating components in all of the BSCs studied, where the relative peak areas of carbohydrate-derived structures (60-110 ppm) amounted to 28-46% and to 10-14% of total C-peak areas, respectively. PCA revealed that the WHC of the substrate was closely related to the amount of silt and clay, whereas the BSC induced extra WHC was closely related to carbohydrates. It was further found that water repellency was positively related to carbohydrate C, but negatively related to alkyl C. Infiltration kinetics was attributed to polysaccharide hydration and swelling. Our findings support the hypothesis that hydraulic properties of BSCs are determined by extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and soil texture. Hydraulic properties in BSCs result from the combination of chemical properties related to C compounds mainly dominated by carbohydrates and physical surface properties related to texture, porosity and water holding capacity. References Fischer, T., Yair, A., Veste, M., Geppert, H. (2013) Hydraulic

  19. Biological Soil Crusts from Coastal Dunes at the Baltic Sea: Cyanobacterial and Algal Biodiversity and Related Soil Properties. (United States)

    Schulz, Karoline; Mikhailyuk, Tatiana; Dreßler, Mirko; Leinweber, Peter; Karsten, Ulf


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are known as "ecosystem-engineers" that have important, multifunctional ecological roles in primary production, in nutrient and hydrological cycles, and in stabilization of soils. These communities, however, are almost unstudied in coastal dunes of the temperate zone. Hence, for the first time, the biodiversity of cyanobacterial and algal dominated BSCs collected in five dunes from the southern Baltic Sea coast on the islands Rügen and Usedom (Germany) was investigated in connection with physicochemical soil parameters. The species composition of cyanobacteria and algae was identified with direct determination of crust subsamples, cultural methods, and diatom slides. To investigate the influence of soil properties on species composition, the texture, pH, electrical conductivity, carbonate content, total contents of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and the bioavailable phosphorus-fraction (PO4 (3-)) were analyzed in adjacent BSC-free surface soils at each study site. The data indicate that BSCs in coastal dunes of the southern Baltic Sea represent an ecologically important vegetation form with a surprisingly high site-specific diversity of 19 cyanobacteria, 51 non-diatom algae, and 55 diatoms. All dominant species of the genera Coleofasciculus, Lyngbya, Microcoleus, Nostoc, Hydrocoryne, Leptolyngbya, Klebsormidium, and Lobochlamys are typical aero-terrestrial cyanobacteria and algae, respectively. This first study of coastal sand dunes in the Baltic region provides compelling evidence that here the BSCs were dominated by cyanobacteria, algae, or a mixture of both. Among the physicochemical soil properties, the total phosphorus content of the BSC-free sand was the only factor that significantly influenced the cyanobacterial and algal community structure of BSCs in coastal dunes.

  20. Climate change and physical disturbance cause similar community shifts in biological soil crusts (United States)

    Ferrenberg, Scott; Reed, Sasha C.; Belnap, Jayne


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts)—communities of mosses, lichens, cyanobacteria, and heterotrophs living at the soil surface—are fundamental components of drylands worldwide, and destruction of biocrusts dramatically alters biogeochemical processes, hydrology, surface energy balance, and vegetation cover. While there has been long-standing concern over impacts of 5 physical disturbances on biocrusts (e.g., trampling by livestock, damage from vehicles), there is also increasing concern over the potential for climate change to alter biocrust community structure. Using long-term data from the Colorado Plateau, USA, we examined the effects of 10 years of experimental warming and altered precipitation (in full-factorial design) on biocrust communities, and compared the effects of altered climate with those of long-term physical 10 disturbance (>10 years of replicated human trampling). Surprisingly, altered climate and physical disturbance treatments had similar effects on biocrust community structure. Warming, altered precipitation frequency [an increase of small (1.2 mm) summer rainfall events], and physical disturbance from trampling all promoted early successional community states marked by dramatic declines in moss cover and increased cyanobacteria cover, with more variable effects 15 on lichens. While the pace of community change varied significantly among treatments, our results suggest that multiple aspects of climate change will affect biocrusts to the same degree as physical disturbance. This is particularly disconcerting in the context of warming, as temperatures for drylands are projected to increase beyond those imposed by the climate treatments used in our study.

  1. Climate change and physical disturbance cause similar community shifts in biological soil crusts. (United States)

    Ferrenberg, Scott; Reed, Sasha C; Belnap, Jayne


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts)—communities of mosses, lichens, cyanobacteria, and heterotrophs living at the soil surface—are fundamental components of drylands worldwide, and destruction of biocrusts dramatically alters biogeochemical processes, hydrology, surface energy balance, and vegetation cover. Although there has been long-standing concern over impacts of physical disturbances on biocrusts (e.g., trampling by livestock, damage from vehicles), there is increasing concern over the potential for climate change to alter biocrust community structure. Using long-term data from the Colorado Plateau, we examined the effects of 10 y of experimental warming and altered precipitation (in full-factorial design) on biocrust communities and compared the effects of altered climate with those of long-term physical disturbance (>10 y of replicated human trampling). Surprisingly, altered climate and physical disturbance treatments had similar effects on biocrust community structure. Warming, altered precipitation frequency [an increase of small (1.2 mm) summer rainfall events], and physical disturbance from trampling all promoted early successional community states marked by dramatic declines in moss cover and increases in cyanobacteria cover, with more variable effects on lichens. Although the pace of community change varied significantly among treatments, our results suggest that multiple aspects of climate change will affect biocrusts to the same degree as physical disturbance. This is particularly disconcerting in the context of warming, as temperatures for drylands are projected to increase beyond those imposed as treatments in our study.

  2. Impacts of off-road vehicles on nitrogen cycles in biological soil crusts: Resistance in different U.S. deserts (United States)

    Belnap, J.


    Biological soil crusts are an important component of desert ecosystems, as they influence soil stability and fertility. This study examined and compared the short-term vehicular impacts on lichen cover and nitrogenase activity (NA) of biological soil crusts. Experimental disturbance was applied to different types of soil in regions throughout the western U.S. (Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts). Results show that pre-disturbance cover of soil lichens is significantly correlated with the silt content of soils, and negatively correlated with sand and clay. While disturbance appeared to reduce NA at all sites, differences were statistically significant at only 12 of the 26 sites. Cool desert sites showed a greater decline than hot desert sites, which may indicate non-heterocystic cyanobacterial species are more susceptible to disturbance than non-heterocystic species. Sandy soils showed greater reduction of NA as sand content increased, while fine-textured soils showed a greater decline as sand content increased. At all sites, higher NA before the disturbance resulted in less impact to NA post-disturbance. These results may be useful in predicting the impacts of off-road vehicles in different regions and different soils. ?? 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

  3. Carbon budgets of biological soil crusts at micro-, meso-, and global scales (United States)

    Sancho, Leopoldo G; Belnap, Jayne; Colesie, Claudia; Raggio, Jose; Weber, Bettina


    The importance of biocrusts in the ecology of arid lands across all continents is widely recognized. In spite of this broad distribution, contributions of biocrusts to the global biogeochemical cycles have only recently been considered. While these studies opened a new view on the global role of biocrusts, they also clearly revealed the lack of data for many habitats and of overall standards for measurements and analysis. In order to understand carbon cycling in biocrusts and the progress which has been made during the last 15 years, we offer a multi-scale approach covering different climatic regions. We also include a discussion on available measurement techniques at each scale: A micro-scale section focuses on the individual organism level, including modeling based on the combination of field and lab data. The meso-scale section addresses the CO2 exchange of a complete ecosystem or at the community level. Finally, we consider the contribution of biocrusts at a global scale, giving a general perspective of the most relevant findings regarding the role of biological soil crusts in the global terrestrial carbon cycle.

  4. Weathering of Carbonate Rocks by Biological Soil Crusts in Karst Areas

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ye Chen; Bin Lian; Zuoying Yin; Yuan Tang


    The weathering of carbonate rocks by biological soil crusts (BSC) in karst areas is very common. It is helpful to understand the weathering mechanisms and processes for avoiding karst rock-desertification. The weathering of carbonate rocks by BSC in karst areas, namely the expansion, contraction and curl resulting from environmental wetting-drying cycles, was investigated and ana-lyzed in this paper. The bulk density, area and thickness of BSC were determined and the weathering amount of limestone and dolomite per unit area of BSC was calculated as 3 700 and 3 400 g·m-2; the amount of biomass on the surface of limestone and dolomite was calculated as 1 146 and 1 301 g·m-2, respectively. Such an increased weathering amount was not only the result of chemical and physical weathering of BSC on carbonate rocks, but also the attachment and cementation of BSC to clay parti-cles, dust-fall, sand particles, solid particles brought by strong air currents, wind and other factors in the surrounding environment, which may also be related to the special environment and the special time period. Based on the results obtained, a weathering mode of BSC is studied, and the mechanisms of weathering by BSC are discussed. In conclusion, we suggest that the mechanical force exerted by the expansion and constriction of gelatinous and mucilaginous substances through wetting and drying of BSC play a significant role in the physical weathering process of the carbonate substrates.

  5. High rates of denitrification and nitrous oxide emission in arid biological soil crusts from the Sultanate of Oman

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Abed, Raeid M M; Lam, Phyllis; De Beer, Dirk;


    Using a combination of process rate determination, microsensor profiling and molecular techniques, we demonstrated that denitrification, and not anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), is the major nitrogen loss process in biological soil crusts from Oman. Potential denitrification rates were 584...... that nitrogen loss via denitrification is a dominant process in crusts from Oman, which leads to N 2 O gas emission and potentially reduces desert soil fertility. © 2013 International Society for Microbial Ecology.......Using a combination of process rate determination, microsensor profiling and molecular techniques, we demonstrated that denitrification, and not anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), is the major nitrogen loss process in biological soil crusts from Oman. Potential denitrification rates were 584....... Strikingly, N 2 O gas was emitted at very high potential rates of 387±143 and 31±6 μmol N m -2 h -1 from the cyanobacterial and lichen crust, respectively, with N 2 O accounting for 53-66% of the total emission of nitrogenous gases. Microsensor measurements revealed that N 2 O was produced in the anoxic...

  6. Nutrient availability affects pigment production but not growth in lichens of biological soil crusts (United States)

    Bowker, M.A.; Koch, G.W.; Belnap, J.; Johnson, N.C.


    Recent research suggests that micronutrients such as Mn may limit growth of slow-growing biological soil crusts (BSCs) in some of the drylands of the world. These soil surface communities contribute strongly to arid ecosystem function and are easily degraded, creating a need for new restoration tools. The possibility that Mn fertilization could be used as a restoration tool for BSCs has not been tested previously. We used microcosms in a controlled greenhouse setting to investigate the hypothesis that Mn may limit photosynthesis and consequently growth in Collema tenax, a dominant N-fixing lichen found in BSCs worldwide. We found no evidence to support our hypothesis; furthermore, addition of other nutrients (primarily P, K, and Zn) had a suppressive effect on gross photosynthesis (P = 0.05). We also monitored the growth and physiological status of our microcosms and found that other nutrients increased the production of scytonemin, an important sunscreen pigment, but only when not added with Mn (P = 0.01). A structural equation model indicated that this effect was independent of any photosynthesis-related variable. We propose two alternative hypotheses to account for this pattern: (1) Mn suppresses processes needed to produce scytonemin; and (2) Mn is required to suppress scytonemin production at low light, when it is an unnecessary photosynthate sink. Although Mn fertilization does not appear likely to increase photosynthesis or growth of Collema, it could have a role in survivorship during environmentally stressful periods due to modification of scytonemin production. Thus, Mn enrichment should be studied further for its potential to facilitate BSC rehabilitation. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

  7. Biological soil crusts across disturbance-recovery scenarios: effect of grazing regime on community dynamics (United States)

    Concostrina-Zubiri, L.; Huber-Sannwald, E.; Martínez, I.; Flores Flores, J. L.; Reyes-Agüero, J. A.; Escudero, A.; Belnap, Jayne


    Grazing represents one of the most common disturbances in drylands worldwide, affecting both ecosystem structure and functioning. Despite the efforts to understand the nature and magnitude of grazing effects on ecosystem components and processes, contrasting results continue to arise. This is particularly remarkable for the biological soil crust (BSC) communities (i.e., cyanobacteria, lichens, and bryophytes), which play an important role in soil dynamics. Here we evaluated simultaneously the effect of grazing impact on BSC communities (resistance) and recovery after livestock exclusion (resilience) in a semiarid grassland of Central Mexico. In particular, we examined BSC species distribution, species richness, taxonomical group cover (i.e., cyanobacteria, lichen, bryophyte), and composition along a disturbance gradient with different grazing regimes (low, medium, high impact) and along a recovery gradient with differently aged livestock exclosures (short-, medium-, long-term exclusion). Differences in grazing impact and time of recovery from grazing both resulted in slight changes in species richness; however, there were pronounced shifts in species composition and group cover. We found we could distinguish four highly diverse and dynamic BSC species groups: (1) species with high resistance and resilience to grazing, (2) species with high resistance but low resilience, (3) species with low resistance but high resilience, and (4) species with low resistance and resilience. While disturbance resulted in a novel diversity configuration, which may profoundly affect ecosystem functioning, we observed that 10 years of disturbance removal did not lead to the ecosystem structure found after 27 years of recovery. These findings are an important contribution to our understanding of BCS dynamics from a species and community perspective placed in a land use change context.

  8. Functional profiles reveal unique ecological roles of various biological soil crust organisms (United States)

    Bowker, M.A.; Mau, R.L.; Maestre, F.T.; Escolar, C.; Castillo-Monroy, A. P.


    1. At the heart of the body of research on biodiversity effects on ecosystem function is the debate over whether different species tend to be functionally singular or redundant. When we consider ecosystem multi-function, the provision of multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously, we may find that seemingly redundant species may in fact play unique roles in ecosystems. 2. Over the last few decades, the significance of biological soil crusts (BSCs) as ecological boundaries and ecosystem engineers, and their multi-functional nature, has become increasingly well documented. We compiled 'functional profiles' of the organisms in this understudied community, to determine whether functional singularity emerges when multiple ecosystem functions are considered. 3. In two data sets, one representing multiple sites around the semi-arid regions of Spain (regional scale), and another from a single site in central Spain (local scale), we examined correlations between the abundance or frequency of BSC species in a community, and multiple surrogates of ecosystem functioning. There was a wide array of apparent effects of species on specific functions. 4. Notably, in gypsiferous soils and at regional scale, we found that indicators of carbon (C) and phosphorus cycling were apparently suppressed and promoted by the lichens Diploschistes diacapsis and Squamarina lentigera, respectively. The moss Pleurochaete squarrosa appears to promote C cycling in calcareous soils at this spatial scale. At the local scale in gypsiferous soils, D. diacapsis positively correlated with carbon cycling, but negatively with nitrogen cycling, whereas numerous lichens exhibited the opposite profile. 5. We found a high degree of functional singularity, i.e. that species were highly individualistic in their effects on multiple functions. Many functional attributes were not easily predictable from existing functional grouping systems based primarily on morphology. 6. Our results suggest that maintaining

  9. Biological soil crusts are the main contributor to winter soil respiration in a temperate desert ecosystem of China (United States)

    He, M. Z.


    Aims Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are a key biotic component of desert ecosystems worldwide. However, most studies carried out to date on carbon (fluxes) in these ecosystems, such as soil respiration (RS), have neglected them. Also, winter RS is reported to be a significant component of annual carbon budget in other ecosystems, however, we have less knowledge about winter RS of BSCs in winter and its contribution to carbon cycle in desert regions. Therefore, the specific objectives of this study were to: (i) quantify the effects of different BSCs types (moss crust, algae crust, physical crust) on the winter RS; (ii) explore relationships of RS against soil temperature and water content for different BSCs, and (iii) assess the relative contribution of BSCs to the annual amount of C released by RS at desert ecosystem level. Methods Site Description The study sites are located at the southeast fringe of the Tengger Desert in the Shapotou region of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region [37°32'N and 105°02'E, at 1340 m above mean sea level (a.m.s.l.)], western China. The mean daily temperature in January is -6.9°C , while it is 24.3°C in July. The mean annual precipitation is 186 mm, approximately 80% of which falls between May and September. The annual potential evaporation is 2800 mm. The landscape of the Shapotou region is characterized by large and dense reticulate barchans chains of sand dunes that migrate south-eastward at a velocity of 3-6 m per year. The soil is loose, infertile and mobile and can thus be classified as orthic sierozem and Aeolian sandy soil. Additionally, the soil has a consistent gravimetric water content that ranges from 3 to 4%. The groundwater in the study area is too deep (>60 m) to support large areas of the native vegetation cover; therefore, precipitation is usually the only source of freshwater. The predominant native plants are Hedysarum scoparium Fisch. and Agriophyllum squarrosum Moq., Psammochloa cillosa Bor, which scattered

  10. Mapping biological soil crusts for understanding their functional relevance in dryland ecosystems (United States)

    Rodriguez-Caballero, E.; Escribano, P.; Chamizo, S.; Canton, Y.


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are considered a key element in the functioning of arid and semiarid ecosystems as they modify numerous soil surface properties involved in primary ecosystem processes such as hydrological and erosion processes, and nutrient cycling.. It is known that arid and semiarid ecosystems are conformed by a complex matrix of vegetated and open ground patches usually covered by BSCs. Geomorphic evolution of drylands depends on the individual response of patches and also on the interactions and feedback-processes among patches. These interactions are controlled by patch spatial distribution. On this account, to understand the role of BSCs in the system, it is necessary to introduce their effect at coarser scales, and to have accurate and spatially continuous information of BSC distribution. The inherent complexity and the spatial heterogeneity of drylands make field survey methods very limited for BSC mapping. Images reported by remote sensors are presented as a powerful tool for mapping BSC spatial distribution. Remote sensors provide synoptic and spatially continuous information of the territory. Different indices for mapping BSCs have been published. These indices are based on distinctive spectral characteristic of BSCs and differ in nature and objectives. The aim of this work was to analyze the feasibility of some of these indices in a semiarid area characterized by sparse vegetation cover usually mixed at subpixel level with elements characterized by very similar spectral response (bare soil, BSCs and dry vegetation). These indices were: i) CRCIA, index applied for mapping BSCs from hyperspectral images. ii) CI, index developed for mapping of cyanobacteria-dominated BSCs and iii) BSCI, index for mapping of lichen-dominated BSCs. The multispectral indices (CI and BSCI) classified as BSCs 50% of the pixels dominated by BSCs. The CRCIA hyperspectral index, showed better results than those obtained with multispectral indices. This index

  11. Condensation of water vapour on moss-dominated biological soil crust, NW China (United States)

    Wang, Xin-Ping; Pan, Yan-Xia; Hu, Rui; Zhang, Ya-Feng; Zhang, Hao


    Characteristics of water vapour condensation, including the onset, duration, and amount of water vapour condensation on moss-dominated biological soil crust (BSC) and dune sand were studied under simulated conditions with varying air temperature and relative humidity. The simulations were performed in a plant growth chamber using an electronic balance recording the weight of condensation. There was a positive linear correlation between the water vapour condensation and relative humidity while the mean temperature was negatively linearly related to amounts of water vapour condensation for both soil surfaces. The amount of water vapour condensation on BSC and dune sand can be described by the difference between air temperature and dew point with an exponential function, indicating that when the difference of air temperature and dew point exceeds a value of 35.3◦C, there will be zero water vapour condensed on BSC. In contrast, when the difference of air temperature and dew point exceeds a value of 20.4◦C, the water vapour condensation will be zero for dune sand. In general, when the air is fully saturated with water and the dew point is equal to the current air temperature, the water vapour condensed on BSC attained its maximum value of 0.398 mm, whereas it was 0.058 mm for dune sand. In comparison, water vapour condensed on BSC was at a relatively high temperature and low relative humidity, while we did not detect water vapour condensation on the dune sand under the similar conditions. Physical and chemical analyses of the samples pointed to a greater porosity, high content of fine particles, and high salinity for BSC compared to the dune sand. These results highlight that soil physicochemical properties are the likely factors influencing the mechanism of water vapour condensation under specific meteorological conditions, as onset was earlier and the duration was longer for water vapour condensation on BSC in comparison with that of dune sand. This contributed to

  12. Condensation of water vapour on moss-dominated biological soil crust, NW China

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Xin-Ping Wang; Yan-Xia Pan; Rui Hu; Ya-Feng Zhang; Hao Zhang


    Characteristics of water vapour condensation, including the onset, duration, and amount of water vapour condensation on moss-dominated biological soil crust (BSC) and dune sand were studied under simulated conditions with varying air temperature and relative humidity. The simulations were performed in a plant growth chamber using an electronic balance recording the weight of condensation. There was a positive linear correlation between the water vapour condensation and relative humidity while the mean temperature was negatively linearly related to amounts of water vapour condensation for both soil surfaces. The amount of water vapour condensation on BSC and dune sand can be described by the difference between air temperature and dew point with an exponential function, indicating that when the difference of air temperature and dew point exceeds a value of 35.3°C, there will be zero water vapour condensed on BSC. In contrast, when the difference of air temperature and dew point exceeds a value of 20.4°C, the water vapour condensation will be zero for dune sand. In general, when the air is fully saturated with water and the dew point is equal to the current air temperature, the water vapour condensed on BSC attained its maximum value of 0.398 mm, whereas it was 0.058 mm for dune sand. In comparison, water vapour condensed on BSC was at a relatively high temperature and low relative humidity, while we did not detect water vapour condensation on the dune sand under the similar conditions. Physical and chemical analyses of the samples pointed to a greater porosity, high content of fine particles, and high salinity for BSC compared to the dune sand. These results highlight that soil physicochemical properties are the likely factors influencing the mechanism of water vapour condensation under specific meteorological conditions, as onset was earlier and the duration was longer for water vapour condensation on BSC in comparison with that of dune sand. This contributed to

  13. Germination, survival and growth of three vascular plants on biological soil crusts from a Mexican tropical desert. (United States)

    Godínez-Alvarez, H; Morín, C; Rivera-Aguilar, V


    Information about the effects of biological soil crusts (BSC) on germination, seedling survival and growth of vascular plants is controversial because they can have positive, neutral or negative effects. This controversy may be because most studies conducted until now have just analysed one or two recruitment stages independently. To understand the BSC effects on vascular plants, it is necessary to consider each stage of the recruitment process and synthesise all this information. The goal of this study was twofold. First, we analyse germination, seedling survival and growth of three vascular plants (Agave marmorata, Prosopis laevigata and Neobuxbaumia tetetzo) on BSC (cyanobacteria and mixed crust) from a tropical desert region of south-central México. Second, we synthesise the information to determine the total effect of BSC on plant species performance. We conducted experiments under controlled conditions to evaluate the proportion of germinated seeds, proportion of surviving seedlings and seedling dry weight in BSC and bare soil. Results showed that BSC have different effects on germination, seedling survival and growth of plant species. Plant species performance was qualitatively higher on BSC than bare soil. The highest performance of A. marmorata and P. laevigata was observed on cyanobacteria and mixed crusts, respectively. The highest performance of N. tetetzo was on both crust types.

  14. Biodiversity of Klebsormidium (streptophyta) from alpine biological soil crusts (alps, tyrol, Austria, and Italy). (United States)

    Mikhailyuk, Tatiana; Glaser, Karin; Holzinger, Andreas; Karsten, Ulf


    Forty Klebsormidium strains isolated from soil crusts of mountain regions (Alps, 600–3,000 m elevation) were analyzed. The molecular phylogeny (internal transcribed spacer rDNA sequences) showed that these strains belong to clades B/C, D, E, and F. Seven main (K. flaccidum, K. elegans, K. crenulatum, K. dissectum, K. nitens, K. subtile, and K. fluitans) and four transitional morphotypes (K. cf. flaccidum, K. cf. nitens, K. cf. subtile, and K. cf. fluitans) were identified. Most strains belong to clade E, which includes isolates that prefer humid conditions. One representative of the xerophytic lineage (clade F) as well as few isolates characteristic of temperate conditions (clades B/C, D) were found. Most strains of clade E were isolated from low/middle elevations (<1,800 m above sea level; a.s.l.) in the pine-forest zone. Strains of clades B/C, D, and F occurred sporadically at higher elevations (1,548–2,843 m a.s.l.), mostly under xerophytic conditions of alpine meadows. Comparison of the alpine Klebsormidium assemblage with data from other biogeographic regions indicated similarity with soil crusts/biofilms from terrestrial habitats in mixed forest in Western Europe, North America, and Asia, as well as walls of buildings in Western European cities. The alpine assemblage differed substantially from crusts from granite outcrops and sand dunes in Eastern Europe (Ukraine), and fundamentally from soil crusts in South African drylands. Epitypification of the known species K. flaccidum, K. crenulatum, K. subtile, K. nitens, K. dissectum, K. fluitans, K. mucosum, and K. elegans is proposed to establish taxonomic names and type material as an aid for practical studies on these algae, as well as for unambiguous identification of alpine strains. New combination Klebsormidium subtile (Kützing) Mikhailyuk, Glaser, Holzinger et Karsten comb. nov. is made.

  15. Inferring local competition intensity from patch size distributions: a test using biological soil crusts (United States)

    Bowker, Matthew A.; Maestre, Fernando T.


    Dryland vegetation is inherently patchy. This patchiness goes on to impact ecology, hydrology, and biogeochemistry. Recently, researchers have proposed that dryland vegetation patch sizes follow a power law which is due to local plant facilitation. It is unknown what patch size distribution prevails when competition predominates over facilitation, or if such a pattern could be used to detect competition. We investigated this question in an alternative vegetation type, mosses and lichens of biological soil crusts, which exhibit a smaller scale patch-interpatch configuration. This micro-vegetation is characterized by competition for space. We proposed that multiplicative effects of genetics, environment and competition should result in a log-normal patch size distribution. When testing the prevalence of log-normal versus power law patch size distributions, we found that the log-normal was the better distribution in 53% of cases and a reasonable fit in 83%. In contrast, the power law was better in 39% of cases, and in 8% of instances both distributions fit equally well. We further hypothesized that the log-normal distribution parameters would be predictably influenced by competition strength. There was qualitative agreement between one of the distribution's parameters (μ) and a novel intransitive (lacking a 'best' competitor) competition index, suggesting that as intransitivity increases, patch sizes decrease. The correlation of μ with other competition indicators based on spatial segregation of species (the C-score) depended on aridity. In less arid sites, μ was negatively correlated with the C-score (suggesting smaller patches under stronger competition), while positive correlations (suggesting larger patches under stronger competition) were observed at more arid sites. We propose that this is due to an increasing prevalence of competition transitivity as aridity increases. These findings broaden the emerging theory surrounding dryland patch size distributions

  16. Climatic and Grazing Controls on Biological Soil Crust Nitrogen Fixation in Semi-arid Ecosystems (United States)

    Schwabedissen, S. G.; Reed, S.; Lohse, K. A.; Magnuson, T. S.


    Nitrogen, next to water, is believed to be the main limiting resource in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) -a surface community of mosses, lichens and cyanobacteria-have been found to be the main influx of "new" nitrogen (N) into many dryland ecosystems. Controls on biocrust N fixation rates include climate (temperature and moisture), phosphorus availability, and disturbance factors such as trampling, yet a systematic examination of climatic and disturbance controls on biocrusts communities is lacking. Biocrust samples were collected along an elevation gradient in the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed near Murphy, Idaho. Four sites were selected from a sagebrush steppe ecosystem with precipitation ranging from ≤250mm/yr to ≥1100mm/yr. Each site included 5 grazed plots and one historic exclosure plot that has been free from grazing for more than 40 years. Five samples each were collected from under plants and from interplant spaces from the grazed plots and exclosures and analyzed for potential N fixation using an acetylene reduction assay. We hypothesized that N fixation rates would be the highest in the exclosures of the two middle sites along the elevation gradient, due to the lack of disturbance and optimal temperature and moisture, respectively. As predicted, results showed higher rates of potential N fixation in exclosures than non-exclosures at a mid-elevation 8.4 ± 3.1 kg N/ha/yr in the exclosures compared to 1.8 ± 1.5 kg N/ha/yr indicating that grazing may reduce N fixation activity. Interestingly, rates were 2-5 times lower under plant canopies compared to interplant spaces at all but the highest elevation site. Findings from our study suggest that biocrust N fixation may be a dominant input of N into theses dryland systems and, in line with our hypotheses, that climate, location within the landscape, and disturbance may interact to regulate the rates of this fundamental ecosystem process.

  17. Biological soil crusts as key drivers for CO2 fluxes in semiarid ecosystems (United States)

    Chamizo, Sonia; Miralles, Isabel; Rodríguez-Caballero, Emilio; Ortega, Raúl; Ladrón de Guevara, Mónica; Luna, Lourdes; Cantón, Yolanda


    The quantification of carbon (C) fluxes for the different ecosystems and the knowledge of whether they act as sources or sinks of C has acquired especial importance during the last years. This is particularly demanding for arid and semiarid ecosystems, for which the available information is very scarce. In these ecosystems, the interplant spaces are commonly covered by a thin layer of organisms including cyanobacteria, green algae, lichens and mosses, which are known as biological soil crusts (BSCs) and, though practically negligible, play a fundamental role in regulating gas exchange into and from soil. BSCs represent the main organisms capable of respiration and photosynthesis in the interplant spaces and are considered the main source of organic carbon in many arid and semiarid areas. Although several studies have pointed to the predominant role of BSCs as sources of CO2, on the contrary, other studies have emphasized their important role as sinks of CO2, being required to establish their precise effect regulating CO2 fluxes. The main purpose of this study was to enlighten the role of BSCs on CO2 fluxes. With this aim, CO2 fluxes were measured on different BSC types (cyanobacteria-, lichen- and moss-dominated BSCs) after several rainfalls and periods of soil drying in two semiarid ecosystems of SE Spain. CO2 exchange was measured using infrared gas analyzers (IRGA): net flux was measured with a transparent custom chamber attached to a Licor Li-6400, and respiration with a respirometer EGM-4 (PPsystems). Photosynthesis was determined as the difference between both measurements. Our results showed that moisture was the major factor controlling CO2 fluxes in BSCs. During the summer season, when soil was dry, all BSCs showed CO2 fluxes close to 0. However, once it rains and BSCs become active, a significant increase in photosynthesis and respiration rates was found. Whereas respiration was the main CO2 flux in bare soils, in BSCs regardless respiration was higher

  18. Two-Dimensional Porosity of Crusted Silty Soils: Indicators of Soil Quality in Semiarid Rangelands?



    Little is known about the morphological characteristics of pores in soil crusts. The objective was to characterize the 2D-porosity (amount, shape, size and area of pores) of soil crusts to ascertain their potential as indicators of soil quality for natural crusted soils. 2D-porosity was described in thin sections and measured by image analysis of polished resin-impregnated soil blocks. Physical soil crust and incipient biological soil crusts appear to be the lowest-quality soil...

  19. Responses of photosynthetic properties and chloroplast ultrastructure of two moss crusts from a desert biological soil crust to supplementary UV-B radiation (United States)

    Hui, Rong; Li, Xinrong; Zhao, Yang; Pan, Yanxia


    Our understanding of plant responses to supplementary ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation due to stratospheric ozone depletion has improved over recent decades. However, research on biological soil crusts (BSCs) is scarce and it remains controversial. Laboratory studies were conducted to investigate the influence of UV-B radiation on the Bryum argenteum and Didymodon vinealis isolated from BSCs, which are both dominant species in moss crusts found within patches of shrubs and herbs in the Tengger Desert of northern China. The aim of the current work was to evaluate whether supplementary UV-B radiation affected photosynthetic properties and chloroplast ultrastructure of two moss crusts and whether response differences were observed between the crusts. Four levels of UV-B radiation of 2.75 (control), 3.08, 3.25, and 3.41 W m-2 was achieved using fluorescence tube systems for 10 days, simulating 0, 6, 9, and 12% of stratospheric ozone at the latitude of Shapotou, respectively. We measured photosynthetic apparatus as assessed by chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters, photosynthetic pigment contents, and observations of chloroplast ultrastructure. Additionally, soluble proteins and UV-B absorbing compounds were simultaneously investigated. The results of this study showed that chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters (i.e., the maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, the effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, and photochemical quenching coefficient), photosynthetic pigment contents, soluble protein contents, total flavonoid contents and the ultrastructure were negatively influenced by elevated UV-B radiation and the degree of detrimental effects significantly increased with the intensity of UV-B radiation. Moreover, results demonstrated that the negative effects on photosynthesis and chloroplast ultrastructure were more serious in B. argenteum than that in D. vinealis. These results may not only provide a potential mechanism for supplemental UV-B effects on

  20. Common and distinguishing features of the bacterial and fungal communities in biological soil crusts and shrub root zone soils (United States)

    Steven, Blaire; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne; Yeager, Chris; Belnap, Jayne; Kuske, Cheryl R.


    Soil microbial communities in dryland ecosystems play important roles as root associates of the widely spaced plants and as the dominant members of biological soil crusts (biocrusts) colonizing the plant interspaces. We employed rRNA gene sequencing (bacterial 16S/fungal large subunit) and shotgun metagenomic sequencing to compare the microbial communities inhabiting the root zones of the dominant shrub, Larrea tridentata (creosote bush), and the interspace biocrusts in a Mojave desert shrubland within the Nevada Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiment. Most of the numerically abundant bacteria and fungi were present in both the biocrusts and root zones, although the proportional abundance of those members differed significantly between habitats. Biocrust bacteria were predominantly Cyanobacteria while root zones harbored significantly more Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria. Pezizomycetes fungi dominated the biocrusts while Dothideomycetes were highest in root zones. Functional gene abundances in metagenome sequence datasets reflected the taxonomic differences noted in the 16S rRNA datasets. For example, functional categories related to photosynthesis, circadian clock proteins, and heterocyst-associated genes were enriched in the biocrusts, where populations of Cyanobacteria were larger. Genes related to potassium metabolism were also more abundant in the biocrusts, suggesting differences in nutrient cycling between biocrusts and root zones. Finally, ten years of elevated atmospheric CO2 did not result in large shifts in taxonomic composition of the bacterial or fungal communities or the functional gene inventories in the shotgun metagenomes.

  1. Exophiala crusticola anam. nov. (affinity Herpotrichiellaceae), a novel black yeast from biological soil crusts in the Western United States. (United States)

    Bates, Scott T; Reddy, Gundlapally S N; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran


    A novel black yeast-like fungus, Exophiala crusticola, is described based on two closely related isolates from biological soil crust (BSC) samples collected on the Colorado Plateau (Utah) and in the Great Basin desert (Oregon), USA. Their morphology places them in the anamorphic genus Exophiala, having affinities to the family Herpotrichiellaceae (Ascomycota). Phylogenetic analysis of their D1/D2 large subunit nuclear ribosomal RNA (LSU nrRNA) gene sequences suggests that they represent a distinct species. The closest known putative relative to Exophiala crusticola is Capronia coronata Samuels, isolated from decorticated wood in Westland County, New Zealand. The holotype for Exophiala crusticola anam. nov. is UAMH 10686 and the type strain is CP141bT (=ATCC MYA-3639T=CBS 119970T=DSM 16793T). Dark-pigmented fungi appear to constitute an important heterotrophic component of soil crusts and Exophiala crusticola represents the first description of a dematiaceous fungus isolated from BSCs.

  2. [Greenhouse gases fluxes of biological soil crusts and soil ecosystem in the artificial sand-fixing vegetation region in Shapotou area]. (United States)

    Hu, Yi-Gang; Feng, Yu-Lan; Zhang, Zhi-Shan; Huang, Lei; Zhang, Peng; Xu, Bing-Xin


    Uncertainties still existed for evaluating greenhouse gases fluxes (GHGs), including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) at the regional scale for desert ecosystem because available GHGs data about biological soil crusts (BSCs) was very scarce. In 2011 and 2012, soil ecosystem covered by various types of BSCs and BSCs at different succession stages in an artificial sand-fixing vegetation region established in various periods at southeast of the Shapotou area in Tengger Desert was selected to measure fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O using static chamber and gas chromatography. The results showed that curst type, recovery time and their interactions with sampling date significantly affected CO2 flux. Recovery time and interaction of crust type and sampling date significantly affected CH4 flux. Sampling date significantly affected the fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O. The mean annual flux of CO2 for moss crust (105.1 mg x m(-2) x h(-1)) was significantly higher than that of algae crust (37.7 mg x m(-2) x h(-1)) at the same succession stage. Annual mean CH4 and N2O consumption was 19.9 and 3.4 microg x m(-2) x h(-1), respectively. Mean annual consumption of CH4 and N2O for algae crust was slightly higher than that of moss crust, however, significant difference was not found. Ecosystem respiration (Re) of desert soil covered by BSCs increased with the recovery process of desert ecosystem, in contrast, consumption of CH4 and N2O decreased. Re of moss crust was more sensitive to temperature and moisture variation than algae crust and Re sensitivity of temperature and moisture gradually increased with the development and succession of BSCs. Both soil temperature and moisture were not the main factor to determine CH4 and N2O fluxes of BSCs-soil in desert ecosystem.

  3. Biological soil crust as a bio-mediator alters hydrological processes in stabilized dune system of the Tengger Desert, China (United States)

    Li, Xinrong


    Biological soil crust (BSC) is a vital component in the stabilized sand dunes with a living cover up to more than 70% of the total, which has been considered as a bio-mediator that directly influences and regulates the sand dune ecosystem processes. However, its influences on soil hydrological processes have been long neglected in Chinese deserts. In this study, BSCs of different successional stages were chose to test their influence on the hydrological processes of stabilized dune, where the groundwater deep exceeds 30m, further to explore why occur the sand-binding vegetation replacement between shrubs and herbs. Our long-term observation (60 years) shows that cyanobacteria crust has been colonized and developed after 3 years since the sand-binding vegetation has been established and dune fixation using planted xerophytic shrubs and made sand barrier (straw-checkerboard) on shifting dune surface, lichen and moss crust occurred after 20 years, and the cover of moss dominated crust could reach 70 % after 50 years. The colonization and development of BSC altered the initial soil water balance of revegetated areas by influencing rainfall infiltration, soil evaporation and dew water entrapment. The results show that BSC obviously reduced the infiltration that occurred during most rainfall events (80%), when rainfall was greater than 5 mm or less than 20 mm. The presence of BSC reduced evaporation of topsoil after small rainfall (BSC. Moreover, the effect of the later successional BSC to dew entrapment, rainfall infiltration and evaporation was more obvious than the early successional BSC on stabilized dunes. In general, BSC reduced the amount of rainfall water that reached deeper soil (0.4-3m), which is where the roots of shrubs are primarily distributed. These changes in the soil moisture pattern induced shifting of sand-binding vegetation from initial planted xerophytic shrub communities with higher coverage (35%) to complex communities dominated by shallow

  4. Molecular and chemical features of the excreted extracellular polysaccharides in Induced Biological Soil Crusts of different ages (United States)

    Rossi, Federico; Lanzhou, Chen; Liu, Yongding; Adessi, Alessandra; De Philippis, Roberto


    Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) are complex microbial associations widely distributed in arid and semiarid environments. These microbial associations have recently been acknowledged as important in restoration ecology (Bowker 2007). The primary colonization of cyanobacteria and other crust organisms after events such as fire or cessation of plowing is considered critical for later vascular plant establishment, due to the control of seed germination and due to the complex pathways that BSCs are capable to establish between plants and crust organisms and exudates (Rossi et al. 2013). In a ten year study carried out in the hyper-arid region of Inner Mongolia (China), introduction of man - made BSCs (induced BSCs, IBSCs) proved to be effective in producing a shift of the ecosystem state from high abiotic to low abiotic stress, evidenced by an increase in photothrophic abundance and subshrub cover. The prerequisite for an efficient exploitation of crust organisms as soil colonizers is their capability to secrete large amount of exopolysaccharides (EPS) which are important, among the reasons, as they lead to soil and BSC stabilization and represent a noticeable source of C that can be respired by the crustal community. By these means, a deep chemical and physiological knowledge concerning these exudates is required. Notwithstanding the large amount of literature available, recently thoroughly reviewed by Mager and Thomas (2011), the chemical characteristics of EPS from BSCs, and in particular from IBSCs, have not been investigated yet. We analyzed the monosaccharidic composition and the molecular weight distribution of two EPS fractions, the more soluble fraction and the fraction more tightly bound to cells, extracted from IBSCs collected in the Inner Mongolian desert, inoculated in different years (namely 4, 6 and 8 years before the sampling), thus characterized by different developmental stages. We thereafter investigated the degradation processes involving EPS

  5. Increased temperature and altered summer precipitation have differential effects on biological soil crusts in a dryland ecosystem (United States)

    Johnson, Shannon L.; Kuske, Cheryl R.; Carney, Travis D.; Housman, David C.; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne; Belnap, Jayne


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are common and ecologically important members of dryland ecosystems worldwide, where they stabilize soil surfaces and contribute newly fixed C and N to soils. To test the impacts of predicted climate change scenarios on biocrusts in a dryland ecosystem, the effects of a 2–3 °C increase in soil temperature and an increased frequency of smaller summer precipitation events were examined in a large, replicated field study conducted in the cold desert of the Colorado Plateau, USA. Surface soil biomass (DNA concentration), photosynthetically active cyanobacterial biomass (chlorophyll a concentration), cyanobacterial abundance (quantitative PCR assay), and bacterial community composition (16S rRNA gene sequencing) were monitored seasonally over 2 years. Soil microbial biomass and bacterial community composition were highly stratified between the 0–2 cm depth biocrusts and 5–10 cm depth soil beneath the biocrusts. The increase in temperature did not have a detectable effect on any of the measured parameters over 2 years. However, after the second summer of altered summer precipitation pattern, significant declines occurred in the surface soil biomass (avg. DNA concentration declined 38%), photosynthetic cyanobacterial biomass (avg. chlorophyll a concentration declined 78%), cyanobacterial abundance (avg. gene copies g−1 soil declined 95%), and proportion of Cyanobacteria in the biocrust bacterial community (avg. representation in sequence libraries declined 85%). Biocrusts are important contributors to soil stability, soil C and N stores, and plant performance, and the loss or reduction of biocrusts under an altered precipitation pattern associated with climate change could contribute significantly to lower soil fertility and increased erosion and dust production in dryland ecosystems at a regional scale.

  6. Biological soil crust formation under artificial vegetation effect and its properties in the Mugetan sandy land, northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (United States)

    Li, Y. F.; Li, Z. W.; Jia, Y. H.; Zhang, K.


    Mugetan sandy land is an inland desertification area of about 2,065 km2 in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. In the ecological restoration region of the Mugetan sandy land, different crusts have formed under the action of vegetation in three types of sandy soil (i.e. semi-fixed sand dune, fixed sand dune and ancient fixed aeolian sandy soil). The surface sand particle distribution, mineral component and vegetation composition of moving sand dunes and three types of sandy soil were studied in 2010-2014 to analyze the biological crust formation properties in the Mugetan sandy land and the effects of artificial vegetation. Results from this study revealed that artificial vegetation increases the clay content and encourages the development of biological curst. The fine particles (i.e. clay and humus) of the surface layer of the sand dunes increased more than 15% ten years after the artificial vegetation planting, and further increased up to 20% after one hundred years. The interaction of clay, humus, and other fine particles formed the soil aggregate structure. Meanwhile, under the vegetation effect from the microbes, algae, and moss, the sand particles stuck together and a biological crust formed. The interconnection of the partial crusts caused the sand dunes to gradually be fixed as a whole. Maintaining the integrity of the biological crust plays a vital role in fixing the sand under the crust. The precipitation and temperature conditions in the Mugetan sandy land could satisfy the demand of biological crust formation and development. If rational vegetation measures are adopted in the region with moving sand dunes, the lichen-moss-algae biological curst will form after ten years, but it still takes more time for the sand dunes to reach the nutrient enrichment state. If the biological curst is partly broken due to human activities, reasonable closure and restoration measures can shorten the restoration time of the biological crust.

  7. Biological soil crusts: a microenvironment characterized by complex microbial interrelations affected by the presence of the exopolysaccharidic matrix. (United States)

    De Philippis, Roberto


    Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) are complex microbial communities, commonly found in arid and semiarid areas of the world. The capability of the microorganisms residing in BSCs to withstand the harsh environmental conditions typical of these habitats, namely drought and high solar irradiation, is related with the presence of a matrix constituted by microbial-produced extracellular polysaccharides (EPSs), which also accomplish for a wide array of key ecological roles. EPSs represent a huge carbon source directly available to heterotrophic organisms, affect soil characteristics, water regimes, and establish complex interactions with plants. The induction of BSCs on degraded soils is considered a feasible approach to amend and maintain land fertility, as it was reported in a number of recent studies. It was recently shown that BSC induction is beneficial in enhancing SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) and in increasing the abundance of phototrophic organisms and vegetation cover. This lecture will describe the results of a study showing that cyanobacterial-EPS resulted advantageous to the growth and metabolism of seedlings of Caragana korshinskii, a desert sub-shrub widely diffused in the area under study, also contributing a defensive effect against the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS), generated under UV-irradiation, salt stress and desiccation. A study aimed at investigating the possible correlation between the chemical composition and the macromolecular features of the EPS matrix of induced BSCs of different age, collected in the hyper-arid plateau of Hobq desert, Inner Mongolia, China, will be also presented. The results of this study showed that the characteristics of the EPS of the matrix of the investigated IBSCs cannot be put only in relation with the age of the crusts and the activity of phototrophic microorganisms but, more properly, it has to be taken into account the biotic interactions ongoing between EPS producers (cyanobacteria, green microalgae

  8. The role of microbial-produced extracellular polymeric matrix in the formation and survival of biological soil crusts (United States)

    Rossi, Federico; Adessi, Alessandra; De Philippis, Roberto


    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are complex communities commonly constituting organo-mineral layers in arid and semiarid environment having a major influence on these ecosystems (Belnap and Lange, 2001). They have high tolerance towards a-biotic stresses and fluctuations in moisture, illumination, salinity and nutrients. The plasticity exhibited by BSCs is hugely contributed by the presence of the extracellular polymeric matrix (EPM) that is synthesized by crustal organisms, notably cyanobacteria and microalgae. This polysaccharidic net plays key roles in biofilm relations with the surrounding constrained environment. Notably, EPM concurs in coping with water scarcity, freezing and salt stress; increases biolayers stability against erosion, and is involved in nutrient provision (Rossi and De Philippis, 2015). We conducted several investigations in a research area located in the Inner Mongolian desert (Inner Mongolia, China) where BSCs were induced over different sites through inoculation-based techniques performed in different years. Our studies were aimed at determining the role of EPM in BSC development and survival in such a hyper-arid system. This presentation will report the results concerning the role of EPM in water capture from non-rainfall sources, water maintenance at the topsoil, and in water infiltrability, the latter being a factor with important ecological implications. In additions we investigated the role of the matrix as a source of carbon for the crustal heterotrophs. Furthermore, EPM was extracted with methods optimized in our lab, aiming at removing tightly bound fractions and loosely bound fractions from BSCs having different ages. The fractions were analyzed in terms of monosaccharidic composition, and molecular weight (MW) distribution. We show how the relative amounts of uronic acids increase in the EPM with the age of the crusts, implying advantages for the community-water relations. In addition, we observed significant differences in MW

  9. Development and hydrology of biological soil crusts -- first results from a surface inoculation experiment (United States)

    Mykhailova, Larysa; Raab, Thomas; Gypser, Stella; Fischer, Thomas


    Representing a set of various micro-biocoenoses, biocrusts often reside in adjacent patches, which not necessarily relate to structural elements of the habitat, like (micro-) topography or vegetational patterns. Such biocrust patches may become more stable through the formation of mutually dependent ecohydrological regimes. For example, algal patches inhibiting infiltration and generating runoff alternate with runoff-receiving moss patches possessing high water holding capacities. Here, we preliminarily report on a lysimeter field experiment where natural biocrust isolates were used for surface inoculation to (I) prove stochastic vs. deterministic biocrust development and (II) to quantitatively relate biocrust development to soil hydrology. Lysimeter sand was collected from 3-4 m below surface at natural dune outcrops in south-eastern Brandenburg, Germany (Glashütte (GLA) and Neuer Lugteich (LUG)), where biocrust samples were collected at the respective dune bases. The lysimeters were designed to prevent runoff. In a completely randomized full-factorial design, three factors were considered. (A) Inocolum in three treatments (bare control, mosses, algae), (B) mineral substrate texture in two treatments (GLA: 55% and LUG: 79% particles >630 μm), and (C) surface compaction in two treatments (control, 41.5 kN m-2 for 30 seconds). The samples were kept dry and re-moistened to -60 hPa two days before inoculation. After a species inventory, the inoculate was isolated by gently washing off sand particles from the biocrust samples. Algal/lichen crusts were dominated by Zygogonium ericetorum and Cladonia sp. at both sites. All moss crusts were dominated by Polytrichum piliferum and Ceratodon purpureus, whereas Brachythecium albicans was present at GLA only. 20 g of homogenized moist inoculate were spread over the surface of each lysimeter (Ø 19 cm, 22 cm depth). We performed autochthonous inoculation, i.e. biocrust isolates collected from GLA were used for inoculation of

  10. Key Factors Controlling the Growth of Biological Soil Crusts: Towards a Protocol to Produce Biocrusts in Greenhouse Facilities (United States)

    Velasco Ayuso, Sergio; María Giraldo Silva, Ana; Nelson, Corey; Barger, Nichole; Antoninka, Anita; Bowker, Matthew; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran


    Biological soil crusts (= biocrusts) are topsoil communities comprise of, but not limited to, cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, and mosses that grow intimately associated with soil particles in drylands. Biocrusts have central ecological roles in these areas as sources of carbon and nutrients, and efficiently retain water and prevent soil erosion, which improves soil structure and promotes soil fertility. However, human activities, such as cattle grazing, hiking or military training, are rapidly striking biocrusts. Although it is well known that the inoculation with cyanobacteria or lichens can enhance the recovery of biocrusts in degraded soils, little is known about the factors that control their growth rates. Using soil and inocula from four different sites located in one cold desert (Utah) and in one hot desert (New Mexico), we performed a fractional factorial experiment involving seven factors (water, light, P, N, calcium carbonate, trace metals and type of inoculum) to screen their effects on the growth of biocrusts. After four months, we measured the concentration of chlorophyll a, and we discovered that water, light and P, N or P+N were the most important factors controlling the growth of biocrusts. In the experimental treatments involving these three factors we measured a similar concentration of chlorophyll a (or even higher) to this found in the field locations. Amplification of the 16S rRNA gene segment using universal bacteria primers revealed a microbial community composition in the biocrusts grown that closely corresponds to initial measurements made on inocula. In summary, based on our success in obtaining biocrust biomass from natural communities in greenhouse facilities, without significantly changing its community composition at the phylum and cyanobacterial level, we are paving the road to propose a protocol to produce a high quality-nursed inoculum aiming to assist restoration of arid and semi-arid ecosystems affected by large-scale disturbances.

  11. Development, calibration, and performance of a novel biocrust wetness probe (BWP) measuring the water content of biological soil crusts and surface soils (United States)

    Weber, Bettina; Berkemeier, Thomas; Ruckteschler, Nina; Caesar, Jennifer; Ritter, Holger; Heintz, Henno; Brass, Henning


    The surface layer of soils as transition zone between pedosphere and atmosphere plays a crucial role in exchange processes of nutrients, atmospheric gases and water. In arid and semiarid regions, this uppermost soil layer is commonly colonized by biological soil crusts (biocrusts), which cover about 46 million km2 worldwide being highly relevant in the global terrestrial carbon and nitrogen cycles. Their water status is of major concern, as activity of these poikilohydric organisms is directly controlled by their water content. On-site analyses of both bare and crusted soils thus are urgently needed to correctly model exchange processes of water, nutrients and trace gases at the soil surface. In this study we present the biocrust wetness probe (BWP), which is the first low-cost sensor to reliably measure the water content within biocrusts or the uppermost 5 mm of the substrate. Using a weak alternating current, the electrical conductivity is assessed and an automatic calibration routine allows calculating the water content and precipitation equivalent of the surface layer over time. During one year of continuous field measurements, 60 BWPs were installed in different types of biocrusts and bare soil to measure at 5-minute intervals in the Succulent Karroo, South Africa. All sensors worked reliably and responded immediately and individually upon precipitation events. Upon completion of field measurements, soil and biocrust samples were collected from all measurement spots to compile calibration curves in the lab. In most soil and biocrust samples the water content rose linearly with increasing electrical conductivity values and only for few samples an exponential relationship was observed. Measurements revealed characteristic differences in biocrust and soil wetness patterns, which affect both the water regime and physiological processes in desert regions. Thus BWPs turned out to be well suited sensors for spatio-temporal monitoring of soil water content, allowing

  12. Runoff initiation versus runoff yield: Understanding the complexity of the hydrological effect of biological soil crusts (United States)

    Kidron, G. J.; Monger, H. C.; Büdel, B.; Vonshak, A.; Conrod, W.


    The differentiation between runoff initiation and runoff yield (amount) is not always clear. In many cases they often seem interchangeable. Some of the differences were pinpointed following research conducted at two sand fields in Israel (Nizzanim, NIM, at the southern coast and Nizzana, NIZ in the Negev) and three sites in the Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, USA (silty-loessial sediments at the Jornada Experimental Range, JER; quartzose sand in the Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge, SEV; gypseous sand at the White Sands National Monument, WS) during which intact plots were compared to scalped plots. While the parent material, the effective rain, and the exopolysacharide (EPS) content of the crust determined runoff initiation in the Chihuahuan Desert, the effective rain and the crust microrelief determined the amount (yield) of runoff in areas where runoff initiation took place. Low EPS-crusts did not facilitated runoff initiation, even at high-chlorophyll crusts such as in WS. Similar results were obtained for NIM. Data from NIZ also highlighted the fundamental role played by the EPS in the determination of the amounts of runoff. This however was not the case with the chlorophyll content per se, that did not determine runoff initiation or yield. The findings also indicate that under the conditions examined, microrelief could not have controlled runoff initiation. Nevertheless, it affected the runoff amounts, as found in the Chihuahuan Desert and the Negev. The presence of rills and gullies may be indicative of the potentiality of BSCs to initiate runoff.

  13. Relationship between the herbaceous and woody vegetation caracteristics and biological soil crusts distribution in fallow and rangeland across a latitudinal gradient in Sahelian Western Niger (United States)

    Malam Issa, O.; Hiernaux, P.; Kalilou, A.; Rajot, J. L.; Languille, J.


    Biological soil crusts (BSC) are common soil feature in the Sahel, in Western Niger. They occur in association with various types of physical soil crusts in fallow, rangeland and 'tiger bush' biomes (landscape with a typical pattern consisting of alternating dense thicket bands composed of shrubs and small trees, and bare soil bands). Despite their widespread occurrence, little research has focussed on the spatial extent of microbiotic soil crusts at regional scale in Sahel. Moreover, little is known about the interrelations between the occurrence of those crusts and the characteristics of the vegetation. In this paper, field data on the distribution of biological soil crusts and some characteristics (cover, composition, mass) of herbaceous and woody vegetation co-occurring in fallows and rangelands are presented and analysed. The study was performed in ten sites selected in Western Niger along a south-north climatic gradient between 650 to 300 mm of annual rainfall. The soil surfaces features, specifically physical and biological soil crusts, were surveyed twice in july-october 2009 and October-november 2011. The second survey combined the assessment of soil surfaces features with systematic observations of vegetation. Herbaceous cover, mass and species composition were assessed by stratified sampling along a 200 meter axis. PCQ distance method was used to characterise the density, cover and species composition of the woody plant population. The extends of BSC observed in the 10 sites in 2011 are in the same order as those observed in 2009, i.e. ranging between 4 and 59% in 2009 vs 1.5 and 48 % in 2011. The results showed a significant increase of BSC coverage with increasing annual rainfall towards the south of the gradient. The actual cover of herbaceous vegetation, taking the extends of bare soil patches in account, averages 14.2 % over the different sites. Similarly to BSC repartition, a slight increase of herbaceous cover is observed from the northern dryer

  14. Influence of biological soil crusts at different successional stages in the implantation of biogeochemical cycles in arid and semiarid zones (United States)

    Gil-Sotres, F.; Miralles, I.; Canton-Castilla, Y.; Domingo, F.; Leiros, M. C.; Trasar-Cepeda, C.


    Influence of biological soil crusts at different successional stages in the implantation of biogeochemical cycles in arid and semiarid zones I. Miralles1, F. Gil-Sotres2, Y. Cantón-Castilla3, F. Domingo1, M.C. Leirós2, C. Trasar-Cepeda4 1 Experimental Estation of Arid Zones (CSIC), E-04230 La Cañada de San Urbano, Almería, Spain. 2 Departamento Edafología y Química Agrícola, Grupo de Evaluación de la Calidad del Suelo, Unidad Asociada CSIC, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, E-15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 3 University of Almería, Departamento de Edafología y Química Agrícola, E-04230-La Cañada de San Urbano, Almería, Spain. 4 Departamento Bioquímica del Suelo, IIAG-CSIC, Apartado 122, E-15708 Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Crusts (BSCs) are formed by a close association between soil particles and cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, bryophytes and microfungi in varying proportions. Their habitat is within or immediately on top of the uppermost millimetres of the soil and are the predominant surface cover in arid and semiarid zones. Among the diverse functions developed by BSCs in the ecosystem (hydrology, erosion, soil properties, etc.), one of the most important is its role in nutrient cycling. Within arid and semiarid environments, BSCs have been termed 'mantles of fertility' being considered hotspots of biogeochemical inputs, fixing C, N and P above- and below-ground. However, there are differences in N and C fixation rates between BSCs types. Early successional BSCs, dominated by cyanobacterial species, fix lower quantities of C and N than mature BSCs dominated by lichens. Although the positive effects of BSCs on biogeochemical soil cycles are widely accepted, no previous studies have evaluated the activities of the enzymes involved in C, N and P cycles of BSCs and how they are affected by the successional stage of the BSC. In this work, performed in the Tabernas desert (SE Spain), we studied the hydrolase enzymes

  15. [Biological soil crust nitrogenase activity and its responses to hydro-thermic factors in different erosion regions on the Loess Plateau, China]. (United States)

    Ming, Jiao; Zhao, Yun-Ge; Xu, Ming-Xiang; Yang, Li-Na; Wang, Ai-Guo


    Based on field survey, the biological soil crusts at their stable development stage were collected from the water erosion region, water-wind erosion region, and wind erosion region on the Loess Plateau, aimed to study the effects of the variations of moisture and temperature on the crusts nitrogenase activity (NA). The NA of the crusts in the erosion regions decreased in the order of water erosion region (127.7 micromol x m(-2) x h(-1)) > water-wind erosion region (34.6 micromol x m(-2) x h(-1)) > wind erosion region (6.0 micromol x m(-2) x h(-1)), and the optimal temperature for the crust nitrogen fixation was 35 degrees C, 25 degrees C, and 15 degrees C, respectively. At the optimal temperature and 100% -40% field water-holding capacity, the NA of the crusts from the water erosion and water-wind erosion regions had no significant difference. The NA of the crusts from the wind erosion region was more sensitive to the variation of moisture, showing a dramatic decline when the moisture decreased to 80% field water-holding capacity, and totally lost when the moisture decreased to 20% field water-holding capacity. The differences in the NA of the crusts from the three erosion regions and the responses of the NA to the variations of moisture and temperature were likely associated with the climate, environment, and the crust species composition.

  16. Prioritizing conservation effort through the use of biological soil crusts as ecosystem function indicators in an arid region (United States)

    Bowker, M.A.; Miller, M.E.; Belnap, J.; Sisk, T.D.; Johnson, N.C.


    Conservation prioritization usually focuses on conservation of rare species or biodiversity, rather than ecological processes. This is partially due to a lack of informative indicators of ecosystem function. Biological soil crusts (BSCs) trap and retain soil and water resources in arid ecosystems and function as major carbon and nitrogen fixers; thus, they may be informative indicators of ecosystem function. We created spatial models of multiple indicators of the diversity and function of BSCs (species richness, evenness, functional diversity, functional redundancy, number of rare species, number of habitat specialists, nitrogen and carbon fixation indices, soil stabilization, and surface roughening) for the 800,000-ha Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah, U.S.A.). We then combined the indicators into a single BSC function map and a single BSC biodiversity map (2 alternative types of conservation value) with an unweighted averaging procedure and a weighted procedure derived from validations performance. We also modeled potential degradation with data from a rangeland assessment survey. To determine which areas on the landscape were the highest conservation priorities, we overlaid the function- and diversity-based conservation-value layers on the potential degradation layer. Different methods for ascribing conservation-value and conservation-priority layers all yielded strikingly similar results (r = 0.89-0.99), which suggests that in this case biodiversity and function can be conserved simultaneously. We believe BSCs can be used as indicators of ecosystem function in concert with other indicators (such as plant-community properties) and that such information can be used to prioritize conservation effort in drylands. ?? 2008 Society for Conservation Biology.

  17. Dryland biological soil crust cyanobacteria show unexpected decreases in abundance under long-term elevated CO2. (United States)

    Steven, Blaire; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne; Yeager, Chris M; Belnap, Jayne; Evans, R David; Kuske, Cheryl R


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) cover soil surfaces in many drylands globally. The impacts of 10 years of elevated atmospheric CO2 on the cyanobacteria in biocrusts of an arid shrubland were examined at a large manipulated experiment in Nevada, USA. Cyanobacteria-specific quantitative PCR surveys of cyanobacteria small-subunit (SSU) rRNA genes suggested a reduction in biocrust cyanobacterial biomass in the elevated CO2 treatment relative to the ambient controls. Additionally, SSU rRNA gene libraries and shotgun metagenomes showed reduced representation of cyanobacteria in the total microbial community. Taxonomic composition of the cyanobacteria was similar under ambient and elevated CO2 conditions, indicating the decline was manifest across multiple cyanobacterial lineages. Recruitment of cyanobacteria sequences from replicate shotgun metagenomes to cyanobacterial genomes representing major biocrust orders also suggested decreased abundance of cyanobacteria sequences across the majority of genomes tested. Functional assignment of cyanobacteria-related shotgun metagenome sequences indicated that four subsystem categories, three related to oxidative stress, were differentially abundant in relation to the elevated CO2 treatment. Taken together, these results suggest that elevated CO2 affected a generalized decrease in cyanobacteria in the biocrusts and may have favoured cyanobacteria with altered gene inventories for coping with oxidative stress.

  18. Dryland biological soil crust cyanobacteria show unexpected decreases in abundance under long-term elevated CO2 (United States)

    Steven, Blaire; Gallegos-Graves, La Verne; Yeager, Chris M.; Belnap, Jayne; Evans, R. David; Kuske, Cheryl R.


    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) cover soil surfaces in many drylands globally. The impacts of 10 years of elevated atmospheric CO2 on the cyanobacteria in biocrusts of an arid shrubland were examined at a large manipulated experiment in Nevada, USA. Cyanobacteria-specific quantitative PCR surveys of cyanobacteria small-subunit (SSU) rRNA genes suggested a reduction in biocrust cyanobacterial biomass in the elevated CO2 treatment relative to the ambient controls. Additionally, SSU rRNA gene libraries and shotgun metagenomes showed reduced representation of cyanobacteria in the total microbial community. Taxonomic composition of the cyanobacteria was similar under ambient and elevated CO2 conditions, indicating the decline was manifest across multiple cyanobacterial lineages. Recruitment of cyanobacteria sequences from replicate shotgun metagenomes to cyanobacterial genomes representing major biocrust orders also suggested decreased abundance of cyanobacteria sequences across the majority of genomes tested. Functional assignment of cyanobacteria-related shotgun metagenome sequences indicated that four subsystem categories, three related to oxidative stress, were differentially abundant in relation to the elevated CO2 treatment. Taken together, these results suggest that elevated CO2 affected a generalized decrease in cyanobacteria in the biocrusts and may have favoured cyanobacteria with altered gene inventories for coping with oxidative stress.

  19. Rain pulse response of soil CO2 exchange by biological soil crusts and grasslands of the semiarid Colorado Plateau, United States (United States)

    Bowling, D. R.; Grote, E. E.; Belnap, J.


    Biological activity in arid grasslands is strongly dependent on moisture. We examined gas exchange of biological soil crusts (biocrusts), the underlying soil biotic community, and the belowground respiratory activity of C3 and C4 grasses over 2 years in southeast Utah, USA. We used soil surface CO2 flux and the amount and carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of soil CO2 as indicators of belowground and soil surface activity. Soil respiration was always below 2 μmol m-2 s-1 and highly responsive to soil moisture. When moisture was available, warm spring and summer temperature was associated with higher fluxes. Moisture pulses led to enhanced soil respiration lasting for a week or more. Biological response to rain was not simply dependent on the amount of rain, but also depended on antecedent conditions (prior moisture pulses). The short-term temperature sensitivity of respiration was very dynamic, showing enhancement within 1-2 days of rain, and diminishing each day afterward. Carbon uptake occurred by cyanobacterially dominated biocrusts following moisture pulses in fall and winter, with a maximal net carbon uptake of 0.5 μmol m-2 s-1, although typically the biocrusts were a net carbon source. No difference was detected in the seasonal activity of C3 and C4 grasses, contrasting with studies from other arid regions (where warm- versus cool-season activity is important), and highlighting the unique biophysical environment of this cold desert. Contrary to other studies, the δ13C of belowground respiration in the rooting zone of each photosynthetic type did not reflect the δ13C of C3 and C4 physiology.

  20. Prioritizing conservation effort through the use of biological soil crusts as ecosystem function indicators in an arid region. (United States)

    Bowker, Matthew A; Miller, Mark E; Belnap, Jayne; Sisk, Thomas D; Johnson, Nancy C


    Conservation prioritization usually focuses on conservation of rare species or biodiversity, rather than ecological processes. This is partially due to a lack of informative indicators of ecosystem function. Biological soil crusts (BSCs) trap and retain soil and water resources in arid ecosystems and function as major carbon and nitrogen fixers; thus, they may be informative indicators of ecosystem function. We created spatial models of multiple indicators of the diversity and function of BSCs (species richness, evenness, functional diversity, functional redundancy, number of rare species, number of habitat specialists, nitrogen and carbon fixation indices, soil stabilization, and surface roughening) for the 800,000-ha Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah, U.S.A.). We then combined the indicators into a single BSC function map and a single BSC biodiversity map (2 alternative types of conservation value) with an unweighted averaging procedure and a weighted procedure derived from validations performance. We also modeled potential degradation with data from a rangeland assessment survey. To determine which areas on the landscape were the highest conservation priorities, we overlaid the function- and diversity-based conservation-value layers on the potential degradation layer. Different methods for ascribing conservation-value and conservation-priority layers all yielded strikingly similar results (r= 0.89-0.99), which suggests that in this case biodiversity and function can be conserved simultaneously. We believe BSCs can be used as indicators of ecosystem function in concert with other indicators (such as plant-community properties) and that such information can be used to prioritize conservation effort in drylands.

  1. Effects of Re-vegetation on Herbaceous Species Composition and Biological Soil Crusts Development in a Coal Mine Dumping Site. (United States)

    Zhao, Yang; Zhang, Peng; Hu, Yigang; Huang, Lei


    Despite the critical roles of plant species' diversity and biological soil crusts (BSCs) in arid and semi-arid ecosystems, the restoration of the diversity of herbaceous species and BSCs are rarely discussed during the process of vegetation restoration of anthropogenically damaged areas in these regions. In this study, the herbaceous plant species composition, along with the BSCs coverage and thicknesses, was investigated at six different re-vegetation type sites, and the natural vegetation site of the Heidaigou open pit coal mine in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was used as a reference. The highest total species richness (16), as well as the species richness (4.4), occurred in the Tree and Herbaceous vegetation type site. The species composition similarities between the restored sites and the reference site were shown to be very low, and ranged from 0.09 to 0.42. Also, among the restored sites, the similarities of the species were fairly high and similar, and ranged from 0.45 to 0.93. The density and height of the re-vegetated woody plants were significantly correlated with the indexes of the diversity of the species. The Shrub vegetation type site showed the greatest total coverage (80%) of BSCs and algae crust coverage (48%). The Shrub and Herbaceous type had the greatest thicknesses of BSCs, with as much as 3.06 mm observed, which was followed by 2.64 mm for the Shrub type. There was a significant correlation observed between the coverage of the total BSCs, and the total vegetation and herbaceous vegetation coverage, as well as between the algae crust coverage and the herbaceous vegetation coverage. It has been suggested that the re-vegetated dwarf woody plant species (such as shrubs and semi-shrubs) should be chosen for the optimal methods of the restoration of herbaceous species diversity at dumping sites, and these should be planted with low density. Furthermore, the effects of vegetation coverage on the colonization and development the BSCs

  2. Small-Scale Vertical Distribution of Bacterial Biomass and Diversity in Biological Soil Crusts from Arid Lands in the Colorado Plateau (United States)

    Garcia-Pichel, F.; Johnson, S.L.; Youngkin, D.; Belnap, J.


    We characterized, at millimeter resolution, bacterial biomass, diversity, and vertical stratification of biological soil crusts in arid lands from the Colorado Plateau. Microscopic counts, extractable DNA, and plate counts of viable aerobic copiotrophs (VAC) revealed that the top centimeter of crusted soils contained atypically large bacterial populations, tenfold larger than those in uncrusted, deeper soils. The plate counts were not always consistent with more direct estimates of microbial biomass. Bacterial populations peaked at the immediate subsurface (1-2 mm) in light-appearing, young crusts, and at the surface (0-1 mm) in well-developed, dark crusts, which corresponds to the location of cyanobacterial populations. Bacterial abundance decreased with depth below these horizons. Spatially resolved DGGE fingerprints of Bacterial 16S rRNA genes demonstrated the presence of highly diverse natural communities, but we could detect neither trends with depth in bacterial richness or diversity, nor a difference in diversity indices between crust types. Fingerprints, however, revealed the presence of marked stratification in the structure of the microbial communities, probably a result of vertical gradients in physicochemical parameters. Sequencing and phylogenetic analyses indicated that most of the naturally occurring bacteria are novel types, with low sequence similarity (83-93%) to those available in public databases. DGGE analyses of the VAC populations indicated communities of lower diversity, with most types having sequences more than 94% similar to those in public databases. Our study indicates that soil crusts represent small-scale mantles of fertility in arid ecosystems, harboring vertically structured, little-known bacterial populations that are not well represented by standard cultivation methods.

  3. Description of Pseudomonas asuensis sp. nov. from biological soil crusts in the Colorado plateau, United States of America. (United States)

    Reddy, Gundlapally Sathyanarayana; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran


    A Gram-negative, aerobic, non spore-forming, non-motile, rod-shaped, yellow pigmented bacterium CP155-2(T) was isolated from a biological soil crusts sample collected in the Colorado plateau, USA and subjected to polyphasic taxonomic characterization. Strain CP155-2(T) contained summed feature 3 (C(16:1)ω5c/C(16:1)ω7c) and C(18:1)ω7c as major fatty acids and diphosphatidylglycerol (DPG) along with phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylglycerol (PG) as major polar lipids. Based on these characteristics CP155-2(T) was assigned to the genus Pseudomonas. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequence further confirmed the affiliation of CP155-2(T) to the genus Pseudomonas and showed a 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity of less than 98.7% with already described species of the genus. Pseudomonas luteola, Pseudomonas zeshuii, and Pseudomonas duriflava were identified as the closest species of the genus Pseudomonas with 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities of 98.7%, 98.6%, and 96.9%, respectively. The values for DNA¨CDNA relatedness between CP155-2(T) and Pseudomonas luteola and Pseudomonas zeshuii were 23% and 14% respectively a value below the 70% threshold value, indicating that strain CP155-2(T) belongs to a novel taxon of the genus Pseudomonas lineage. The novel taxon status was strengthened by a number of phenotypic differences wherein CP155-2(T) was positive for oxidase, negative for gelatin hydrolysis, could utilize D-cellobiose, D-raffinose, L-rhamnose, D-sorbitol but not L-aspartic acid and L-glutamic acid. Based on the collective differences strain CP155-2(T) exhibited, it was identified as a novel species and the name Pseudomonas asuensis sp. nov. was proposed. The type strain of Pseudomonas asuensis sp. nov. is CP155-2(T) (DSM 17866(T) =ATCC BAA-1264(T) =JCM13501(T) =KCTC 32484(T)).

  4. Biological soil crusts: An organizing principle in dryland ecosystems (aka: the role of biocrusts in arid land hydrology) (United States)

    Chamizo, Sonia; Belnap, Jayne; Elridge, David J; Issa, Oumarou M


    Biocrusts exert a strong influence on hydrological processes in drylands by modifying numerous soil properties that affect water retention and movement in soils. Yet, their role in these processes is not clearly understood due to the large number of factors that act simultaneously and can mask the biocrust effect. The influence of biocrusts on soil hydrology depends on biocrust intrinsic characteristics such as cover, composition, and external morphology, which differ greatly among climate regimes, but also on external factors as soil type, topography and vegetation distribution patterns, as well as interactions among these factors. This chapter reviews the most recent literature published on the role of biocrusts in infiltration and runoff, soil moisture, evaporation and non-rainfall water inputs (fog, dew, water absorption), in an attempt to elucidate the key factors that explain how biocrusts affect land hydrology. In addition to the crust type and site characteristics, recent studies point to the crucial importance of the type of rainfall and the spatial scale at which biocrust effects are analyzed to understand their role in hydrological processes. Future studies need to consider the temporal and spatial scale investigated to obtain more accurate generalizations on the role of biocrusts in land hydrology.

  5. Biological soil crusts cause subcritical water repellency in a sand dune ecosystem located along a rainfall gradient in the NW Negev desert, Israel

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keck Hannes


    Full Text Available The biological soil crusts (BSCs in the NW Negev cause local water redistribution by increasing surface runoff. The effects of pore clogging and swelling of organic and inorganic crust components were intensively investigated in earlier studies. However, the effect of water repellency (WR was not addressed systematically yet. This study investigates subcritical WR of BSCs in three different study sites in the NW Negev. For this purpose, three common methods to determine soil WR were used: (i the repellency index (RI method (ii the water drop penetration time (WDPT test and (iii the Wilhelmy plate method (WPM. Furthermore, the potential influence of WR on local water redistribution is discussed and the applied methods are compared. We found the BSC to be subcritically water repellent. The degree of WR may only affect water redistribution on a microscale and has little influence on the ecosystem as a whole. The RI method was clearly the most appropriate to use, whereas the WDPT and the WPM failed to detect subcritical WR.

  6. Dynamics of cover, UV-protective pigments, and quantum yield in biological soil crust communities of an undisturbed Mojave Desert shrubland (United States)

    Belnap, J.; Phillips, S.L.; Smith, S.D.


    Biological soil crusts are an integral part of dryland ecosystems. We monitored the cover of lichens and mosses, cyanobacterial biomass, concentrations of UV-protective pigments in both free-living and lichenized cyanobacteria, and quantum yield in the soil lichen species Collema in an undisturbed Mojave Desert shrubland. During our sampling time, the site received historically high and low levels of precipitation, whereas temperatures were close to normal. Lichen cover, dominated by Collema tenax and C. coccophorum, and moss cover, dominated by Syntrichia caninervis, responded to both increases and decreases in precipitation. This finding for Collema spp. at a hot Mojave Desert site is in contrast to a similar study conducted at a cool desert site on the Colorado Plateau in SE Utah, USA, where Collema spp. cover dropped in response to elevated temperatures, but did not respond to changes in rainfall. The concentrations of UV-protective pigments in free-living cyanobacteria at the Mojave Desert site were also strongly and positively related to rainfall received between sampling times (R2 values ranged from 0.78 to 0.99). However, pigment levels in the lichenized cyanobacteria showed little correlation with rainfall. Quantum yield in Collema spp. was closely correlated with rainfall. Climate models in this region predict a 3.5-4.0 ??C rise in temperature and a 15-20% decline in winter precipitation by 2099. Based on our data, this rise in temperature is unlikely to have a strong effect on the dominant species of the soil crusts. However, the predicted drop in precipitation will likely lead to a decrease in soil lichen and moss cover, and high stress or mortality in soil cyanobacteria as levels of UV-protective pigments decline. In addition, surface-disturbing activities (e.g., recreation, military activities, fire) are rapidly increasing in the Mojave Desert, and these disturbances quickly remove soil lichens and mosses. These stresses combined are likely to lead to

  7. Evolution of Fractal Parameters through Development Stage of Soil Crust (United States)

    Ospina, Abelardo; Florentino, Adriana; Tarquis, Ana Maria


    Soil surface characteristics are subjected to changes driven by several interactions between water, air, biotic and abiotic components. One of the examples of such interactions is provided through biological soil crusts (BSC) in arid and semi-arid environments. BSC are communities composed of cyanobacteria, fungi, mosses, lichens, algae and liverworts covering the soil surface and play an important role in ecosystem functioning. The characteristics and formation of these BSC influence the soil hydrological balance, control the mass of eroded sediment, increase stability of soil surface, and influence plant productivity through the modification of nitrogen and carbon cycle. The site of this work is located at Quibor and Ojo de Agua (Lara state, Venezuela). The Quibor Depression in Venezuela is a major agricultural area being at semi-arid conditions and limited drainage favor the natural process of salinization. Additionally, the extension and intensification of agriculture has led to over-exploitation of groundwater in the past 30 years (Méndoza et al., 2013). The soil microbial crust develops initially on physical crusts which are mainly generated since wetting and drying, being a recurrent feature in the Quíbor arid zone. The microbiotic crust is organic, composed of macro organisms (bryophytes and lichens) and microorganisms (cyanobacteria, fungi algae, etc.); growing on the ground, forming a thickness no greater than 3 mm. For further details see Toledo and Florentino (2009). This study focus on characterize the development stage of the BSC based on image analysis. To this end, grayscale images of different types of biological soil crust at different stages where taken, each image corresponding to an area of 12.96 cm2 with a resolution of 1024x1024 pixels (Ospina et al., 2015). For each image lacunarity and fractal dimension through the differential box counting method were calculated. These were made with the software ImageJ/Fraclac (Karperien, 2013

  8. The CO2 exchange of biological soil crusts in a semiarid grass-shrubland at the northern transition zone of the Negev desert, Israel

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. O. Andreae


    Full Text Available Biological soil crusts (BSC contribute significantly to the soil surface cover in many dryland ecosystems. A mixed type of BSC, which consists of cyanobacteria, mosses and cyanolichens, constitutes more than 60% of ground cover in the semiarid grass-shrub steppe at Sayeret Shaked in the northern Negev Desert, Israel. This study aimed at parameterizing the carbon sink capacity of well-developed BSC in undisturbed steppe systems. Mobile enclosures on permanent soil borne collars were used to investigate BSC-related CO2 fluxes in situ and with natural moisture supply during 10 two-day field campaigns within seven months from fall 2001 to summer 2002. Highest BSC-related CO2 deposition between −11.31 and −17.56 mmol m−2 per 15 h was found with BSC activated from rain and dew during the peak of the winter rain season. Net CO2 deposition by BSC was calculated to compensate 120%, −26%, and less than 3% of the concurrent soil CO2 efflux from November–January, February–May and November–May, respectively. Thus, BSC effectively compensated soil CO2 effluxes when CO2 uptake by vascular vegetation was probably at its low point. Nighttime respiratory emission reduced daily BSC-related CO2 deposition within the period November–January by 11–123% and on average by 27%. The analysis of CO2 fluxes and water inputs from the various sources showed that the bulk of BSC-related CO2 deposition occurs during periods with frequent rain events and subsequent condensation from water accumulated in the upper soil layers. Significant BSC activity on days without detectable atmospheric water supply emphasized the importance of high soil moisture contents as additional water source for soil-dwelling BSC, whereas activity upon dew formation at low soil water contents was not of major importance for BSC-related CO2 deposition. However, dew may still be important in attaining a pre-activated status during the transition from a long "summer" anabiosis towards

  9. The CO2 exchange of biological soil crusts in a semiarid grass-shrubland at the northern transition zone of the Negev desert, Israel

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. O. Andreae


    Full Text Available Biological soil crusts (BSC contribute significantly to the soil surface cover in many dryland ecosystems. A mixed type of BSC, which consists of cyanobacteria, mosses and cyanolichens, constitutes more than 60% of ground cover in the semiarid grass-shrub steppe at Sayeret Shaked in the northern Negev Desert, Israel. This study aimed at parameterizing the carbon sink capacity of well-developed BSC in undisturbed steppe systems. Mobile enclosures on permanent soil borne collars were used to investigate BSC-related CO2 fluxes in situ and with natural moisture supply during 10 two-day field campaigns within seven months from fall 2001 to summer 2002. Highest BSC-related CO2 deposition between –11.31 and –17.56 mmol m−2 per 15 h was found with BSC activated from rain and dew during the peak of the winter rain season. Net CO2 deposition by BSC was calculated to compensate 120%, –26%, and less than 3% of the concurrent soil CO2 efflux from November–January, February–May and November–May, respectively. Thus, BSC effectively compensated soil CO2 effluxes when CO2 uptake by vascular vegetation was probably at its low point. Nighttime respiratory emission reduced daily BSC-related CO2 deposition within the period November–January by 11–123% and on average by 27%. The analysis of CO2 fluxes and water inputs from the various sources showed that the bulk of BSC-related CO2 deposition occurs during periods with frequent rain events and subsequent condensation from water accumulated in the upper soil layers. Significant BSC activity on days without detectable atmospheric water supply emphasized the importance of high soil moisture contents as additional water source for soil-dwelling BSC, whereas activity upon dew formation at low soil water contents was not of major importance for BSC-related CO2 deposition. However, dew may still be important in attaining a pre-activated status during the transition from a long "summer" anabiosis towards

  10. Effects of nitrogen deposition and soil fertility on cover and physiology of Cladonia foliacea (Huds.) Willd., a lichen of biological soil crusts from Mediterranean Spain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ochoa-Hueso, Raul, E-mail: raul.ochoa@ccma.csic.e [Instituto de Recursos Naturales, Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, C/Serrano 115 bis, 28006 Madrid (Spain); Manrique, Esteban [Instituto de Recursos Naturales, Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, C/Serrano 115 bis, 28006 Madrid (Spain)


    We are fertilizing a thicket with 0, 10, 20 and 50 kg nitrogen (N) ha{sup -1} yr{sup -1} in central Spain. Here we report changes in cover, pigments, pigment ratios and FvFm of the N-tolerant, terricolous, lichen Cladonia foliacea after 1-2 y adding N in order to study its potential as biomarker of atmospheric pollution. Cover tended to increase. Pigments increased with fertilization independently of the dose supplied but only significantly with soil nitrate as covariate. {beta}-carotene/chlorophylls increased with 20-50 kg N ha{sup -1} yr{sup -1} (over the background) and neoxanthin/chlorophylls also increased with N. (Neoxanthin+lutein)/carotene decreased with N when nitrate and pH seasonalities were used as covariates. FvFm showed a critical load above 40 kg N ha{sup -1} yr{sup -1}. Water-stress, iron and copper also explained variables of lichen physiology. We conclude that this tolerant lichen could be used as biomarker and that responses to N are complex in heterogeneous Mediterranean-type landscapes. - Research highlights: We are providing evidence of the potential use of the crust-forming lichen Cladonia foliacea as biomarker of atmospheric pollution in Mediterranean ecosystems of Europe, which are understudied with regard to this topic. Pigment concentration increased with N addition and FvFm, used as indicator of physiological status, showed a critical load above 20 kg N ha{sup -1} y{sup -1}. Soil nitrate and pH were important in modulating responses to simulated N pollution and other soil parameters (micro-nutrients, water content...) also explained variables of lichen physiology. We conclude that Cladonia foliacea could be used as biomarker and that responses to N are complex in heterogeneous Mediterranean-type landscapes. - Nitrogen deposition and soil variables affect the physiology of terrestrial Mediterranean lichens.

  11. Differential responses of dinitrogen fixation, diazotrophic cyanobacteria and ammonia oxidation reveal a potential warming-induced imbalance of the N-cycle in biological soil crusts (United States)

    Zhou, Xiaobing; Smith, Hilda J.; Giraldo Silva, Ana; Belnap, Jayne; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran


    N2 fixation and ammonia oxidation (AO) are the two most important processes in the nitrogen (N) cycle of biological soil crusts (BSCs). We studied the short-term response of acetylene reduction assay (ARA) rates, an indicator of potential N2 fixation, and AO rates to temperature (T, -5°C to 35°C) in BSC of different successional stages along the BSC ecological succession and geographic origin (hot Chihuahuan and cooler Great Basin deserts). ARA in all BSCs increased with T until saturation occurred between 15 and 20°C, and declined at 30–35°C. Culture studies using cyanobacteria isolated from these crusts indicated that the saturating effect was traceable to their inability to grow well diazotrophically within the high temperature range. Below saturation, temperature response was exponential, with Q10 significantly different in the two areas (~ 5 for Great Basin BSCs; 2–3 for Chihuahuan BSCs), but similar between the two successional stages. However, in contrast to ARA, AO showed a steady increase to 30–35°C in Great Basin, and Chihuhuan BSCs showed no inhibition at any tested temperature. The T response of AO also differed significantly between Great Basin (Q10 of 4.5–4.8) and Chihuahuan (Q10 of 2.4–2.6) BSCs, but not between successional stages. Response of ARA rates to T did not differ from that of AO in either desert. Thus, while both processes scaled to T in unison until 20°C, they separated to an increasing degree at higher temperature. As future warming is likely to occur in the regions where BSCs are often the dominant living cover, this predicted decoupling is expected to result in higher proportion of nitrates in soil relative to ammonium. As nitrate is more easily lost as leachate or to be reduced to gaseous forms, this could mean a depletion of soil N over large landscapes globally.

  12. Wind erodibility response of physical and biological crusts to rain and flooding (United States)

    Aubault, H.; Bullard, J. E.; Strong, C. L.; Ghadiri, H.; McTainsh, G. H.


    Soil surface crusts are important controllers of the small-scale wind entrainment processes that occur across all dust source regions globally. The crust type influences water and wind erosion by impacting infiltration, runoff, threshold wind velocity and surface storage capacity of both water and loose erodible material. The spatial and temporal patterning of both physical and biological crusts is known to change with rainfall and flooding. However, little is known about the impact of differing water quantity (from light rainfall through to flooding) on soil crusting characteristics (strength, roughness, sediment loss). This study compares the response of two soil types (loamy sand - LS, sandy loam - SL) with and without BSCs to three different rainfall events (2mm, 8mm, 15mm). Two BSC treatments were used one that simulated a young cyanobacteria dominated crust and an older flood induced multi species biological crust. For both soil types, soil surface strength increased with increasing rainfall amount with LS having consistently higher resistance to rupture than SL. Regardless of texture, soils with BSCs were more resistant and strength did not change in response to rainfall impact. Soil loss due to wind erosion was substantially higher on bare LS (4 times higher) and SL (3 times higher) soils compared with those with BSCs. Our results also show that young biological crust (formed by the rainfall event) have reduced soil erodibility with notably greater strength, roughness and reduced sediment losses when compared to soils with physical crust. Interestingly though, the erodibility of the old BSC did not differ greatly from that of the young BSC with respect to strength, roughness and sediment loss. This raises questions regarding the rapid soil surface protection offered by young colonising cyanobacteria crusts. Further analyses exploring the role of biological soil crusts on surface response to rainfall and wind saltation impact are ongoing.

  13. Living in biological soil crust communities of African deserts—Physiological traits of green algal Klebsormidium species (Streptophyta) to cope with desiccation, light and temperature gradients (United States)

    Karsten, Ulf; Herburger, Klaus; Holzinger, Andreas


    Green algae of the genus Klebsormidium (Klebsormidiales, Streptophyta) are typical members of biological soil crusts (BSCs) worldwide. The phylogeny and ecophysiology of Klebsormidium has been intensively studied in recent years, and a new lineage called superclade G, which was isolated from BSCs in arid southern Africa and comprising undescribed species, was reported. Three different African strains, that have previously been isolated from hot-desert BSCs and molecular-taxonomically characterized, were comparatively investigated. In addition, Klebsormidium subtilissimum from a cold-desert habitat (Alaska, USA, superclade E) was included in the study as well. Photosynthetic performance was measured under different controlled abiotic conditions, including dehydration and rehydration, as well as under a light and temperature gradient. All Klebsormidium strains exhibited optimum photosynthetic oxygen production at low photon fluence rates, but with no indication of photoinhibition under high light conditions pointing to flexible acclimation mechanisms of the photosynthetic apparatus. Respiration under lower temperatures was generally much less effective than photosynthesis, while the opposite was true for higher temperatures. The Klebsormidium strains tested showed a decrease and inhibition of the effective quantum yield during desiccation, however with different kinetics. While the single celled and small filamentous strains exhibited relatively fast inhibition, the uniserate filament forming isolates desiccated slower. Except one, all other strains fully recovered effective quantum yield after rehydration. The presented data provide an explanation for the regular occurrence of Klebsormidium strains or species in hot and cold deserts, which are characterized by low water availability and other stressful conditions. PMID:26422081

  14. Soil crusts to warm the planet (United States)

    Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Couradeau, Estelle; Karaoz, Ulas; da Rocha Ulisses, Nunes; Lim Hsiao, Chiem; Northen, Trent; Brodie, Eoin


    Soil surface temperature, an important driver of terrestrial biogeochemical processes, depends strongly on soil albedo, which can be significantly modified by factors such as plant cover. In sparsely vegetated lands, the soil surface can also be colonized by photosynthetic microbes that build biocrust communities. We used concurrent physical, biochemical and microbiological analyses to show that mature biocrusts can increase surface soil temperature by as much as 10 °C through the accumulation of large quantities of a secondary metabolite, the microbial sunscreen scytonemin, produced by a group of late-successional cyanobacteria. Scytonemin accumulation decreases soil albedo significantly. Such localized warming had apparent and immediate consequences for the crust soil microbiome, inducing the replacement of thermosensitive bacterial species with more thermotolerant forms. These results reveal that not only vegetation but also microorganisms are a factor in modifying terrestrial albedo, potentially impacting biosphere feedbacks on past and future climate, and call for a direct assessment of such effects at larger scales. Based on estimates of the global biomass of cyanobacteria in soil biocrusts, one can easily calculate that there must currently exist about 15 million metric tons of scytonemin at work, warming soil surfaces worldwide

  15. 沙坡头地区吸湿凝结水对生物土壤结皮的生态作用%Ecological effect of hygroscopic and condensate water on biological soil crusts in Shapotou region of China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    潘颜霞; 王新平; 张亚峰; 虎瑞


    以沙坡头植被固沙区为研究对象,采用野外试验与室内分析相结合的方法,探讨了吸湿凝结水对生物土壤结皮的生态作用.结果表明:在沙坡头人工固沙植被区内,吸湿凝结水90%分布在表层3 cm以内,不影响土壤表层水分含量;夜间形成的吸湿凝结水在日间参与了地表水分与大气层水汽的交换过程,弥补了日间蒸发作用导致的土壤水分的散失,使表层土壤水分不会迅速降低.吸湿凝结水形成量与生物土壤结皮中的叶绿素含量呈正相关关系,能够提高该区生物土壤结皮的生长活性,有利于其生物量的积累.%By the method of field experiment combined with laboratory analysis, this paper studied the ecological significance of hygroscopic and condensate water on the biological soil crusts in the vegetation sand-fixing area in Shapotou region of China.In the study area, 90% of hygroscopic and condensate water was within the 3 cm soil depth, which didn' t affect the surface soil water content.The hygroscopic and condensate water generated at night involved in the exchange process of soil surface water and atmosphere water vapor, made up the loss of soil water due to the evaporation during the day, and made the surface soil water not reduced rapidly.The amount of the generated hygroscopic and condensate water had a positive correlation with the chlorophyll content of biological soil crusts, indicating that the hygroscopic and condensate water could improve the growth activity of the biological soil crusts, and thus, benefit the biomass accumulation of the crusts.

  16. Development of Soil Crusts Under Simulated Rainfall and Crust Formation on a Loess Soil as Influenced by Polyacrylamide

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    HU Xia; LIU Lian-You; LI Shun-Jiang; CAI Qiang-Guo; L(U) Yan-Li; GUO Jin-Rui


    This study evaluated the morphological characteristics and dynamic variation in characteristics of soil crust and identified the relationships between soil crust and splash erosion under simulated rainfall.The effect of polyacrylamide (PAM) on soil aggregate stabilization and crust formation was also investigated.A laboratory rainfall simulation experiment was carried out using soil sample slices.The slices were examined under a polarized light microscopy and a scanning electron microscope (SEM).The results revealed that the soil crusts were thin and were characterized by a greater density,higher shear strength,finer porosity,and lower saturated hydraulic conductivity than the underlying soil.Two types of crusts,i.e.,structural and depositional crusts,were observed.Soil texture was determined to be the most important soil variable influencing surface crust formation; depositional crust formation was primarily related to the skeleton characteristics of the soil and happened when the soil contained a high level of medium and large aggregates.The crust formation processes observed were as follows:1) The fine particles on the soil surface became spattered,leached,and then rough in response to raindrop impact and 2) the fine particles were washed into the subsoil pores while a compact dense layer concurrently formed at soil surface due to the continual compaction by the raindrops.Therefore,the factors that influenced structural crust formation were a large amount of fine particles in the soil surface,continual impact of raindrops,dispersion of aggregates into fine particles,and the formation of a compact dense layer concurrently at the soil surface.It was concluded that the most important factor in the formation of soil crusts was raindrop impact.When polyacrylamide (PAM) was applied,it restored the soil structure and greatly increased soil aggregate stabilization.This effectively prevented crust formation.However,this function of PAM was not continuously effective and

  17. Structural stability of soil crusts. Consequences for soil erodibility assessment


    Darboux, Frédéric; Le Bissonnais, Yves


    Erosion and sediment transport processes depend on the soil surface properties. Because of water flow and other processes (climate, agricultural practices, biological activity, etc.), the properties of the soil surface can undergo significant changes that affect erosion. As a consequence, understanding of the transport processes and improvement in soil erosion prediction involve a better assessment of soil surface characteristics. Structural stability has been used to evaluate the sensitivity...

  18. Formation and development of salt crusts on soil surfaces

    KAUST Repository

    Dai, Sheng


    The salt concentration gradually increases at the soil free surface when the evaporation rate exceeds the diffusive counter transport. Eventually, salt precipitates and crystals form a porous sodium chloride crust with a porosity of 0.43 ± 0.14. After detaching from soils, the salt crust still experiences water condensation and salt deliquescence at the bottom, brine transport across the crust driven by the humidity gradient, and continued air-side precipitation. This transport mechanism allows salt crust migration away from the soil surface at a rate of 5 μm/h forming salt domes above soil surfaces. The surface characteristics of mineral substrates and the evaporation rate affect the morphology and the crystal size of precipitated salt. In particular, substrate hydrophobicity and low evaporation rate suppress salt spreading.


    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    宋勇生; 龚亚龙; 廖斌; 刘蔚秋


    The dumping site for copper mining tailings at Yangshanchong at Tongling city ( Anhui Province) has been deserted for 20-years. The area is characterized by extremely high concentrations of heavy metals, poverty of nutrients, easy acidification and severe desertification. Biological soil crusts ( BSCs) , extensively existing on tailings is a major early stage of the ecological succession of the tailing ecosystem. The method of in situ acetylene reduction was applied to explore characteristics of biological nitrogen-fixation of algae, algae-moss and moss crusts on tailings. It was found that biological crusts significantly increased total nitrogen and lower Cu content in the tailings, and the nitrogen-fixing capability of the crusts varied sharply from type to type. Among the three types, the algae-moss type of crust was the highest in N2 fixation rates, ranging between 1. 32 -8.78 kg hm ~ a , and followed by the algae type and the moss type, ranging between 4. 36 ~ 30. 39 kg hm-2a-1 and between 0 ~16. 34 kg hm -2 a-1, respectively, and followed a decreasing order of algae-moss, moss, and algae BSCs. N2 fixation capacity of the BSCs varied with the season, too showing a decrease order of summer, spring, fall and winter. Besides, a negative line relationship was observed of the capacity with soil bulk density, NO3--N, and total Cu concentration and a positive one with pH, NH4+-N, and water soluble organic carbon. On the whole, BSCs significantly enhanced total nitrogen content, and decrease total Cu concentration in tailings. The anomalous wet conditions experienced during the year of the study may have increased the temporal availability of soil mineral N and decreased N fixation rates. However, the presence of N fixation activity in all crusts analyzed their ability to survive at high Cu concentration, which may contribute to ecosystem resilience and recovery in areas under severe heavy metal stress.%在铜尾矿生态系统自然恢复过程中,生物结皮广

  20. [Crust development and subsurface soil properties under dominant shrubs in the process of dune restoration, Horqin Sand Land]. (United States)

    Guo, Yi-rui; Zhao, Ha-lin; Zuo, Xiao-an; Li, Yu-Lin; Huang, Yin-xin; Wang, Shao-kun


    Soil crust is a common and widespread phenomenon in desert areas all over the world due to its extraordinary ability to survive desiccation and extreme temperatures, high pH and salinity. Despite its unassuming appearance, biological soil crusts play a significant role in desert ecosystems, including involvement in the process of formation, stability and fertility of soil, preventing soil erosion by water or wind, increasing the possibility of vascular plant colonization, and being responsible for the stabilization of sand dunes. This study taking Horqin Sand Land as research region, by field sampling, crust and topsoil (0-2.5 cm and 2.5-5 cm under crust) samples in different dune habitats and shrub communities were collected, and their physicochemical properties were analyzed, including particle size distribution, bulk density, total nutrients and available nutrients, pH, EC and CaCO3 content. The result revealed that Artemisia halodendron in semi-mobile dune, Caragana microphylla in semi-fix dune, Artemisia frigida in fix dune and Salix microstachya in interdunal lowland were respectively developed physical soil crust, algae crust, lichen crust and moss crust. Crust thickness, hardness, water content, fine fraction, total and available nutrients gradually increased by semi-mobile dune dune dune dune habitats, and by physical soil crust dune to interdunal lowland. As to each crust, the parameters of 0-2.5 cm subsurface soil layer were higher than that in 2.5-5 cm soil layer. The result also showed that the fine fraction and nutrient content of moss crust under Salix microstachya in interdunal lowland were higher than others, so did the 0-5 cm subsurface soil under it.


    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘柯澜; 冯福应


    PGY - BG11 Biological Soil Crusts Medium were used to isolate and screen microorganisms, and 21 strains and 12 strains were isolated from sample of biological soil crust of Hunshandake sandy land and Maowusu sandy land respectively. To identify these bacterium adopted the method of 16Sr - DNA sequence appraisal and concluded that both dominant bacteria were Streptomyces. We use RDP online program Classifier to classify these bacterium accorded with their sampling site. When compared with the result of the same sampling site of bacterial community which studied by molecular biotechnology, we found that not only the dominant bacteria was different from each other , but also the main component obtained from culture method was less than the main component of molecular biotechnology.%采用PGY - BG11生物结皮细菌培养基,运用传统培养方法从内蒙古浑善达克沙地、毛乌素沙地的生物结皮中分别分离到21株和12株细菌.采用16Sr - DNA测序分析方法进行菌种鉴定,得出两地的优势菌均为链霉菌属,并根据RDP在线程序Classifier浑善达克沙地、毛乌素沙地生物结皮可培养细菌归类.与采用分子生物学方法研究相同采样地生物结皮细菌群落结构的结论相比较,得出不仅优势菌不同,而且通过纯培养获得菌株所占类群的数量也少于采用分子生物学方法研究生物结皮细菌群落所属的类群.

  2. Effects of physical soil crusts on infiltration and splash erosion in three typical Chinese soils

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Chong-feng BU; Shu-fang WU; Kai-bao YANG


    Physical soil crusts likely have significant effects on infiltration and soil erosion, however, little is known on whether the effects of the crusts change during a rainfall event. Further, there is a lack of discussions on the differences among the crusting effects of different soil types. The objectives of this study are as follows: (i) to study the effects of soil crusts on infiltration, runoff, and splash erosion using three typical soils in China, (ii) to distinguish the different effects on hydrology and erosion of the three soils and discuss the primary reasons for these differences, and (iii) to understand the variations in real soil shear strength of the three soils during rainfall events and mathematically model the effects of the crusts on soil erosion. This study showed that the soil crusts delayed the onset of infiltration by 5 to 15 min and reduced the total amount of infiltration by 42.9 to 53.4%during rainfall events. For a purple soil and a loess soil, the initial crust increased the runoff by 2.8%and 3.4%, respectively, and reduced the splash erosion by 3.1% and 8.9%, respectively. For a black soil, the soil crust increased the runoff by 42.9%and unexpectedly increased the splash erosion by 95.2%. In general, the effects of crusts on the purple and loess soils were similar and negligible, but the effects were significant for the black soil. The soil shear strength decreased dynamically and gradually during the rainfall events, and the values of crusted soils were higher than those of incrusted soils, especially during the early stage of the rainfall. Mathematical models were developed to describe the effects of soil crusts on the splash erosion for the three soils as follows:purple soil, 0.384Fc =0.002t− ; black soil, 3.060Fc =−0.022t+ ; and loess soil, Fc =0.233 ln t−1.239 . Combined with the equation 1)Rc=Fc⋅(Ruc− , the splash erosion of the crusted soil can be predicted over time.

  3. [Effects of soil crusts on surface hydrology in the semiarid Loess hilly area]. (United States)

    Wei, Wei; Wen, Zhi; Chen, Li-Ding; Chen, Jin; Wu, Dong-Ping


    Soil crusts are distributed extensively in the Chinese Loess Plateau and play key roles in surface hydrological processes. In this study, a typical loess hilly region in Anjiagou catchment, Dingxi city, Gansu province was selected as the study region, and soil crusts in the catchment were investigated. Then, the hydrological effect of soil crusts was studied by using multi-sampling and hydrological monitoring experiments. Several key results were shown as follows. Firstly, compared with bared soil without crust cover, soil crusts can greatly reduce the bulk density, improve the porosity of soil, and raise the holding capacity of soil moisture which ranges from 1.4 to 1.9 times of that of bared soil. Secondly, the role of soil crust on rainfall interception was very significant. Moss crust was found to be strongest on rainfall interception, followed by synantectic crusts and lichen crusts. Bared soil without covering crusts was poorest in resisting rainfall splash. Thirdly, hydrological simulation experiments indicate that soil crusts play a certain positive role in promoting the water infiltration capacity, and the mean infiltration rate of the crusted soil was 2 times higher than that of the no-crust covered soils. While the accumulated infiltrated water amounts was also far higher than that of the bared soil.

  4. Tillage and farmyard manure efects on crusting and compacting soils at Katumani, Semi-arid Kenya

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Biamah, E.K.; Sterk, G.; Stroosnijder, L.


    In semi-arid Kenya, the most dominatn soil types are of limited agricultural productivity due to crusting and compaction. The occurence of soil crusting and compaction is attributed to seasonal rainfall characteristics, physical soil properties and bad tillage practices. Soil crusting and compaction


    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Tongxin ZHU


    Soil crusting may have significant impacts on infiltration, runoff generation and erosion in agricultural lands or semi-arid and arid soils. The previous investigations on soil crusting were often conducted under simulated rainfall conditions. This study aims to evaluate the effects of soil crusting on soil moisture during inter-storm periods and soil and water losses during storm periods under natural rainfalls. The study site was located in the Loess Plateau of China. Four plots with a uniform slope and size were selected. Soil crusts were kept intact on the two plots throughout the monitoring periods of 1999 and 2000,but were broken after each rain storm event on the other two plots. Soil moisture was measured on all plots with an interval of one week at three depths and total event runoff and sediment discharges were measured in each storm. It was found that no marked difference in soil moisture and runoff exists between the crusted and uncrusted plots. This is because the rapid development of new crusts on the uncrusted plots during the storm events. However, the erosion rate on the uncrusted plots was significantly higher than that on the crusted plots, which was mainly caused by the disturbance of the surface soils on the uncrusted plots. This study questions the effectiveness of a common agricultural practice in the Loess Plateau, hoeing lands after rainfall, in reducing runoff and erosion.

  6. Effects of crust and cracks on simulated catchment discharge and soil loss

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stolte, J.; Ritsema, C.J.; Roo, de A.P.J.


    Sealing, crusting and cracking of crusts of the soil surface has been observed in many parts of the world in areas with sandy, silty and loamy soils. Sealing and crust formation occurs under the influence of rain storm and drying weather. With prolonged drying, surface crusts might crack, leading to

  7. Comparison of diurnal dynamics in evaporation rate between bare soil and moss-crusted soil within a revegetated desert ecosystem of northwestern China

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Ya-Feng Zhang; Xin-Ping Wang; Yan-Xia Pan; Rui Hu


    Effects of biological soil crusts (BSCs) on soil evaporation is quite controversial in literature, being either facilitative or inhibitive, and therein few studies have actually conducted direct evaporation measurements. Continuous field measurements of soil water evaporation were conducted on two microlysimeters, i.e., one with sand soil collected from bare sand dune area and the other with moss-crusted soil collected from an area that was revegetated in 1956, from field capacity to dry, at the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert. We mainly aimed to quantify the diurnal variations of evaporation rate from two soils, and further comparatively discuss the effects of BSCs on soil evaporation after revegetation. Results showed that in clear days with high soil water content (Day 1 and 2), the diurnal variation of soil evaporation rate followed the typical convex upward parabolic curve, reaching its peak around midday. Diurnal evaporation rate and the accumulated evaporation amount of moss-crusted soil were lower (an average of 0.90 times) than that of sand soil in this stage. However, as soil water content decreased to a moderately low level (Day 3 and 4), the diurnal evaporation rate from moss-crusted soil was pronouncedly higher (an average of 3.91 times) than that of sand soil, prolonging the duration of this higher evaporation rate stage; it was slightly higher in the final stage (Day 5 and 6) when soil moisture was very low. We conclude that the effects of moss crusts on soil evaporation vary with different evaporation stages, which is closely related to soil water content, and the variation and transition of evaporation rate between bare soil and moss-crusted soil are expected to be predicted by soil water content.

  8. La costra biológica del suelo: Avances recientes en el conocimiento de su estructura y función ecológica Biological soil crusts: Recent advances in our knowledge of their structure and ecological function

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)



    estructura y funcionamiento de los ecosistemas en los que se encuentran.Biological soil crusts (BSCs result from an intimate association between soil particles and cyanobacteria, algae, microfungi, lichens, and bryophytes. These crusts are widespread in many type of soils and in almost all plant communities where sunlight can reach the soil surface. However, BSCs are particulary dominant in environments with low productivity such as arid, semi-arid, alpine and polar areas. Biological soil crusts affect soil nutrient cycling, influence the local hidrological cycle, increase soil stability, and affect the establisment and performance of vascular plants. The knowledge on the biology, ecology and physiology of BSCs has substantially increased in recent years. However, there are important gaps in our knowledge concerning the influence of BSCs on biogeochemical cycles, particularly of phosphorus and carbon, as well as on many aspects related to biotic interactions among BSC components, and between these components and microorganisms, vascular plants and invertebrates. It is necessary to expand current research efforts to other parts of the world, as most studies have been conducted mainly in arid and semi-arid areas of USA, Israel, Australia and China. Of particular concern is the lack of studies from Central and South America, despite BSCs must be a key biotic component in countries such as Chile, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. With the aim of increasing the interest of the scientific community of Spanish-speaking countries about this important group of organisms, in this review we illustrate recent advances on the importance of BSCs to maintain the structure and functioning of those ecosystems in which they are present. We also highlight the main gaps in our knowledge on the ecology of these organisms, and discuss key areas for future research.

  9. [Seasonal dynamics of soil net nitrogen mineralization under moss crust in Shapotou region, northern China]. (United States)

    Hu, Rui; Wang, Xin-ping; Pan, Yan-xia; Zhang, Ya-feng; Zhang, Hao; Cheng, Ning


    Seasonal variations of soil inorganic nitrogen (N) pool and net N transformation rate in moss-covered soil and in the bare soil were comparatively observed by incubating intact soil columns with parafilm capping in the field in a natural vegetation area of Shapotou, southeastern fringe of the Tengger Desert. We found pronounced seasonal variations in soil available N content and net N transformation rate in both moss-covered soil and bare soil, with significant differences among different months. In non-growing season, soil available N content and net N transformation rate were significantly higher in March and October than in other months. Furthermore, immobilization was the dominant form of N mineralization, and no significant difference in net soil N mineralization rate was found between the two sampling soils. In growing season, soil available N content and net N transformation rate markedly increased and reached their peak values during June to August (17.18 mg x kg(-1) and 0.11 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1), respectively). Both soil net nitrification and N mineralization rates in moss-covered soil were significantly higher than in bare soil. Soil ammonium and nitrate N content in April and May were higher in moss-covered soil (2.66 and 3.16 mg x kg(-1), respectively) than in bare soil (1.02 and 2.37 mg x kg(-1), respectively); while the tendency was the converse in June and September, with 7.01 mg x kg(-1) for soil ammonium content and 7.40 mg x kg(-1) for nitrate N content in bare soil, and they were 6.39 and 6.36 mg x kg(-1) in moss-covered soil, respectively. Therefore, the existence and succession of moss crusts could be considered as one of the important biological factors affecting soil N cycling through regulating soil available N content and promoting soil N mineralization process.

  10. Mechanical impedance of soil crusts and water content in loamy soils (United States)

    Josa March, Ramon; Verdú, Antoni M. C.; Mas, Maria Teresa


    Soil crust development affects soil water dynamics and soil aeration. Soil crusts act as mechanical barriers to fluid flow and, as their mechanical impedance increases with drying, they also become obstacles to seedling emergence. As a consequence, the emergence of seedling cohorts (sensitive seeds) might be reduced. However, this may be of interest to be used as an effective system of weed control. Soil crusting is determined by several factors: soil texture, rain intensity, sedimentation processes, etc. There are different ways to characterize the crusts. One of them is to measure their mechanical impedance (MI), which is linked to their moisture level. In this study, we measured the evolution of the mechanical impedance of crusts formed by three loamy soil types (clay loam, loam and sandy clay loam, USDA) with different soil water contents. The aim of this communication was to establish a mathematical relationship between the crust water content and its MI. A saturated soil paste was prepared and placed in PVC cylinders (50 mm diameter and 10 mm height) arranged on a plastic tray. Previously the plastic tray was sprayed with a hydrophobic liquid to prevent the adherence of samples. The samples on the plastic tray were left to air-dry under laboratory conditions until their IM was measured. To measure IM, a food texture analyzer was used. The equipment incorporates a mobile arm, a load cell to apply force and a probe. The arm moves down vertically at a constant rate and the cylindrical steel probe (4 mm diameter) penetrates the soil sample vertically at a constant rate. The equipment is provided with software to store data (time, vertical distance and force values) at a rate of up to 500 points per second. Water content in crust soil samples was determined as the loss of weight after oven-drying (105°C). From the results, an exponential regression between MI and the water content was obtained (determination coefficient very close to 1). This methodology allows

  11. 不同程度干扰下人工固沙植被区生物结皮对草本植物生长的影响%Influence of Biological Soil Crust Incurred Different Intensities of Disturbance on Herbal Plants in Artificial Fixed-Dunes Area

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    富远年; 马风云; 刘立超


    通过对沙坡头人工固沙植被区不同类型的生物结皮进行不同程度的人工干扰,对生长在结皮上的两种草本植物雾冰藜和小画眉草的繁衍和生长进行了研究。结果表明:与未受干扰的对照相比,轻度干扰下3种类型生物结皮上雾冰藜的密度、冠幅、高度、根系长度和生物量都有显著增加,重度干扰下3种类型结皮上的雾冰藜生长有所增加,密度则显著下降;轻度干扰下苔藓和藻类苔藓混生结皮上的小画眉草生长有所增加,密度基本未变,藻类结皮上小画眉草密度和生长都无显著变化。重度干扰下苔藓和藻类苔藓混生结皮上的小画眉草生长有所增加,密度和生长量下降。同时分析讨论了两种维管束植物在生物结皮受到干扰时不同表现的机理。%Biological soil crusts exist in a wide variety of environments around the world.It serves as an important biological factor contributing to the sand fixation.Disturbances are also widely existing phenomena in any ecosystem,especially in arid and semiarid areas in our country,where under the pressure of human population,disturbances such as grazing and trampling have important influences on the ecosystem.Our objective was to learn the influences of different disturbances for biological soil crusts on vascular plants by experiments of imitation disturbances set in artificial fixed-dunes area in Shapotou region.The results showed: the density,average crown,height,root length,and biomass of Bassia dasyphylla grown on three types of biological soil crusts increased significantly with the crusts being slightly disturbed.When the crusts were severely disturbed,the growth of Bassia dasyphylla increased moderately,while the density decreased.Under the circumstance of slight disturbance,the density and growth of Eragrostis minor grown on the moss crusts as well as on the the algae-moss crusts increased slightly and its density did not change significantly

  12. Physical characterization, spectral response and remotely sensed mapping of Mediterranean soil surface crusts

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jong, S.M. de; Addink, E.A.; Duijsing, D.; Beek, L.P.H. van


    Soil surface crusting and sealing are frequent but unfavorable processes in Mediterranean areas. Soil crust and seals form on bare soil subject to high-intensity rainfall, resulting in a hard, impenetrable layer that impedes infiltration and hampers the germination and establishment of plants. The a

  13. The role of termites and mulch in the rehabilitation of crusted Sahelian soils.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mando, A.


    During recent decades Sahelian soils have gone through various forms of degradation, the most spectacular one being the extension of bare and crusted soils. Mulch, when placed on a crusted and bare soil, triggers termite activity within a few months. Many burrows are opened through the sealed surfac

  14. Interactive effects of moss-dominated crusts and Artemisia ordosica on wind erosion and soil moisture in Mu Us sandland, China. (United States)

    Yang, Yongsheng; Bu, Chongfeng; Mu, Xingmin; Shao, Hongbo; Zhang, Kankan


    To better understand the effects of biological soil crusts (BSCs) on soil moisture and wind erosion and study the necessity and feasibility of disturbance of BSCs in the Mu Us sandland, the effects of four treatments, including moss-dominated crusts alone, Artemisia ordosica alone, bare sand, and Artemisia ordosica combined with moss-dominated crusts, on rainwater infiltration, soil moisture, and annual wind erosion were observed. The major results are as follows. (1) The development of moss-dominated crusts exacerbated soil moisture consumption and had negative effects on soil moisture in the Mu Us sandland. (2) Moss-dominated crusts significantly increased soil resistance to wind erosion, and when combined with Artemisia ordosica, this effect became more significant. The contribution of moss-dominated crusts under Artemisia ordosica was significantly lower than that of moss-dominated crusts alone in sites where vegetative coverage > 50%. (3) Finally, an appropriate disturbance of moss-dominated crusts in the rainy season in sites with high vegetative coverage improved soil water environment and vegetation succession, but disturbance in sites with little or no vegetative cover should be prohibited to avoid the exacerbation of wind erosion.

  15. Artificial biological soil crust property and potential for rainwater harvest%人工生物土壤结皮特性及其集雨潜力的研究

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    周贵连; 张万军


    It is important to collect limited rainwater for agricultural and domestic use in arid and semiarid areas. Rainwater harvesting systems used for collection, storage and purification of rainwater are critical for rainwater utilization. Materials used in building the surfaces of rainwater harvesting plots determine the efficiency of rainwater harvesting system as they affect the hydrological characteristics of the plot surfaces. This paper discussed the potential and feasibility of artificially cultivated biological soil crusts (BSCs) as surface materials of rainwater harvesting plots. It investigated the effects of artificial BSCs on soil physical properties and infiltration and also on the efficiency of rainwater harvest. The results showed that the surface soil (0~1 cm) with artificial BSCs contained more tiny particles and less coarse particles than natural soil. However, no significant difference was noted in bulk density of 0~5 cm soil between artificial BSCs and natural soil. Infiltration rate decreased under artificial BSCs. Initial and stable infiltration rates as well as stable infiltration water volume of BSCs decreased by 59.1%, 44.4% and 50.0%, respectively. The investigation based on rainwater harvesting plots established on 30° slope loamy soil mountain showed that BSCs rainwater runoff efficiency increased. The average runoff efficiency of BSCs rainwater harvesting plot was 60.86% during six runoff events in May to August 2005. BSCs rainwater harvesting plot increased runoff efficiency over that of natural soil by 23.0%. Benefit analysis showed that BSCs not only increased runoff efficiency, but also longer-lasting with significantly less runoff sediment. BSCs were therefore recommended as potential green materials for rainwater harvest.%为探讨在太行山半干旱区利用人工土壤生物结皮进行集雨的潜力和可行性,以自然生长的生物土壤结皮为种子,通过培育建立人工土壤生物结皮和生物结皮集雨,对人

  16. 生物土壤结皮对准噶尔盆地5种荒漠植物幼苗生长与元素吸收的影响%Effects of biological soil crusts on seedling growth and element uptake in five desert plants in Junggar Basin,western China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张元明; 聂华丽


    生物土壤结皮广泛分布于许多干旱和半干旱地区,它影响土壤物理过程、水文、侵蚀和养分循环过程,从而影响植物种子萌发与生长发育.该文以新疆准噶尔盆地腹地的古尔班通古特沙漠的生物土壤结皮为研究对象,分析了生物土壤结皮对准噶尔盆地5种荒漠植物(白梭梭(Haloxylon persicum)、蛇麻黄(Ephedra distachya)、角果藜(Ceratocarpus arenaarius)、涩芥(Malcolmia africana)和狭果鹤虱(Lappula semiglabra))的生长及其对元素吸收的影响.结果表明:1)相对于裸沙而言,生物土壤结皮显著促进了荒漠植物的生长速率,并增加了草本植物地上和地下的生物量,但对灌木的生物量无显著影响;2)生物土壤结皮使部分一年生草本植物的开花和结实期提前,这可能有利于荒漠植物在有限的环境资源下快速完成生活史.并繁衍后代;3)生物土壤结皮能够影响荒漠植物对土壤中营养元素的吸收,具体表现在生物土壤结皮显著促进了5种植物对N的吸收,增加了荒漠植物在N贫乏的荒漠生态系统的适应能力,而对P和K的吸收均没有影响.生物土壤结皮对荒漠植物对元素吸收的影响因种而异,对不同的植物有不同的影响.荒漠植物对Mg、Mn和Cu的吸收受生物土壤结皮的影响最小.%Aims Biological soil crusts improve soil formation, increase landscape stability and fertility, prevent soil erosion by water or wind, and affect surface hydrological and nutrient cycles.Furthermore, biological soil crusts affect the germination, growth and establishment of vascular plants.The interaction between crusts and vascular plants is controversial, and the importance of biological crusts has not been well analyzed in the Gurbantunggut Desert of western China.Our objective was to examine effects of biological crusts on growth and nutrient uptake in vascular plants of the Gurbantunggut Desert.Methods We conducted manipulation experiments to

  17. Process and Mechanism for the Development of Physical Crusts in Three Typical Chinese Soils

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    BU Chong-Feng; W.J.GALE; CAI Qiang-Guo; WU Shu-Fang


    To compare the development of physical crusts in three typical cultivated soils of China,a black soil (Luvic Phaeozem),a loess soil (Haplic Luvisol),and a purple soil (Calcaric Regosol) were packed in splash plates with covered and uncovered treatments,and exposed to simulated rainfall.Meshes covered above the surfaces of half of soil samples to simulate the effects of crop residue on crusting.The results indicated a progressive breakdown of aggregates on the soil surface as rainfall continued.The bulk density and shear strength on the surface of the three soil types increased logarithmically as rainfall duration increased.During the first 30 min of simulated rainfall,the purple soil developed a 7-8 mm thick crust and the loess soil developed a 3-4 mm thick crust.The black soil developed a distinguishable,but still unstable,crust after 80 min of simulated rainfall.Soil organic matter (SOM) content,the mean weight diameter (MWD) of soil aggregates,and soil clay content were negatively correlated with the rate of crust formation,whereas the percentage of aggregate dispersion (PAD),the exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP),and the silt and sand contents were positively correlated with crusting.Mechanical breakdown caused by raindrop impact was the primary mechanism of crust formation in the black soil with more stable aggregates (MWD 25.0 mm,PAD 3.1%) and higher SOM content (42.6 g kg-1).Slaking and mechanical eluviation were the primary mechanisms of crust formation in the purple soil with low clay content (103 g kg-1),cation exchange capacity (CEC,228 mmol kg-1),ESP (0.60%),and SOM (17.2 g kg-1).Mechanical breakdown and slaking were the most important in the loess soil with low CEC (80.6 mmol kg-1),ESP (1.29%),SOM (9.82 g kg-1),and high PAD (71.7%) and MWD (4.6 mm).Simulated residue cover reduced crust formation in black and loess soils,but increased crust formation in purple soil.

  18. Photosynthetic recovery and acclimation to excess light intensity in the rehydrated lichen soil crusts (United States)

    Wu, Li; Lei, Yaping; Lan, Shubin; Hu, Chunxiang


    As an important successional stage and main type of biological soil crusts (BSCs) in Shapotou region of China (southeastern edge of Tengger Desert), lichen soil crusts (LSCs) often suffer from many stresses, such as desiccation and excess light intensity. In this study, the chlorophyll fluorescence and CO2 exchange in the rehydrated LSCs were detected under a series of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) gradients to study the photosynthetic acclimation of LSCs. The results showed that although desiccation leaded to the loss of photosynthetic activity in LSCs, the fluorescence parameters including Fo, Fv and Fv/Fm of LSCs could be well recovered after rehydration. After the recovery of photosynthetic activity, the effective photosynthetic efficiency ΦPSII detected by Imaging PAM had declined to nearly 0 within both the lichen thallus upper and lower layers when the PAR increased to 200 μE m-2 s-1, however the net photosynthesis detected by the CO2 gas analyzer in the LSCs still appeared when the PAR increased to 1000 μE m-2 s-1. Our results indicate that LSCs acclimating to high PAR, on the one hand is ascribed to the special structure in crust lichens, making the incident light into the lichen thallus be weakened; on the other hand the massive accumulation of photosynthetic pigments in LSCs also provides a protective barrier for the photosynthetic organisms against radiation damage. Furthermore, the excessive light energy absorbed by crust lichens is also possibly dissipated by the increasing non-photochemical quenching, therefore to some extent providing some protection for LSCs. PMID:28257469

  19. Spectroscopic surrogates of soil organic matter resilience in crusted semiarid Mediterranean ecosystems (United States)

    Miralles Mellado, Isabel; Almendros, Gonzalo; Ortega, Raúl; Cantón, Yolanda; Poveda, Francisco; van Wesemael, Bas


    Arid and semiarid ecosystems represent nearly a third of the Earth's total land surface. In these ecosystems, there is a critical balance between C sequestration and biodegradation that could easily be altered due to human disturbance or global change. These ecosystems are widely characterized by the presence of biological soil crusts (BSCs) which play the most important role in the C-cycle in arid and semiarid areas. Consequently, soil organic matter (SOM) characteristics of crusted soil could readily reflect important information on the resilience of SOM in response to any global temperature increase or to inappropriate soil management practices. In this research, representative BSCs and underlying soils were studied in two different semiarid ecosystems in Southern Spain, i.e., Amoladeras (located in Cabo de Gata Natural Park), and El Cautivo (located in Tabernas desert). Chemical fractionation and characterization of the SOM in BSCs and underlying soils were carried out in order to assess not only the total amount of organic C sequestered but mainly the quality of humic-type organic fractions. After isolating the major organic fractions (particulate fraction, humic acid-like (HA), alkali-extracted fulvic acid (FA) and H3PO4-FAs), the macromolecular, HA fraction was purified and studied by derivative visible spectroscopy and resolution-enhanced infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Our results show differences in the structural characteristics of the HA-type substances, interpreted as progressive stages of diagenetic transformation of biomacromolecules. Amoladeras showed higher SOM content, and higher values of HA and HA/FA ratio than El Cautivo, with lower SOM content in BSCs and underlying soils. The latter site accumulates SOM consisting mainly of comparatively less recalcitrant organic fractions with small molecular sizes (H3PO4-FAs and FAs). Moreover HAs in samples from Amoladeras showed higher condensation and aromaticity (higher E4, lower E4/E6 ratio), pointing to

  20. Experimental investigation of the early interaction between cyanobacterial soil crusts and vascular plants (United States)

    Klemens Zaplata, Markus; Veste, Maik; Pohle, Ina; Schümberg, Sabine; Abreu Schonert, Iballa; Hinz, Christoph


    While there are hints that biological soil crusts (BSCs) can constitute physical barriers for the emergence of vascular plants, a conceptual approach for the quantitative evaluation of these effects is still missing. Here we present an experimental design to test the emergence of seedlings in situ with (i) capping natural intact, (ii) destroyed and (iii) removed BSC. The selected field site is directly adjacent to the constructed Hühnerwasser catchment (Lusatia, Germany). This site exists since the end of 2008 and consists of loamy sand. Serving as proxy for seedling thrust, we inserted pre-germinated seeds of three confamiliar plant species with different seed masses (members of the Fabaceae family: Lotus corniculatus L., Ornithopus sativus Brot., and Glycine max (L.) Merr.). In each treatment as well as in the control group planting depths were 10 mm. We took care that experimental plots had identical crust thickness, slightly less than 4 mm, serving as proxy for mechanical resistance. A plot became established as follows: Firstly, the pristine crusted surface was vertically cut. To the windward side the BSC remained intact (i: "with BSC" stripe). To the downwind side soil material was temporarily excavated for laterally inserting the seeds beneath the surface of the first stripe. Then at the thereby disturbed second stripe pulverised BSC material became filled as a top layer (ii: "BSC mix" stripe). From the next stripe the BSC was removed (iii: "no BSC" stripe). Thus each plot had each experimental group in spatial contiguity (within 50 cm × 50 cm). The overall 50 plots were distributed across an area of 40 m × 12 m. When individuals of a species either emerged at all stripes, "× × ×", or at no stripe of a plot, "- - -", there was no reason to suppose any effect of a crust. The "- × ×" emergence pattern (depicting the appearance of seedlings in both stripes possessing manipulated surfaces) points towards hindrance more clearly than "- × -" or "- -

  1. Effects of Biological Soil Crusts on Seed Emergence and Seedling Growth in Loess Plateau,North Shaanxi Province%黄土高原土壤生物结皮对植物种子出苗和生长的影响

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王蕊; 朱清科; 赵磊磊; 常存; 马浩


    Biological soil crusts are prevalent in arid and semiarid regions,they are the complex mixtures of cyanobacteria,green algae,phycolichens,mosses,liverworts,fungi and bacteria.In order to understand the effect of biological soil crusts(BSCs) on seed emergence and seedling growth in loess region,we conducted field surveys and studied the impact of intact crusts,broken crusts and soil on seed emergence of 4 plant species including Pinus tabulaeformis,Caragana korshinskii,Hippophae rhamnoides and Pyrus betulifolia based on the field emergence experiment in Wuqi County,Shaanxi Province during the period from July to August 2009.The results reveal that the vegetation coverage was reduced significantly with the increase of BSCs coverage and thickness(P0.01),and vegetation types were in an increase trend(P0.05).Seed emergence rate and emergence process were affected by plant species and crust types(intact crusts,broken crusts and soil)(P0.01),and the interaction between the two affected slightly the seedling emergence(P0.05),but affected significantly the emergence process(P0.01).The seed emergence rate under broken BSCs was higher than that under intact BSCs,but there was no significant difference with soil.Broken BSCs could increase plant biomass and root-shoot ratio of plants,but intact BSCs affected the plant biomass and root-shoot ratio depending on the types of seed.%为了解生物土壤结皮对植物种子萌发出苗和植物生长的影响,于2009年7~8月在陕西省吴起县进行野外调查,对油松(Pinus tabulaeformis)、柠条(Caragana korshinskii)、沙棘(Hippophae rhamnoides)和杜梨(Pyrus betulae-folia)种子进行萌发实验,研究生物结皮与植被之间的相互关系以及完整结皮、破碎结皮和覆土处理对这4种种子出苗和生长的影响。结果表明:随着生物结皮盖度和厚度的增加,植被盖度和数量显著减少(P〈0.01),植被种类有增加的趋势(P〉0

  2. Biotic soil crusts in relation to topography, cheatgrass, and fire in the Columbia Basin, Washington (United States)

    Ponzetti, Jeanne; McCune, B.; Pyke, David A.


    We studied lichen and bryophyte soil crust communities in a large public grazing allotment within a sagebrush steppe ecosystem in which the biotic soil crusts are largely intact. The allotment had been rested from grazing for 12 years, but experienced an extensive series of wildfires. In the 350, 4 ?? 0.5 m plots, stratified by topographic position, we found 60 species or species groups that can be distinguished in the field with a hand lens, averaging 11.5 species groups per plot. Lichen and bryophyte soil crust communities differed among topographic positions. Draws were the most disturbed, apparently from water erosion in a narrow channel and mass wasting from the steepened sides. Presumably because of this disturbance, draws had the lowest average species richness of all the topographic strata we examined. Biotic crust species richness and cover were inversely related to cover of the invasive annual, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), and positively related to cover of native bunchgrasses. Integrity of the biotic crust was more strongly related to cheatgrass than to fire. In general, we observed good recovery of crusts following fire, but only in those areas dominated by perennial bunchgrasses. We interpret the resilience of the biotic crust, in this case, to the low abundance of cheatgrass, low amounts of soil disturbance and high moss cover. These fires have not resulted in an explosion of the cheatgrass population, perhaps because of the historically low levels of livestock grazing.

  3. Structural soil crust development from raindrop impacts using two-dimensional discrete element method (United States)

    Yeom, Seungcheol; Sjoblom, Kurt


    The mechanical nature of crust formation as a result of raindrop impacts was simulated within a discrete element modeling environment. Simulations were conducted in two-dimensions (2D) using both linear and non-linear elastic contact models. The 2D approach was found to minimize the computational effort required and maximize the number of particles in the soil profile. For the non-linear model, the effect of the coefficient of restitution (COR) for soil-rain and soil-soil was investigated. Finally, the comparison between the linear and nonlinear elastic contact model was presented. The simulation indicated that the COR for rain-soil had negligible effect on the crust development but the computational time was exponentially increased with increasing coefficient value. In contrast, the COR for soil-soil had a dominant influence on the crust development. To validate the numerical results, a micro computerized tomography (microCT) technique was applied to characterize the changes in pore structure to a USCS SP soil after exposure under a rainfall simulator. Additionally, the effect of cyclic wetting and drying (without rainfall) on the changes in porosity was investigated. The experimental results showed that the rainfall simulator sufficiently densified the soil but the effect of cyclic wetting and drying was negligible. The numerical simulations showed similar changes in porosity along the depth of the soil profile as compared with the experimental results thus validating the DEM technique to simulate crust development.

  4. Compartmentalization of gypsum and halite associated with cyanobacteria in saline soil crusts. (United States)

    Canfora, Loredana; Vendramin, Elisa; Vittori Antisari, Livia; Lo Papa, Giuseppe; Dazzi, Carmelo; Benedetti, Anna; Iavazzo, Pietro; Adamo, Paola; Jungblut, Anne D; Pinzari, Flavia


    The interface between biological and geochemical components in the surface crust of a saline soil was investigated using X-ray diffraction, and variable pressure scanning electron microscopy in combination with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry. Mineral compounds such as halite and gypsum were identified crystallized around filaments of cyanobacteria. A total of 92 genera were identified from the bacterial community based on 16S gene pyrosequencing analysis. The occurrence of the gypsum crystals, their shapes and compartmentalization suggested that they separated NaCl from the immediate microenvironment of the cyanobacteria, and that some cyanobacteria and communities of sulfur bacteria may had a physical control over the distinctive halite and gypsum structures produced. This suggests that cyanobacteria might directly or indirectly promote the formation of a protective envelope made of calcium and sulfur-based compounds.

  5. Acclimation of microorganisms to harsh soil crust conditions: Experimental and genomic approaches (United States)

    Raanan, Hagai; Kaplan, Aaron


    Biological soil crusts (BSC) are formed by the adhesion of sand particles to cyanobacterial exo- polysaccharides and play an important role in stabilizing sandy desert. Its destruction promotes desertification. These organisms cope with extreme temperatures, excess light and frequent hydration/dehydration cycles; the mechanisms involved are largely unknown. With the genome of newly sequenced Leptolyngbya, isolated from Nizzana BSC, we conduct comparative genomics of three desiccation tolerant cyanobacteria. This yield 46 unique genes, some of them similar to genes involve in sporulation of the gram positive bacteria Bacillus. In order to understand the molecular mechanisms taking place during desiccation we built an environmental chamber capable of simulating dynamic changes of environmental conditions in the crust. This chamber allows us to perform repetitive and accurate desiccation/rehydration experiments and follow cyanobacterial physiological and molecular response to such environmental changes. When we compared fast desiccation (less than 5 min) of isolated cyanobacteria to simulation of natural desiccation, we observed a 60% lower fluorescence recovery rate. The extent of damage from desiccation depended on the stress conditions during the dry period. These results suggest that cyanobacteria activated protection mechanisms in response to desiccation stress but which were not activated in 5 min desiccation tests. Gene expression patterns during desiccation are being analyzed in order to provide a better understanding of desiccation stress protection mechanisms.

  6. Termite- and mulch-mediated rehabilitation of vegetation on crusted soil in West Africa

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mando, A.; Brussaard, L.; Stroosnijder, L.


    The rehabilitation of vegetation on structurally crusted soils by triggering termite activity through mulch was studied on three soil types in northern Burkina Faso, West Africa. A split-plot design was used in a fenced environment for the experiment. Insecticide (Dieldrin) was used at a rate of 500

  7. Nitrogenase activity of biological soil crusts and its response to hydrothermic factors in the Shapotou region of northern China%沙坡头地区生物土壤结皮的固氮活性及其对水热因子的响应

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张鹏; 李新荣; 贾荣亮; 胡宜刚; 黄磊


    Aims In arid and semi-arid environments such as deserts, nitrogen is often the most limiting nutrient for biological activity. Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are an important component of vegetation in the Shapotou region in the Tengger Desert, northern China. However, their importance as contributors to soil fertility such as nitrogen fixation is relatively unknown. This study was conducted to quantify the potential nitrogenase activity (NA) of different types of BSCs in artificial vegetation areas, as well as their responses to variation in moisture and temperature.Methods Algae crust, lichen crust and moss crust were collected from an artificial vegetation area in the Shapotou region, and were incubated under three gradients of moisture (3, 5 and 10 mm simulated rainfall) and temperature in open-top growth chambers from June to October. The NA was measured using acetylene reduction assay. One-way ANOVA and general linear models (GLM) procedure were applied to compare NA between treatments and interactions between type of BSCs, water and temperature.Important findings NA for each type of BSC was highly variable, ranging from 2.5 × 103 to 6.2 × 104 nmol C2H4·m-2·h-1. The NA of algae crust was higher than that of lichen crust and moss crust (2.8 vs. 2.4 and 1.4 × 104 nmol C2H4·m-2·-1, respectively). The three types of BSCs under the 3 mm simulated rainfall reached the maximum rate of nitrogen fixation, but > 3 mm did not affect NA. Significant negative correlation was observed between NA of all three types of BSCs and temperature. The optimal temperature for NA in algae crust, moss crust and lichen crust were 25-30 ℃, 25-30 ℃ and 20-30 ℃, respectively.%氮是除水分之外影响干旱区生态系统生物活性的关键因子.生物土壤结皮是干旱半干旱荒漠地表景观的重要组成部分,也是荒漠生态系统氮素的主要贡献者.通过野外调查采样,利用开顶式生长室,模拟不同降水梯度,采用乙炔还原法连续

  8. Importance of Biological Loess Crusts for Loess Formation in Semi-Arid Environments (United States)

    Svirčev, Z.; Marković, S. B.; Stevens, T.; Smalley, I. J.; Hambach, U.; Obreht, I.; Lukić, T.; Vasiljević, Dj. A.


    The essential components for loess deposition are: material, atmospheric circulation and appropriate surface conditions for the trapping of aeolian material as well as the subsequent development of typical loess sedimentary structures. In spite of the world-wide distribution of loess deposits, knowledge of the processes of transformation from accumulated dust to mature loess sediment is still inadequate. Some recent studies highlight the potential importance of biologically crusted surfaces (BCS) in loess formation. BCS are highly specialized extremophile communities and generally play an important role in atmospheric dust trapping and erosion prevention. Our initial results indicate that cyanobacterial strains isolated from loess exhibit some specific morphological and ecophysiological characteristics that play a key role in loess formation, warranting adoption of the new term biological loess crusts (BLC). We suggest that loessification is heavily influenced by the metabolic activity of BLC microorganisms mainly through polysaccharides. The sticky polysaccharide glue on the topographic surface, exuded mostly by cyanobacteria, can trap silty particles suspended in a dusty atmosphere. This collection of airborne loess forming particles is part of the life strategy of crust organisms in so far as they provide the necessary minerals for further growth of the BLC, which in turn provides protection from desiccation during dry periods. Simultaneously, polysaccharides secreted by crust organisms bind particles inside the BLC zone, forming a cohesive crust that resists both wind and water erosion during dry periods. Metabolized particles, exuded metabolites and unused airborne particles become the uppermost loess sediment covered with BLC. During moist periods, accumulation of dust and loess forming particles is very active. During the dry phases, the BLC becomes very stable and develops a resistant surface preventing wind and water erosion. The drying period induces

  9. Microbial exopolysaccharides as determinants of geomorphological, hydrological and optical properties of soil crusts from the Precambrian till today (United States)

    Garcia-Pichel, F.


    The presence of microbial extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) in the soil solution and/or in association with particular microbial types can impart novel properties to biological soil crust (BSC), and hence to soil surfaces. For the most part these properties are of a geobiological relevance that exceeds what one could surmise from its relatively low specific mass content. I will review some examples that range from the mundane to the unexpected. EPS associated with filamentous cyanobacteria can effectively and in the long term stabilize the soil surface against erosive forces, even after the microbes are long gone. Electrostatic interactions between EPS and blowing dust may help retain dust particles, enriching the soil with new nutrient sources. In a telltale sign of BSC presence, EPS is the agent that allows sandy soils to fold and curl-up, to form pee-tee's and elephant-skin surfaces, and to crack into polygons like clays would. EPS in large quantities in flat crusts can retain fluids (both liquid and gaseous) resulting in the alteration of hydrological flow and in the formation of internal vesicular horizons, gas bubbles, pock-marked surfaces and other characteristic structures. Yet, in some settings, EPS plays an architectural role in creating a "spongy" texture that increases hydraulic conductivity. This architectural role can indirectly result in significant increases of a crust's albedo. While the diversity of consequences of EPS presence is far from understood, evidence for its sustained role through Earth's history can be found in the form of sedimentary bio-signatures as far back as the Proterozoic.

  10. Potential fate of SOC eroded from natural crusted soil surface under simulated wind driven storm (United States)

    Xiao, Liangang; Fister, Wolfgang; Greenwood, Philip; Hu, Yaxian; Kuhn, Nikolaus J.


    Improving the assessment of the impact of soil erosion on carbon (C) cycling requires a better understanding of the redistribution of eroded sediment and associated soil organic carbon (SOC) across agricultural landscapes. Recent studies conducted on dry-sieved aggregates in the laboratory demonstrated that aggregation can profoundly skew SOC redistribution and its subsequent fate by accelerating settling velocities of aggregated sediment compared to mineral grains, which in turn can increase SOC mineralization into greenhouse gases. However, the erodibility of the soil in the field is more variable than in the laboratory due to tillage, crus formation, drying-wetting and freeze-thaw cycles, and biological effects. This study aimed to investigate the potential fate of the SOC eroded from naturally developed soil surface and to compare the observations with those made in the laboratory. Simulated, short, high intensity wind driven storms were conducted on a crusted loam in the field. The sediments were fractionated with a settling tube according to their potential transport distances. The soil mass, SOC concentration and cumulative 80-day CO2 emission of each fraction were identified. The results show: 1) 53% of eroded sediment and 62% of eroded SOC from the natural surface in the field would be deposited across landscapes, which is six times and three times higher compared to that implied by mineral grains, respectively; 2) the preferential deposition of SOC-rich fast-settling sediment potentially releases approximately 50% more CO2 than the same layer of the non-eroded soil; 3) the respiration of the slow-settling fraction that is potentially transported to the aquatic systems was much more active compared to the other fractions and the bulk soil. Our results confirm in general the conclusions drawn from laboratory and thus demonstrate that aggregation can affect the redistribution of sediment associated SOC under field conditions, including an increase in

  11. Investigating the influence of crust and seal development on soil erosion using portable rainfall simulators (United States)

    Neave, Melissa; Rayburg, Scott


    Rainfall simulators provide researchers with a means of controlling the rate of rainfall delivery to a soil surface, thereby eliminating the problem of having to account for the inherent variability and unpredictability of natural rainfall. Although there can be difficulties associated with their application, particularly surrounding the choice of appropriate rainfall intensities and durations, rainfall simulators represent a valuable tool in soil erosion studies and have been widely used to improve our understanding of hillslope runoff and erosion processes. In the present work, portable rainfall simulators were used to examine the progressive development of soil crusts and seals and to consider their influence on sediment yields from paired small plots in southern New Mexico, USA and central New South Wales, Australia. Study results identify that raindrop impacts play an important role in the system of seal and crust development in these environments, with structural crusts (or those formed on surfaces exposed to raindrops) being approximately 40% stronger than depositional crusts (or those formed on surfaces protected from the direct impact of raindrops). In addition, the strength of the depositional crusts reached a plateau after two rainfall events whereas the structural crusts continued to strengthen for at least three rainfall events and, somewhat surprisingly, the development of crusts did not appear to directly reflect seal development. With respect to the influence of crusts and seals on erosion, study results indicate that sediment yields from covered surfaces exceeded those from uncovered surfaces, suggesting that, at this level, the system of erosion is supply-limited and dependent on raindrops dislodging and transporting source soil particles. Materials such as litter and stones lying on the ground surface, however, can confuse this relationship such that both supply-limited and transport capacity-limited controls on erosion become important. Thus

  12. Spectra and vegetation index variations in moss soil crust in different seasons, and in wet and dry conditions (United States)

    Fang, Shibo; Yu, Weiguo; Qi, Yue


    Similar to vascular plants, non-vascular plant mosses have different periods of seasonal growth. There has been little research on the spectral variations of moss soil crust (MSC) over different growth periods. Few studies have paid attention to the difference in spectral characteristics between wet MSC that is photosynthesizing and dry MSC in suspended metabolism. The dissimilarity of MSC spectra in wet and dry conditions during different seasons needs further investigation. In this study, the spectral reflectance of wet MSC, dry MSC and the dominant vascular plant (Artemisia) were characterized in situ during the summer (July) and autumn (September). The variations in the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), biological soil crust index (BSCI) and CI (crust index) in different seasons and under different soil moisture conditions were also analyzed. It was found that (1) the spectral characteristics of both wet and dry MSCs varied seasonally; (2) the spectral features of wet MSC appear similar to those of the vascular plant, Artemisia, whether in summer or autumn; (3) both in summer and in autumn, much higher NDVI values were acquired for wet than for dry MSC (0.6 ∼ 0.7 vs. 0.3 ∼ 0.4 units), which may lead to misinterpretation of vegetation dynamics in the presence of MSC and with the variations in rainfall occurring in arid and semi-arid zones; and (4) the BSCI and CI values of wet MSC were close to that of Artemisia in both summer and autumn, indicating that BSCI and CI could barely differentiate between the wet MSC and Artemisia.

  13. Anaerobic Fungi: A Potential Source of Biological H2 in the Oceanic Crust (United States)

    Ivarsson, Magnus; Schnürer, Anna; Bengtson, Stefan; Neubeck, Anna


    The recent recognition of fungi in the oceanic igneous crust challenges the understanding of this environment as being exclusively prokaryotic and forces reconsiderations of the ecology of the deep biosphere. Anoxic provinces in the igneous crust are abundant and increase with age and depth of the crust. The presence of anaerobic fungi in deep-sea sediments and on the seafloor introduces a type of organism with attributes of geobiological significance not previously accounted for. Anaerobic fungi are best known from the rumen of herbivores where they produce molecular hydrogen, which in turn stimulates the growth of methanogens. The symbiotic cooperation between anaerobic fungi and methanogens in the rumen enhance the metabolic rate and growth of both. Methanogens and other hydrogen-consuming anaerobic archaea are known from subseafloor basalt; however, the abiotic production of hydrogen is questioned to be sufficient to support such communities. Alternatively, biologically produced hydrogen could serve as a continuous source. Here, we propose anaerobic fungi as a source of bioavailable hydrogen in the oceanic crust, and a close interplay between anaerobic fungi and hydrogen-driven prokaryotes. PMID:27433154

  14. Untangling the biological contributions to soil stability in semiarid shrublands (United States)

    Chaudhary, V. Bala; Bowker, Matthew A.; O'Dell, Thomas E.; Grace, James B.; Redman, Andrea E.; Rillig, Matthias C.; Johnson, Nancy C.


    Communities of plants, biological soil crusts (BSCs), and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are known to influence soil stability individually, but their relative contributions, interactions, and combined effects are not well understood, particularly in arid and semiarid ecosystems. In a landscape-scale field study we quantified plant, BSC, and AM fungal communities at 216 locations along a gradient of soil stability levels in southern Utah, USA. We used multivariate modeling to examine the relative influences of plants, BSCs, and AM fungi on surface and subsurface stability in a semiarid shrubland landscape. Models were found to be congruent with the data and explained 35% of the variation in surface stability and 54% of the variation in subsurface stability. The results support several tentative conclusions. While BSCs, plants, and AM fungi all contribute to surface stability, only plants and AM fungi contribute to subsurface stability. In both surface and subsurface models, the strongest contributions to soil stability are made by biological components of the system. Biological soil crust cover was found to have the strongest direct effect on surface soil stability (0.60; controlling for other factors). Surprisingly, AM fungi appeared to influence surface soil stability (0.37), even though they are not generally considered to exist in the top few millimeters of the soil. In the subsurface model, plant cover appeared to have the strongest direct influence on soil stability (0.42); in both models, results indicate that plant cover influences soil stability both directly (controlling for other factors) and indirectly through influences on other organisms. Soil organic matter was not found to have a direct contribution to surface or subsurface stability in this system. The relative influence of AM fungi on soil stability in these semiarid shrublands was similar to that reported for a mesic tallgrass prairie. Estimates of effects that BSCs, plants, and AM fungi have

  15. Response of Surface Soil Hydrology to the Micro-Pattern of Bio-Crust in a Dry-Land Loess Environment, China. (United States)

    Wei, Wei; Yu, Yun; Chen, Liding


    The specific bio-species and their spatial patterns play crucial roles in regulating eco-hydrologic process, which is significant for large-scale habitat promotion and vegetation restoration in many dry-land ecosystems. Such effects, however, are not yet fully studied. In this study, 12 micro-plots, each with size of 0.5 m in depth and 1 m in length, were constructed on a gentle grassy hill-slope with a mean gradient of 8° in a semiarid loess hilly area of China. Two major bio-crusts, including mosses and lichens, had been cultivated for two years prior to the field simulation experiments, while physical crusts and non-crusted bare soils were used for comparison. By using rainfall simulation method, four designed micro-patterns (i.e., upper bio-crust and lower bare soil, scattered bio-crust, upper bare soil and lower bio-crust, fully-covered bio-crust) to the soil hydrological response were analyzed. We found that soil surface bio-crusts were more efficient in improving soil structure, water holding capacity and runoff retention particularly at surface 10 cm layers, compared with physical soil crusts and non-crusted bare soils. We re-confirmed that mosses functioned better than lichens, partly due to their higher successional stage and deeper biomass accumulation. Physical crusts were least efficient in water conservation and erosion control, followed by non-crusted bare soils. More importantly, there were marked differences in the efficiency of the different spatial arrangements of bio-crusts in controlling runoff and sediment generation. Fully-covered bio-crust pattern provides the best option for soil loss reduction and runoff retention, while a combination of upper bio-crust and lower bare soil pattern is the least one. These findings are suggested to be significant for surface-cover protection, rainwater infiltration, runoff retention, and erosion control in water-restricted and degraded natural slopes.

  16. The biological and physical role of mulch in the rehabilitation of custed soil in the Sahel

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mando, A.; Stroosnijder, L.


    During three consecutive years (1993–1995) a split-plot design with three replications was used to study the biological and physical role of mulch in the improvement of crusted soil water balance and its productivity in the north of Burkina Faso. The main treatment was the use of an insecticide, to

  17. Soil degradation effect on biological activity in Mediterranean calcareous soils (United States)

    Roca-Pérez, L.; Alcover-Sáez, S.; Mormeneo, S.; Boluda, R.


    Soil degradation processes include erosion, organic matter decline, compaction, salinization, landslides, contamination, sealing and biodiversity decline. In the Mediterranean region the climatological and lithological conditions, together with relief on the landscape and anthropological activity are responsible for increasing desertification process. It is therefore considered to be extreme importance to be able to measure soil degradation quantitatively. We studied soil characteristics, microbiological and biochemical parameters in different calcareous soil sequences from Valencia Community (Easter Spain), in an attempt to assess the suitability of the parameters measured to reflect the state of soil degradation and the possibility of using the parameters to assess microbiological decline and soil quality. For this purpose, forest, scrubland and agricultural soil in three soil sequences were sampled in different areas. Several sensors of the soil biochemistry and microbiology related with total organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon, soil respiration, microorganism number and enzyme activities were determined. The results show that, except microorganism number, these parameters are good indicators of a soil biological activity and soil quality. The best enzymatic activities to use like indicators were phosphatases, esterases, amino-peptidases. Thus, the enzymes test can be used as indicators of soil degradation when this degradation is related with organic matter losses. There was a statistically significant difference in cumulative O2 uptake and extracellular enzymes among the soils with different degree of degradation. We would like to thank Spanish government-MICINN for funding and support (MICINN, project CGL2006-09776).

  18. Dynamic effects of wet-dry cycles and crust formation on the saturated hydraulic conductivity of surface soils in the constructed Hühnerwasser ("Chicken Creek") catchment (United States)

    Hinz, Christoph; Schümberg, Sabine; Kubitz, Anita; Frank, Franzi; Cheng, Zhang; Nanu Frechen, Tobias; Pohle, Ina


    Highly disturbed soils and substrates used in land rehabilitation undergo rapid changes after the first wetting events which in turn can lead to ecosystem degradation. Such changes were detected during the early development of the constructed Hühnerwasser ("Chicken Creek") catchment in Lusatia, Germany. Surface substrates consisting of quaternary sandy sediments formed surface seals during the first rainfall events leading to reduced infiltration and substantially increased surface runoff. Subsequently biological soil crusts formed and stabilised the surface. The aim of this study is to investigate the factors that cause the hydraulic conductivity to decrease using undisturbed and disturbed soil samples. Based on the hypothesis that physical and biological crusts lower the hydraulic conductivity, the first set of experiments with undisturbed soil cores from the Hühnerwasser catchment were carried out to measure the saturated hydraulic conductivity using the constant head method. Measurements were done with intact cores and repeated after the surface crust was removed. As the quaternary glacial sediments tend to display hard setting behaviour, we further hypothesised that the mobilisation of fine particles within the cores lead to pore clogging and that wet-dry cycles will therefore decrease hydraulic conductivity. A second set of experiments using the same methodology consisted of five repeated measurements of hydraulic conductivity after each drying cycle. These measurements were done with undisturbed core samples as well as repacked cores in order to assess how dry packing affects the dynamics of the hydraulic conductivity somewhat similar to the situation during the first wetting after completion of the catchment construction. For all experiments, the temporal evolution of hydraulic conductivity was measured and the turbidity of the effluent was recorded. The results clearly demonstrated that the substrate is highly unstable. The first set of experiments

  19. Effect of rainfall and tillage direction on the evolution of surface crusts, soil hydraulic properties and runoff generation for a sandy loam soil (United States)

    Ndiaye, Babacar; Esteves, Michel; Vandervaere, Jean-Pierre; Lapetite, Jean-Marc; Vauclin, Michel


    The study was aimed at evaluating the effect of rainfall and tillage-induced soil surface characteristics on infiltration and runoff on a 2.8 ha catchment located in the central region of Senegal. This was done by simulating 30 min rain storms applied at a constant rate of about 70 mm h -1, on 10 runoff micro-plots of 1 m 2, five being freshly harrowed perpendicularly to the slope and five along the slope (1%) of the catchment. Runoff was automatically recorded at the outlet of each plot. Hydraulic properties such as capillary sorptivity and hydraulic conductivity of the sandy loam soil close to saturation were determined by running 48 infiltration tests with a tension disc infiltrometer. That allowed the calculation of a mean characteristic pore size hydraulically active and a time to ponding. Superficial water storage capacity was estimated using data collected with an electronic relief meter. Because the soil was subject to surface crusting, crust-types as well as their spatial distribution within micro-plots and their evolution with time were identified and monitored by taking photographs at different times after tillage. The results showed that the surface crust-types as well as their tillage dependent dynamics greatly explain the decrease of hydraulic conductivity and sorptivity as the cumulative rainfall since tillage increases. The exponential decaying rates were found to be significantly greater for the soil harrowed along the slope (where the runoff crust-type covers more than 60% of the surface after 140 mm of rain) than across to the slope (where crusts are mainly of structural (60%) and erosion (40%) types). That makes ponding time smaller and runoff more important. Also it was shown that soil hydraulic properties after about 160 mm of rain were close to those of untilled plot not submitted to any rain. That indicates that the effects of tillage are short lived.

  20. Microbiotic crusts on soil, rock and plants: neglected major players in the global cycles of carbon and nitrogen? (United States)

    Elbert, W.; Weber, B.; Büdel, B.; Andreae, M. O.; Pöschl, U.


    Microbiotic crusts consisting of bacteria, fungi, algae, lichens, and bryophytes colonize most terrestrial surfaces, and they are able to fix carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere. Here we show that microbiotic crusts are likely to play major roles in the global biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen, and we suggest that they should be further characterized and taken into account in studies and models of the Earth system and climate. For the global annual net uptake of carbon by microbiotic crusts we present a first estimate of ~3.6 Pg a-1. This uptake corresponds to ~6% of the estimated global net carbon uptake by terrestrial vegetation (net primary production, NPP: ~60 Pg a-1), and it is of the same magnitude as the global annual carbon turnover due to biomass burning. The estimated rate of nitrogen fixation by microbiotic crusts (~45 Tg a-1) amounts to ~40% of the global estimate of biological nitrogen fixation (107 Tg a-1). With regard to Earth system dynamics and global change, the large contribution of microbiotic crusts to nitrogen fixation is likely to be important also for the sequestration of CO2 by terrestrial plants (CO2 fertilization), because the latter is constrained by the availability of fixed nitrogen.

  1. Microbiotic crusts on soil, rock and plants: neglected major players in the global cycles of carbon and nitrogen?

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    W. Elbert


    Full Text Available Microbiotic crusts consisting of bacteria, fungi, algae, lichens, and bryophytes colonize most terrestrial surfaces, and they are able to fix carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere. Here we show that microbiotic crusts are likely to play major roles in the global biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen, and we suggest that they should be further characterized and taken into account in studies and models of the Earth system and climate.

    For the global annual net uptake of carbon by microbiotic crusts we present a first estimate of ~3.6 Pg a−1. This uptake corresponds to ~6% of the estimated global net carbon uptake by terrestrial vegetation (net primary production, NPP: ~60 Pg a−1, and it is of the same magnitude as the global annual carbon turnover due to biomass burning. The estimated rate of nitrogen fixation by microbiotic crusts (~45 Tg a−1 amounts to ~40% of the global estimate of biological nitrogen fixation (107 Tg a−1. With regard to Earth system dynamics and global change, the large contribution of microbiotic crusts to nitrogen fixation is likely to be important also for the sequestration of CO2 by terrestrial plants (CO2 fertilization, because the latter is constrained by the availability of fixed nitrogen.

  2. Understanding and Enhancing Soil Biological Health: The Solution for Reversing Soil Degradation


    R Michael Lehman; Cynthia A. Cambardella; Diane E. Stott; Veronica Acosta-Martinez; Manter, Daniel K.; Jeffrey S. Buyer; Jude E. Maul; Smith, Jeffrey L.; Harold P. Collins; Jonathan J. Halvorson; Kremer, Robert J.; Jonathan G. Lundgren; Tom F. Ducey; Jin, Virginia L.; Douglas L. Karlen


    Our objective is to provide an optimistic strategy for reversing soil degradation by increasing public and private research efforts to understand the role of soil biology, particularly microbiology, on the health of our world’s soils. We begin by defining soil quality/soil health (which we consider to be interchangeable terms), characterizing healthy soil resources, and relating the significance of soil health to agroecosystems and their functions. We examine how soil biology influences soil ...

  3. Biologically-initiated rock crust on sandstone: Mechanical and hydraulic properties and resistance to erosion (United States)

    Slavík, Martin; Bruthans, Jiří; Filippi, Michal; Schweigstillová, Jana; Falteisek, Lukáš; Řihošek, Jaroslav


    Biocolonization on sandstone surfaces is known to play an important role in rock disintegration, yet it sometimes also aids in the protection of the underlying materials from rapid erosion. There have been few studies comparing the mechanical and/or hydraulic properties of the BIRC (Biologically-Initiated Rock Crust) with its subsurface. As a result, the overall effects of the BIRC are not yet well understood. The objective of the present study was to briefly characterize the BIRC from both the mineralogical and biological points of view, and especially to quantify the effect of the BIRC upon the mechanical and hydraulic properties of friable sandstone. The mineralogical investigation of a well-developed BIRC showed that its surface is enriched in kaolinite and clay- to silt-sized quartz particles. Total organic carbon increases with the age of the BIRC. Based on DNA sequencing and microscopy, the BIRC is formed by various fungi, including components of lichens and green algae. Using the method of drilling resistance, by measuring tensile strength, and based on water jet testing, it was determined that a BIRC is up to 12 times less erodible and has 3-35 times higher tensile strength than the subsurface friable sandstone. Saturated hydraulic conductivity of the studied BIRC is 15-300 times lower than the subsurface, and was measured to also decrease in capillary water absorption (2-33 times). Water-vapor diffusion is not significantly influenced by the presence of the BIRC. The BIRC thus forms a hardened surface which protects the underlying material from rain and flowing water erosion, and considerably modifies the sandstone's hydraulic properties. Exposing the material to calcination (550 °C), and experiments with the enzyme zymolyase indicated that a major contribution to the surface hardening is provided by organic matter. In firmer sandstones, the BIRC may still considerably decrease the rate of weathering, as it is capable of providing cohesion to strongly

  4. Distribution and floristics of moss- and lichen-dominated soil crusts in a patterned Callitris glaucophylla woodland in eastern Australia (United States)

    Eldridge, David J.


    The distribution and abundance of soil crust lichens and bryophytes was examined in a patterned Callitris glaucophylla woodland in eastern Australia. Twenty-one lichen species and 26 bryophyte species were collected within thirty quadrats along a sequence of runoff, interception and runoff zones. Crust cover was significantly greatest in the interception zones (79.0 %), followed by the runoff zones (24.0 %), and lowest in the groved, runon zones (6.6 %). Lichens and bryophytes were distributed across all geomorphic zones, and, although there were significantly more moss species in the interception zones (mean = 9.1) compared with either the runoff (4.2) or runon (3.2) zones, the number of lichen species did not vary between zones. Ordination of a reduced data set of 32 species revealed a separation of taxa into distinct groups corresponding to the three geomorphic zones. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) of the 32 species and thirteen environmental variables revealed that the most important factors associated with the distribution of species were sheet and scarp erosion, soil stability and coherence, litter cover and crust cover. Surface cracking, microtopography and plant cover were of intermediate importance. The CCA biplot revealed that the timbered runon zones (groves) were dominated by `shade-tolerant' mosses Fissidens vittatus and Barbula hornschuchiana, whilst the heavily eroded runoff zones supported sparse populations of `erosion tolerant' lichens ( Endocarpon rogersii) and mosses (Bryum argenteum and Didymodon torquatus). Interception zones supported a rich suite of `crust forming' mosses and lichens capable of tolerating moderate inundation by overland flow. Two other groups of taxa were identified by this analysis: the `pioneer' group, comprising mainly nitrogen-fixing lichens which occupy the zone of active erosion at the lower edge of the groves, and the `opportunists' dominated by liverworts, occupying the shallow depressions or bays at the

  5. On the biology and evolution of fungi from soda soils

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grum-Grzhimaylo, A.


    Summary to the thesis “On the biology and evolution of fungi from soda soils” Alexey Grum-Grzhimaylo The presented thesis addresses aspects of biology and evolution of fungi that were recovered from saline soda soils. The work highlights the fact that saline soda soils are populated by a

  6. Biological indicators of soil quality and soil organic matter characteristics in an agricultural management continuum (United States)

    Relationships among biological indicators of soil quality and soil organic matter characteristics in a claypan soil were evaluated across a continuum of long-term agricultural practices in Missouri, USA. In addition to chemical and physical soil quality indicators, dehydrogenase and phenol oxidase a...

  7. Understanding and Enhancing Soil Biological Health: The Solution for Reversing Soil Degradation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Michael Lehman


    Full Text Available Our objective is to provide an optimistic strategy for reversing soil degradation by increasing public and private research efforts to understand the role of soil biology, particularly microbiology, on the health of our world’s soils. We begin by defining soil quality/soil health (which we consider to be interchangeable terms, characterizing healthy soil resources, and relating the significance of soil health to agroecosystems and their functions. We examine how soil biology influences soil health and how biological properties and processes contribute to sustainability of agriculture and ecosystem services. We continue by examining what can be done to manipulate soil biology to: (i increase nutrient availability for production of high yielding, high quality crops; (ii protect crops from pests, pathogens, weeds; and (iii manage other factors limiting production, provision of ecosystem services, and resilience to stresses like droughts. Next we look to the future by asking what needs to be known about soil biology that is not currently recognized or fully understood and how these needs could be addressed using emerging research tools. We conclude, based on our perceptions of how new knowledge regarding soil biology will help make agriculture more sustainable and productive, by recommending research emphases that should receive first priority through enhanced public and private research in order to reverse the trajectory toward global soil degradation.

  8. Biological and biochemical properties in evaluation of forest soil quality


    Błońska Ewa; Lasota Jarosław


    The aim of this study was to assess the possibility of using biological and biochemical parameters in the evaluation of forest soil quality and changes caused by land use. The study attempted to determine a relationship between the enzymatic activity of soil, the number of earthworms and soil physico-chemical properties. The study was carried out in central Poland in adjoining Forest Districts (Przedbórz and Smardzewice). In soil samples taken from 12 research plots, basic physico-chemical pr...

  9. Biological and biochemical properties in evaluation of forest soil quality


    Błońska, Ewa; Lasota, Jarosław


    The aim of this study was to assess the possibility of using biological and biochemical parameters in the evaluation of forest soil quality and changes caused by land use. The study attempted to determine a relationship between the enzymatic activity of soil, the number of earthworms and soil physico-chemical properties. The study was carried out in central Poland in adjoining Forest Districts (Przedbórz and Smardzewice). In soil samples taken from 12 research plots, basic physico-chem...

  10. Biological framework for soil aggregation: Implications for ecological functions. (United States)

    Ghezzehei, Teamrat; Or, Dani


    Soil aggregation is heuristically understood as agglomeration of primary particles bound together by biotic and abiotic cementing agents. The organization of aggregates is believed to be hierarchical in nature; whereby primary particles bond together to form secondary particles and subsequently merge to form larger aggregates. Soil aggregates are not permanent structures, they continuously change in response to internal and external forces and other drivers, including moisture, capillary pressure, temperature, biological activity, and human disturbances. Soil aggregation processes and the resulting functionality span multiple spatial and temporal scales. The intertwined biological and physical nature of soil aggregation, and the time scales involved precluded a universally applicable and quantifiable framework for characterizing the nature and function of soil aggregation. We introduce a biophysical framework of soil aggregation that considers the various modes and factors of the genesis, maturation and degradation of soil aggregates including wetting/drying cycles, soil mechanical processes, biological activity and the nature of primary soil particles. The framework attempts to disentangle mechanical (compaction and soil fragmentation) from in-situ biophysical aggregation and provides a consistent description of aggregate size, hierarchical organization, and life time. It also enables quantitative description of biotic and abiotic functions of soil aggregates including diffusion and storage of mass and energy as well as role of aggregates as hot spots of nutrient accumulation, biodiversity, and biogeochemical cycles.

  11. Hydrodynamic characteristics of overland flow under soil crusts condition%土壤结皮坡面流水动力学特征

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吴秋菊; 吴发启; 王林华


    We investigated the effects of soil crusts on soil erosion mechanism and their relationship, and series of the runoff scouring experiments were conducted in the Soil and Water Conservation Engineering Laboratory in Northwest A&F University. Two soil surface conditions-the crusts surface and the no crusts surface (control) were explored in our studies. The slope of the scouring trough was set up at 10°(17.6%), five flow rates (1.0, 1.4, 2.0, 2.4 and 2.8 L/min) were used to scour the soil. The flow velocity was measured by the staining method. The flow width was measured by a ruler on the top, central and bottom of slope. The water temperature was measured by a thermometer. The sediment discharge rate was collected at the end of the scouring trough. Then the hydrodynamic characteristics of overland flow (the average flow velocity, the average flow depth, the Reynolds number, the shear stress, the stream power and the resistance coefficient) and the relation between hydrodynamic characteristics of overland flow and soil erosion were analyzed. There was a significant effect of soil crusts on hydrodynamic characteristics. The Reynolds number under soil crusts surface was less than 500, which meant the overland flow was laminar flow. The flow velocity was greater on soil crusts surface than that without soil crusts surface, while the flow depth, the shear stress, the stream power and the soil erosion was much lower on soil crusts surface than that without soil crusts surface. The correlation between soil erosion and hydrodynamic characteristics of overland flow was significant (Regression coefficient R>0.90). Soil erosion had a positive linear correlation with Reynolds number and the logarithm of shear stress and stream power, while had a negative liner correlation with resistance coefficient. Therefore, the existence of soil crusts is helpful to reduce soil erosion from the runoff perspective. Due to the importance of the rainfall factor, it is better to study the

  12. Relationship between Mineral Soil Surface Area and the Biological Degradation of Biosolids Added to Soil

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    Dongqi Wen


    Full Text Available Geochemical and biological processes that operate in the soil matrix and on the soil surface are important to the degradation of biosolids in soil. Due to the large surface area of soils it is assumed that the microbial ecology is associated with mineral soil surface area. The total mineral surface areas were determined for soils from eight different fields selected from a long term study (1972–2006 of annual biosolids application to 41 fields in central Illinois varying in size from 3.6 to 66 ha. The surface areas for the soils varied from 1 to 9 m2/g of soil. The biological degradation rates for the eight soils were determined using a biological degradation rate model (DRM and varied from 0.02 to 0.20/year−1. Regression analysis revealed that the degradation rate was positively associated with mineral soil surface area (1 m2/g produces 0.018 year−1 increase in the degradation rate. The annual soil sequestration rate was calculated to increase from 1% to 6% when the soil total surface area increased from 1 to 9 m2/g of soil. Therefore, land application of biosolids is an effective way to enhance carbon sequestration in soils and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  13. Chemical and biological rhizosphere interactions in low zinc soils

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duffner, A.


    Abstract of the PhD thesis entitled “Chemical and biological rhizosphere interactions in low zinc soils” by Andreas Duffner Soil provides ecosystem services critical for life. The availability of micronutrients, such as zinc (Zn), in soils is an essenti

  14. Biological Dimensions of Crack Morphology in Dryland Soils (United States)

    DeCarlo, K. F.; Spiegel, M.; Caylor, K. K.


    Macropores and cracks have an integral role in soil hydrology, and the physicochemical factors that induce them have been the subject of much laboratory research. How these processes translate to field soils, however, is often obfuscated by the biological elements present that complicate its formation and dynamics. In this study, we investigated the biological influence of herbivores and vegetation on 3D crack morphology in a dryland swelling soil (black cotton/vertisol). Fieldwork was conducted at and near the Kenya Long-Term Exclosure Experiment (KLEE) plots in Mpala, central Kenya, where three different soil regions were identified: highly vegetated areas, animal trails, and termite mounds. Crack networks were physically characterized by pouring liquid resin into the soil and excavating them when dry, after which they were imaged and quantified using medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Cracking intensity of each cast was corrected via soil moisture and bulk density measurements at 5 cm intervals over 30 cm. 3D characterization of the soil system shows that mechanical compaction is a major influence in the formation of extensive and deep cracks in animal trails, with megaherbivores (e.g. elephants) inducing the most extreme cracks. Bioturbation is seen as a major influence in the formation of shallower cracks in termite mounds, as termites loosen and aerate the soil and reduce the soil's cohesive properties. Highly vegetated soils show a large degree of variability: small, disconnected soil patches induced by vegetative cover and a larger root network results in smaller and shallower cracks, but full vegetative cover induces deep and irregular cracks, possibly due to diverted rainfall. Our results highlight the intricate connections between the biology and physics that dictate soil processes in a complex soil system at the field scale.

  15. Impact of temperature on the biological properties of soil (United States)

    Borowik, Agata; Wyszkowska, Jadwiga


    The aim of the study was to determine the response of soil microorganisms and enzymes to the temperature of soil. The effect of the temperatures: 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25°C on the biological properties of soil was investigated under laboratory conditions. The study was performed using four different soils differing in their granulometric composition. It was found that 15°C was the optimal temperature for the development of microorganisms in soil. Typically, in the soil, the highest activity of dehydrogenases was observed at 10-15°C, catalase and acid phosphatase - at 15°C, alkaline phosphatase at 20°C, urease and β-glucosidase at 25°C. The highest colony development index for heterotrophic bacteria was recorded in soils incubated at 25°C, while for actinomycetes and fungi at 15°C. The incubation temperature of soil only slightly changed the ecophysiological variety of the investigated groups of microorganisms. Therefore, the observed climate changes might have a limited impact on the soil microbiological activity, because of the high ability of microorganisms to adopt. The response of soil microorganisms and enzymes was more dependent on the soil granulometric composition, organic carbon, and total nitrogen than on its temperature.

  16. Soil biological activity at European scale - two calculation concepts (United States)

    Krüger, Janine; Rühlmann, Jörg


    The CATCH-C project aims to identify and improve the farm-compatibility of Soil Management Practices including to promote productivity, climate change mitigation and soil quality. The focus of this work concentrates on turnover conditions for soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is fundamental for the maintenance of quality and functions of soils while SOM storage is attributed a great importance in terms of climate change mitigation. The turnover conditions depend on soil biological activity characterized by climate and soil properties. To assess the turnover conditions two model concepts are applied: (I) Biological active time (BAT) regression approach derived from CANDY model (Franko & Oelschlägel 1995) expresses the variation of air temperature, precipitation and soil texture as a timescale and an indicator of biological activity for soil organic matter (SOM) turnover. (II) Re_clim parameter within the Introductory Carbon Balance Model (Andrén & Kätterer 1997) states the soil temperature and soil water to estimate soil biological activity. The modelling includes two strategies to cover the European scale and conditions. BAT was calculated on a 20x20 km grid basis. The European data sets of precipitation and air temperature (time period 1901-2000, monthly resolution), (Mitchell et al. 2004) were used to derive long-term averages. As we focus on agricultural areas we included CORINE data (2006) to extract arable land. The resulting BATs under co-consideration of the main soil textures (clay, silt, sand and loam) were investigated per environmental zone (ENZs, Metzger et al. 2005) that represents similar conditions for precipitation, temperature and relief to identify BAT ranges and hence turnover conditions for each ENZ. Re_clim was quantified by climatic time series of more than 250 weather stations across Europe presented by Klein Tank et al. (2002). Daily temperature, precipitation and potential evapotranspiration (maximal thermal extent) were used to calculate

  17. Evaluation of Pigeon Pea Lines for Biological Soil Decompaction

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    Rodolfo Godoy


    Full Text Available Soil decompaction is generally achieved through mechanical cultivation practices; however biological processes can significantly add to this process through root growth, development, and later senescence. This study was carried out in Piracicaba, SP, Brazil and had the purpose of selecting, among forty one pure pigeon pea lines, the most efficient genotypes that promote soil decompaction by roots penetrating compacted soil layers. Utilizing artificially compacted 30 mm high soil blocks, in a series of experiments, these lines were compared to the cultivar Fava Larga taken as a standard. Three lines were preliminarily selected out of the initial group, and afterwards, in more detailed screenings by monitoring soil resistance to penetration and also evaluating the behavior of Tanzania grass plants seeded after pigeon pea, two of them, g5-94 and g8-95, were selected as possessing the most fit root system to penetrate compacted soil layers.

  18. Soil as a Biological System and Omics Approaches

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    Paolo Nannipieri


    Full Text Available Soil as a biological system is characterized by: i the presence of a remarkable diversity since thousands of bacterial genomes can be present in one gram of soil. In addition microbial biomass is huge; ii only a minor proportion of the available space is occupied by microorganisms in soil (microbiological space;  iii soil colloids can adsorb important biological molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. Nucleic acids can adsorbed and retain their biological activity; iv. soil components show enzyme-like activities. Unfortunately there is no methods to distinguish enzyme from enzyme-like reactions but these methods are needed to quantify both contributions; v virus are more abundant than in other systems such as aquatic ones. A book “Omics in Soil Science” (Nannipieri et al 2014 has been recently published; it presents the state-of-the-art of omics in soil science, a field that is advancing rapidly on many fronts. The various omics (mainly metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, proteomics and proteogenomics approaches hold much promise but also await further refinement before they are ready for widespread adaptation. One way to judge their readiness is to compare them to methods that have become standards for soil microbiology research. Methods become standards because they provide useful information quickly and inexpensively. There is no question that omics can provide useful information, some of which cannot be obtained with traditional techniques, and integration of omics methods may provide insights into ecosystem functioning. In particular, the potential for omics to provide comprehensive coverage of genes and genes products make them well-suited for the study of general soil microbiological phenomena, such as decomposition, response to water stress

  19. Aerobic and anaerobic incubation: Biological indexes of soil nitrogen availability

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    Kresović Mirjana M.


    Full Text Available Our researches have been made on brown forest soil that had been used in long-term experiments set up according to specified fertilization system for over 30 years. We have chosen those experiment variants in which quantities of nitrogen fertilizers were gradually increased. The soil samples taken from 0 cm to 30 cm depth were used to determine biological indexes of nitrogen availability (aerobic and anaerobic incubation. The same samples were also used for pot experiments with oat. Plant and soil parameters obtained in controlled conditions were used for determination of biological indexes reliability in measuring the soil nitrogen availability. On the grounds of correlation analysis, it can be concluded that biological index of nitrogen availability achieved by the anaerobic incubation (without substraction of the initial content of available nitrogen of the investigated brown forest soil is the reliable indicator of soil nitrogen availability. That is not the case with the aerobic incubation in which reliability has not been established.

  20. The biological factors influence on the conversion of mineral components of Extremely Arid Desert Soils (Kazakhstan) (United States)

    Kutovaya, Olga; Vasilenko, Elena; Lebedeva, Marina; Tkhakakhova, Azida


    Extremely arid soils of stony deserts (hamadas) along the southern periphery of the Ili Depression are considered to be analogous to extremely arid soils of Mongolia, also named as "ultra-arid primitive gray-brown soils." In general, the morphology of extremely arid soils of hamadas in the Ili Depression is similar to that of the soils of stony deserts in other parts of the world, including the Gobi, Atacama, and Tarim deserts. The diagnostics of the active communities of microorganisms were performed according to the method of Rybalkina-Kononenko. The exact identification of the living forms of microorganisms to the species level is not always possible with the use of this method. However, it allows us to study the physiological role of the microorganisms and their ecological functions, including the relationships with the soil matrix and other organisms. In particular, it is possible to estimate the contribution of the microorganisms to the transformation of mineral soil components. The obtained materials allow us to conclude that the extremely arid desert soils are characterized by the very high biological activity during short periods of the increased soil moistening after rare and strong rains. The diversity of living forms is very considerable; both prokaryotes (cyanobacteria, actinomycetes, and iron bacteria) and protists (green algae, diatoms, and dinoflagellates) are developed in the soil. Thus, during a short period after the rains, these microorganisms pass from the stage of anabiosis to the stage of active growth and reproduction. Then, upon drying of the soil, the biotic activity of the soil slows down and, finally, terminates. The organisms remain in the state of anabiosis until the next rain. During the period of active growth, the microorganisms compose a specific consortium of different species and exert a profound impact on the soil properties. They participate in the transformation of the soil minerals with the formation of amorphous substances

  1. Chemical and Biological Features of Soils of Urban Territories

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    Elena Vasil'evna Smirnova


    Full Text Available There have been observed chemical and biological qualities of urbanized soils and soil-like bodies of the city of Kazan. There has been given an assessment of their enzymological (urease activity of the speed of degrading of urea, of reaction of soil solution, of contents of organic carbon. It is shown that chemical and biological qualities of studied soils have been seriously transformed and significantly differ from the complex of qualities of original natural analogs. There has been discovered the increase of pH of soil solution up to 7,0-8,2, high variation in contained organic substance, available forms of elements of nutrients of plants (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, flexible compounds of heavy metals and variety of activity of enzyme of urease. There has been discovered the absence of dependence of enzymological activity of city soil-like compounds from their acid-alcaline conditions and contained organic body. The necessity to work out new approaches and methods of studying urban soils and with the aim to assess their ecological state and forecasting of their impact on the city environment.

  2. Actual laser removal of black soiling crust from siliceous sandstone by high pulse repetition rate equipment: effects on surface morphology

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    Iglesias-Campos, M. A.


    Full Text Available This research project studies the role of pulse repetition rate in laser removal of black soiling crust from siliceous sandstone, and specifically, how laser fluence correlates with high pulse repetition rates in cleaning practice. The aim is to define practical cleaning processes and determine simple techniques for evaluation based on end-users’ perspective (restorers. Spot and surface tests were made using a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser system with a wide range of pulse repetition rates (5–200 Hz, systematically analysed and compared by macrophotography, portable microscope, stereomicroscope with 3D visualizing and area roughness measurements, SEM imaging and spectrophotometry. The results allow the conclusion that for operation under high pulse repetition rates the average of total energy applied per spot on a treated surface should be attendant upon fluence values in order to provide a systematic and accurate description of an actual laser cleaning intervention.En este trabajo se estudia el papel de la frecuencia de repetición en la limpieza láser de costras de contaminación sobre una arenisca silícea, y concretamente, como se relaciona fluencia y frecuencias elevadas en una limpieza real. Se pretende definir un procedimiento práctico de limpieza y determinar técnicas sencillas de evaluación desde el punto de vista de los usuarios finales (restauradores. Para el estudio se realizaron diferentes ensayos en spot y en superficie mediante un equipo Q-switched Nd:YAG con un amplio rango de frecuencias (5–200 Hz, que se analizaron y compararon sistemáticamente mediante macrofotografía, microscopio portátil, estereomicroscopio con visualización 3D y mediciones de rugosidad en área, imágenes SEM y espectrofotometría. Los resultados permiten proponer que, al trabajar con altas frecuencias, la media de la energía total depositada por spot en la superficie debería acompañar los valores de fluencia para describir y comprender mejor una

  3. Some Limitations of BIOLOG System for Determining Soil Microbial Community

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    A laboratory experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC)on soil microorganisms and the availability of pH characterization medium in BIOLOG plates. Applicationof TTC decreased the color development sharply and resulted in a great biocidal effect on the growth andreproduction of soil microorganisms, indicating that TTC can affect the discrimination on soil microbialcommunity. The microtitration plates with 21 carbon sources and two different pH levels (4.7 and 7.0) wereused to determine microbial community structure of eight red soils. The average utilization (average wellcolour development) of the carbon sources in the plates with different pH levels generally followed the samesigmoidal pattern as that in the traditional BIOLOG plates, but the pH 4.7 plates increased the discrimination of this technique, compared with the pH 7.0 plates. Since most tested soils are acid, it seemed that it's better to use a suitable pH characterization medium for a specific soil in the sole carbon source test.

  4. Soil management of copper mine tailing soils--sludge amendment and tree vegetation could improve biological soil quality. (United States)

    Asensio, Verónica; Covelo, Emma F; Kandeler, Ellen


    Mine soils at the depleted copper mine in Touro (Northwest Spain) are physico-chemically degraded and polluted by chromium and copper. To increase the quality of these soils, some areas at this mine have been vegetated with eucalyptus or pines, amended with sludges, or received both treatments. Four sites were selected at the Touro mine tailing in order to evaluate the effect of these different reclamation treatments on the biological soil quality: (1) Control (untreated), (2) Forest (vegetated), (3) Sludge (amended with sludges) and (4) Forest+Sludge (vegetated and amended). The new approach of the present work is that we evaluated the effect of planting trees or/and amending with sludges on the biological soil quality of mine sites polluted by metals under field conditions. The addition of sludges to mine sites recovered the biological quality of the soil, while vegetating with trees did not increase microbial biomass and function to the level of unpolluted sites. Moreover, amending with sludges increased the efficiency of the soil's microbial community to metabolize C and N, which was indicated by the decrease of the specific enzyme activities and the increase in the ratio Cmic:Nmic (shift towards predominance of fungi instead of bacteria). However, the high Cu and Cr concentrations still have negative influence on the microorganisms in all the treated soils. For the future remediation of mine soils, we recommend periodically adding sludge and planting native legume species.

  5. Biological soil disinfestation : a safe and effective approach for controlling soilborne pests and diseases

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lamers, J.G.; Wanten, P.J.; Blok, W.J.


    Biological soil disinfestation (bsd) is an environmentally friendly method to disinfest the soil from soilborne fungi and nematodes. With biological soil disinfestation a green manure crop (40 tonnes per ha) or other green biomass is homogeneously incorporated into the soil layer that has to be disi

  6. Biological residues define the ice nucleation properties of soil dust

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Conen


    Full Text Available Soil dust is a major driver of ice nucleation in clouds leading to precipitation. It consists largely of mineral particles with a small fraction of organic matter constituted mainly of remains of micro-organisms that participated in degrading plant debris before their own decay. Some micro-organisms have been shown to be much better ice nuclei than the most efficient soil mineral. Yet, current aerosol schemes in global climate models do not consider a difference between soil dust and mineral dust in terms of ice nucleation activity. Here, we show that particles from the clay and silt size fraction of four different soils naturally associated with 0.7 to 11.8 % organic carbon (w/w can have up to four orders of magnitude more ice nuclei per unit mass active in the immersion freezing mode at −12 °C than montmorillonite, the most efficient pure clay mineral. Most of this activity was lost after heat treatment. Removal of biological residues reduced ice nucleation activity to, or below that of montmorillonite. Desert soils, inherently low in organic content, are a large natural source of dust in the atmosphere. In contrast, agricultural land use is concentrated on fertile soils with much larger organic matter contents than found in deserts. It is currently estimated that the contribution of agricultural soils to the global dust burden is less than 20 %. Yet, these disturbed soils can contribute ice nuclei to the atmosphere of a very different and much more potent kind than mineral dusts.

  7. [Biological properties of lateritic red soil and their relationships with soil fertility in Southern China under different land use types]. (United States)

    Zhang, Jing; Gao, Yun-Hua; Zhang, Chi; Zhou, Bo; Li, Jing-Juan; Yang, Xiao-Xue; Xu, Huan; Dai, Jun


    Taking the lateritic red soil on a typical slopeland in Southern China as test object, this paper studied the soil microbial properties, enzyme activities, and their relationships with soil fertility under four land use types (newly cultivated dryland, shrub land, Eucalyptus land, and orchard). There existed significant differences in the soil biological properties under different land use types, among which, orchard soil had the highest microbial quantity and enzyme activities, newly cultivated dryland soil had the fastest soil respiration rate, the fewest soil microorganism quantity, and the lowest enzyme activities, whereas shrub land and woodland soils had the biological properties ranged between newly cultivated dryland and orchard soils, and there was a high similarity in the biological properties between shrub land and woodland soils. Under different land use types, the soil microbial quantity and enzyme activities were positively correlated with soil organic carbon and most of the soil nutrients. It was suggested the soils with high soil organic matter content and high fertility level were beneficial to the soil microbial growth and enzyme activities.

  8. Impact of Fungicide Mancozeb at Different Application Rates on Soil Microbial Populations, Soil Biological Processes, and Enzyme Activities in Soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abhishek Walia


    Full Text Available The use of fungicides is the continuous exercise particularly in orchard crops where fungal diseases, such as white root rot, have the potential to destroy horticultural crops rendering them unsaleable. In view of above problem, the present study examines the effect of different concentrations of mancozeb (0–2000 ppm at different incubation periods for their harmful side effects on various microbiological processes, soil microflora, and soil enzymes in alluvial soil (pH 6.8 collected from apple orchards of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh (India. Low concentrations of mancozeb were found to be deleterious towards fungal and actinomycetes population while higher concentrations (1000 and 2000 ppm were found to be detrimental to soil bacteria. Mancozeb impaired the process of ammonification and nitrification. Similar results were observed for nitrifying and ammonifying bacteria. Phosphorus solubilization was increased by higher concentration of mancozeb, that is, 250 ppm and above. In unamended soil, microbial biomass carbon and carbon mineralization were adversely affected by mancozeb. Soil enzymes, that is, amylase, invertase, and phosphatase showed adverse and disruptive effect when mancozeb used was above 10 ppm in unamended soil. These results conclude that, to lessen the harmful effects in soil biological processes caused by this fungicide, addition of higher amount of nitrogen based fertilizers is required.

  9. Estimation of the Biological Methods of Assessing Soil N-Supplying Capacity in Calcareous Soil

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIN Fa-hui; LI Shi-qing; LU Hong-ling; LI Sheng-xiu


    Although many biological methods are used to determine soil nitrogen supplying capacity, there are certain differences in the results for different types of soils and various ways of measurement due to the complexity of soil N conformation, the high variance of soil and microorganism, and the difference of environment. Therefore, it is not clear about which biologic incubation method is better for calcareous soil. In this study, pot experiments were performed by using 25 different calcareous surface soil samples on the Loess Plateau and taking the N uptake of wheat and corn with leaching soil initial nitrate and without leaching in pot experiments as the control to investigate the difference of eight biological incubation methods for reflecting soil nitrogen supply capacity. The eight biological methods are waterlogged incubation, aerobic incubation for 2 weeks and for 4 weeks, dry-wet alternation aerobic incubation for 2 weeks, long-term alternate leaching aerobic incubation (and N mineralization potential, N0), short-term leaching aerobic incubation, microbial biomass carbon (BC), and microbial biomass nitrogen (BN) method, respectively. Among these methods, the dry-wet alternation aerobic incubation and aerobic incubation for 4 weeks were the modification of the method of aerobic incubation for 2 weeks according to the actual farmland moisture. The results showed that the correlation coefficients between these methods and crop uptake N with leaching soil initial nitrate were 0.530, 0.700, 0.777, 0.768, 0.764 (and 0.790, N0), 0.650, 0.555, and 0.465, respectively (r0.05 = 0.369, r0.01 = 0.505). While without leaching soil initial nitrate, their coefficients were 0.351, 0.963, 0.962, 0.959, 0.825 (and 0.812, N0), 0.963, 0.289, and 0.095, respectively (r0.05=0.369, r0.01 =0.505). In conclusion,excluding the soil initial nitrate, the correlation coefficients between the eight methods and crop uptake N were, from high to low, N0, aerobic incubation for 4 weeks, dry

  10. Effects of organic amendment on soil quality as assessed by biological indicators


    Sultana, Salma


    Soil quality decline is one of the most predominant effect deriving from human activities. In particular, intensive agricultural management can affect negatively soils, principally due to rapid depletion of soil organic matter, that affects, in turn, soil physical, chemical and biological properties. The declining trend of soil quality coupled with mismanagement of agricultural production is pose a serious threat to sustainability of intensive agriculture. Sustainable intensive agriculture is...

  11. Soil texture and climatc conditions for biocrust growth limitation: a meta analysis (United States)

    Fischer, Thomas; Subbotina, Mariia


    Along with afforestation, attempts have been made to combat desertification by managing soil crusts, and is has been reported that recovery rates of biocrusts are dependent on many factors, including the type, severity, and extent of disturbance; structure of the vascular plant community; conditions of adjoining substrates; availability of inoculation material; and climate during and after disturbance (Belnap & Eldridge 2001). Because biological soil crusts are known to be more stable on and to prefer fine substrates (Belnap 2001), the question arises as to how successful crust management practices can be applied to coarser soil. In previous studies we observed similar crust biomasses on finer soils under arid and on coarser soils under temperate conditions. We hypothesized that the higher water holding capacity of finer substrates would favor crust development, and that the amount of silt and clay in the substrate that is required for enhanced crust development would vary with changes in climatic conditions. In a global meta study, climatic and soil texture threshold values promoting BSC growth were derived. While examining literature sources, it became evident that the amount of studies to be incorporated into this meta analysis was reversely related to the amount of common environmental parameters they share. We selected annual mean precipitaion, mean temperature and the amount of silt and clay as driving variables for crust growth. Response variable was the "relative crust biomass", which was computed per literature source as the ratio between each individual crust biomass value of the given study to the study maximum value reported. We distinguished lichen, green algal, cyanobacterial and moss crusts. To quantify threshold conditions at which crust biomass responded to differences in texture and climate, we (I) determined correlations between bioclimatic variables, (II) calculated linear models to determine the effect of typical climatic variables with soil

  12. Deep ancient fluids in the continental crust and their impact on near-surface economic, environmental and biological systems. (United States)

    Ballentine, Christopher; Warr, Oliver; Sutcliffe, Chelsea; McDermott, Jill; Fellowes, Jonathan; Holland, Greg; Mabry, Jennifer; Sherwood Lollar, Barbara


    With a few exceptions the mobility of water, oil and gas, provides for an ephemeral view of subsurface fluids relative to geological or planetary timescales. Aquifers supplying water for drinking and irrigation have mean residence ages from hundreds to tens of thousands of years; Hydrothermal systems can be active for hundreds of thousands to millions of years forming key mineral reserves; Sedimentary basin formation expels fluids during compaction and generates oil and gas on times scales of millions to hundreds of millions of years. Within these exemplar systems biological activity can play a crucial role by mediating system oxidation state: releasing arsenic into shallow groundwaters; precipitating ore bodies; generating methane; and biodegrading oil. It is becoming increasingly apparent that fluids resident in fractures and porespace in the crystalline basement underlying many of these systems can have a mean residence time that ranges from tens to hundreds of millions of years [1,2] to billions of years [3,4]. These fluids are highly saline and trace element rich; they are abundant in nitrogen, hydrogen, methane and helium and can contain microbes that have uniquely adapted to these isolated environments [5]. We are actively expanding discovery of sites with fluids exhibiting extreme age and have recently shown that these systems contribute to half of the terrestrial hydrogen production; a key component in biosphere energy and carbon cycles [6]. Tectonic or thermal release of these fluids can result in helium deposits; possible ore body generation and the inoculation of near-surface systems with microbial biota protected in the deep surface; the controls and rate of fluid release to shallow systems can fundamentally change the nature of some shallow systems. These deep ancient fluids represent a little tapped scientific resource for understanding how life survives and evolves in such isolation, how life is transported and communicates in extremis together and

  13. Nutrient cycling and soil biology in row crop systems under intensive tillage (United States)

    Recent interest in management of the soil biological component to improve soil health requires a better understanding on how management practices (e.g., tillage) and environmental conditions influence soil organisms. Intensive tillage often results in reduced organic matter content in the surface so...

  14. Effects of organic versus conventional management on chemical and biological parameters in agricultural soils

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Diepeningen, van A.D.; Vos, de O.J.; Korthals, G.W.; Bruggen, van A.H.C.


    A comparative study of organic and conventional arable farming systems was conducted in The Netherlands to determine the effect of management practices on chemical and biological soil properties and soil health. Soils from thirteen accredited organic farms and conventionally managed neighboring farm

  15. [Effects of tillage methods on soil physicochemical properties and biological characteristics in farmland: A review]. (United States)

    Li, Yu-jie; Wang, Hui; Zhao, Jian-ning; Huangfu, Chao-he; Yang, Dian-lin


    Tillage methods affect soil heat, water, nutrients and soil biology in different ways. Reasonable soil management system can not only improve physical and chemical properties of the soil, but also change the ecological process of farmland soil. Conservation tillage can improve the quality of the soil to different degrees. For example, no-tillage system can effectively improve soil enzyme activity. No tillage and subsoiling tillage can provide abundant resources for soil microbe' s growth and reproduction. No tillage, minimum tillage and other conservation tillage methods exert little disturbance to soil animals, and in turn affect the quantity and diversity of the soil animals as well as their population structure. Effects of different tillage methods on soil physical and chemical properties as well as biological characteristics were reviewed in this article, with the soil physical and chemical indices, enzyme activities, soil microbe diversity and soil animals under different tillage patterns analyzed. The possibility of soil quality restoration with appropriate tillage methods and the future research direction were pointed out.

  16. Physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine (United States)

    Shekhovtseva, O. G.; Mal'tseva, I. A.


    Physicochemical and biological properties of urbanized soils in the city of Mariupol have been considered in comparison with the background soils. The parametrical characteristics (abundance and biomass) of soil algal groups, the content of humus, the reaction of soil solution, the content of heavy metals, and the particle size distributions of soils under different anthropogenic impacts have been assessed. The physicochemical properties of soils developing under urboecosystem conditions affect the number of structure-forming species, biomass, and proportions of soil algae. According to the particle size distribution, urban soils are classified among the medium and heavy loamy soils with the predominance of the clay and coarse silt fractions. The fractions of physical clay and clay are of highest importance for the existence of algae. The accumulation of heavy metals in the surface horizons of soils can stimulate or inhibit the development of algae depending on the metal concentration.

  17. Biological removal of arsenic pollution by soil fungi. (United States)

    Srivastava, Pankaj Kumar; Vaish, Aradhana; Dwivedi, Sanjay; Chakrabarty, Debasis; Singh, Nandita; Tripathi, Rudra Deo


    Fifteen fungal strains were isolated from arsenic contaminated (range 9.45-15.63 mg kg(-1)) agricultural soils from the state of West Bengal, India. Five fungal strains were belonged to the Aspergillus and Trichoderma group each, however, remaining five were identified as the Neocosmospora, Sordaria, Rhizopus, Penicillium and sterile mycelial strain. All these fungal strains were cultivated on medium supplemented with 100, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 mg l(-1) of sodium arsenate. After 30-day cultivation under laboratory conditions, radial growth of these strains was determined and compared with control. Toxicity and tolerance of these strains to arsenate were evaluated on the basis of tolerance index. Out of fifteen, only five fungal strains were found resistant and survived with tolerance index pattern as 0.956 (sterile mycelial strain)>0.311 (Rhizopus sp.)>0.306 (Neocosmospora sp.)>0.212 (Penicillium sp.)>0.189 (Aspergillus sp.) at 10,000 mg l(-1) of arsenate. The arsenic removal efficacy of ten fungal strains, tolerant to 5000 mg l(-1) arsenate, was also assayed under laboratory conditions for 21 days. All these strains were cultivated individually on mycological broth enriched with 10 mg l(-1) of arsenic. The initial and final pH of cultivating medium, fungal biomass and removal of arsenic by each fungal strain were evaluated. Fungal biomass of ten strains removed arsenic biologically from the medium which were ranged from 10.92 to 65.81% depending on fungal species. The flux of biovolatilized arsenic was determined indirectly by estimating the sum of arsenic content in fungal biomass and medium. The mean percent removal as flux of biovolatilized arsenic ranged from 3.71 to 29.86%. The most effective removal of arsenic was observed in the Trichoderma sp., sterile mycelial strain, Neocosmospora sp. and Rhizopus sp. fungal strains. These fungal strains can be effectively used for the bioremediation of arsenic-contaminated agricultural soils.

  18. Temporal and spatial variability of soil biological activity at European scale (United States)

    Mallast, Janine; Rühlmann, Jörg


    The CATCH-C project aims to identify and improve the farm-compatibility of Soil Management Practices including to promote productivity, climate change mitigation and soil quality. The focus of this work concentrates on turnover conditions for soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is fundamental for the maintenance of quality and functions of soils while SOM storage is attributed a great importance in terms of climate change mitigation. The turnover conditions depend on soil biological activity characterized by climate and soil properties. Soil biological activity was investigated using two model concepts: a) Re_clim parameter within the ICBM (Introductory Carbon Balance Model) (Andrén & Kätterer 1997) states a climatic factor summarizing soil water storage and soil temperature and its influence on soil biological activity. b) BAT (biological active time) approach derived from model CANDY (CArbon and Nitrogen Dynamic) (Franko & Oelschlägel 1995) expresses the variation of soil moisture, soil temperature and soil aeration as a time scale and an indicator of biological activity for soil organic matter (SOM) turnover. During an earlier stage both model concepts, Re_clim and BAT, were applied based on a monthly data to assess spatial variability of turnover conditions across Europe. This hampers the investigation of temporal variability (e.g. intra-annual). The improved stage integrates daily data of more than 350 weather stations across Europe presented by Klein Tank et al. (2002). All time series data (temperature, precipitation and potential evapotranspiration and soil texture derived from the European Soil Database (JRC 2006)), are used to calculate soil biological activity in the arable layer. The resulting BAT and Re_clim values were spatio-temporal investigated. While "temporal" refers to a long-term trend analysis, "spatial" includes the investigation of soil biological activity variability per environmental zone (ENZ, Metzger et al. 2005 representing similar

  19. Potential of Biological Agents in Decontamination of Agricultural Soil (United States)

    Javaid, Muhammad Kashif; Ashiq, Mehrban; Tahir, Muhammad


    Pesticides are widely used for the control of weeds, diseases, and pests of cultivated plants all over the world, mainly since the period after the Second World War. The use of pesticides is very extensive to control harm of pests all over the globe. Persistent nature of most of the synthetic pesticides causes serious environmental concerns. Decontamination of these hazardous chemicals is very essential. This review paper elaborates the potential of various biological agents in decontamination of agricultural soils. The agricultural crop fields are contaminated by the periodic applications of pesticides. Biodegradation is an ecofriendly, cost-effective, highly efficient approach compared to the physical and chemical methods which are expensive as well as unfriendly towards environment. Biodegradation is sensitive to the concentration levels of hydrogen peroxide and nitrogen along with microbial community, temperature, and pH changes. Experimental work for optimum conditions at lab scale can provide very fruitful results about specific bacterial, fungal strains. This study revealed an upper hand of bioremediation over physicochemical approaches. Further studies should be carried out to understand mechanisms of biotransformation. PMID:27293964

  20. Potential of Biological Agents in Decontamination of Agricultural Soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Muhammad Kashif Javaid


    Full Text Available Pesticides are widely used for the control of weeds, diseases, and pests of cultivated plants all over the world, mainly since the period after the Second World War. The use of pesticides is very extensive to control harm of pests all over the globe. Persistent nature of most of the synthetic pesticides causes serious environmental concerns. Decontamination of these hazardous chemicals is very essential. This review paper elaborates the potential of various biological agents in decontamination of agricultural soils. The agricultural crop fields are contaminated by the periodic applications of pesticides. Biodegradation is an ecofriendly, cost-effective, highly efficient approach compared to the physical and chemical methods which are expensive as well as unfriendly towards environment. Biodegradation is sensitive to the concentration levels of hydrogen peroxide and nitrogen along with microbial community, temperature, and pH changes. Experimental work for optimum conditions at lab scale can provide very fruitful results about specific bacterial, fungal strains. This study revealed an upper hand of bioremediation over physicochemical approaches. Further studies should be carried out to understand mechanisms of biotransformation.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kozun Y. S.


    Full Text Available Climatic conditions have considerable impact on biological properties of soils of the South of Russia. From all studied indicators the most dependent on climate there was maintenance of a humus and activity of polyphenoloxidases and peroxidases. Values of the integrated indicator of a biological condition (IIBC on a profile of soils decrease in process of increase in an amount of precipitation, decrease in temperature, and increase in height of the district in next order: meadow subalpine → brown forest → gray forest → black leached soil → black typical soil → black ordinary soi

  2. Biochar and biological carbon cycling in temperate soils (United States)

    McCormack, S. A.; Vanbergen, A. J.; Bardgett, R. D.; Hopkins, D. W.; Ostle, N.


    Production of biochar, the recalcitrant residue formed by pyrolysis of plant matter, is suggested as a means of increasing storage of stable carbon (C) in the soil (1). Biochar has also been shown to act as a soil conditioner, increasing the productivity of certain crops by reducing nutrient leaching and improving soil water-holding capacity. However, the response of soil carbon pools to biochar addition is not yet well understood. Studies have shown that biochar has highly variable effects on microbial C cycling and thus on soil C storage (2,3,4). This discrepancy may be partially explained by the response of soil invertebrates, which occupy higher trophic levels and regulate microbial activity. This research aims to understand the role of soil invertebrates (i.e. Collembola and nematode worms) in biochar-mediated changes to soil C dynamics across a range of plant-soil communities. An open-air, pot-based mesocosm experiment was established in May, 2011 at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh. Three treatments were included in a fully-factorial design: biochar (presence [2 % w/w] or absence), soil type (arable sandy, arable sandy loam, grassland sandy loam), and vegetation type (Hordeum vulgare, Lolium perenne, unvegetated). Monitored parameters include: invertebrate and microbial species composition, soil C fluxes (CO2 and trace gas evolution, leachate C content, primary productivity and soil C content), and soil conditions (pH, moisture content and water-holding capacity). Preliminary results indicate that biochar-induced changes to soil invertebrate communities and processes are affected by pre-existing soil characteristics, and that soil texture in particular may be an important determinant of soil response to biochar addition. 1. Lehmann, 2007. A handful of carbon. Nature 447, 143-144. 2. Liang et al., 2010. Black carbon affects the cycling of non-black carbon in soil. Organic Geochemistry 41, 206-213. 3. Van Zwieten et al., 2010. Influence of

  3. Wildfire effects on biological properties of soils in forest-steppe ecosystems of Russia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Maksimova


    Full Text Available Soils affected by forest wildfires in 2010 in Russia were studied on postfire and mature plots near the Togljatty city, Samara region. Soil biological properties and ash composition dynamics were investigated under the forest fire affect: a place of local forest fire, riding forest fire and unaffected site by fire-control (mature during 3 yr of restoration. Soil samples were collected at 0–15 cm. Soil biological properties was measured by the fumigation method. The analytical data obtained shows that wildfires lead to serious changes in a soil profile and soil chemistry of upper horizons. Wildfires change a chemical composition of soil horizons and increase their ash-content. Fires lead to accumulation of biogenic elements' content (P and K in the solum fine earth. Calcium content is increased as a result of fires that leads to an alkaline pH of the solum. The values of nutrients decreased as a result of leaching out with an atmospheric precipitation during the second year of restoration. Thus, when the upper horizons are burning the ash arriving on a soil surface enrich it with nutrients. The mature (unaffected by fire soils is characterized by the greatest values of soil microbial biomass in the top horizon and, respectively, the bigger values of basal respiration whereas declining of the both parameters was revealed on postfire soils. Nevertheless this influence does not extend on depth more than 10 cm. Thus, fire affect on the soil were recognized in decreasing of microbiological activity.

  4. Estimation of Corn Yield and Soil Nitrogen via Soil Electrical Conductivity Measurement Treated with Organic, Chemical and Biological Fertilizers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Khalilzade


    Full Text Available Introduction Around the world maize is the second crop with the most cultivated areas and amount of production, so as the most important strategic crop, have a special situation in policies, decision making, resources and inputs allocation. On the other side, negative environmental consequences of intensive consumption of agrochemicals resulted to change view concerning food production. One of the most important visions is sustainable production of enough food plus attention to social, economic and environmental aspects. Many researchers stated that the first step to achieve this goal is optimization and improvement of resources use efficiencies. According to little knowledge on relation between soil electrical conductivity and yield of maize, beside the environmental concerns about nitrogen consumption and need to replace chemical nitrogen by ecological inputs, this study designed and aimed to evaluate agroecological characteristics of corn and some soil characteristics as affected by application of organic and biological fertilizers under field conditions. Materials and Methods In order to probing the possibility of grain yield and soil nitrogen estimation via measurement of soil properties, a field experiment was conducted during growing season 2010 at Research Station, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran. A randomized complete block design (RCBD with three replications was used. Treatments included: 1- manure (30 ton ha-1, 2-vermicompost (10 ton ha-1, 3- nitroxin (containing Azotobacter sp. and Azospirillum sp., inoculation was done according to Kennedy et al., 4- nitrogen as urea (400 kg ha-1 and 5- control (without fertilizer. Studied traits were soil pH, soil EC, soil respiration rate, N content of soil and maize yield. Soil respiration rate was measured using equation 1: CO2= (V0- V× N×22 Equation 1 In which V0 is the volume of consumed acid for control treatment titration, V is of the volume of consumed acid for sample treatment

  5. Physicochemical and biological quality of soil in hexavalent chromium-contaminated soils as affected by chemical and microbial remediation. (United States)

    Liao, Yingping; Min, Xiaobo; Yang, Zhihui; Chai, Liyuan; Zhang, Shujuan; Wang, Yangyang


    Chemical and microbial methods are the main remediation technologies for chromium-contaminated soil. These technologies have progressed rapidly in recent years; however, there is still a lack of methods for evaluating the chemical and biological quality of soil after different remediation technologies have been applied. In this paper, microbial remediation with indigenous bacteria and chemical remediation with ferrous sulphate were used for the remediation of soils contaminated with Cr(VI) at two levels (80 and 1,276 mg kg(-1)) through a column leaching experiment. After microbial remediation with indigenous bacteria, the average concentration of water-soluble Cr(VI) in the soils was reduced to less than 5.0 mg kg(-1). Soil quality was evaluated based on 11 soil properties and the fuzzy comprehensive assessment method, including fuzzy mathematics and correlative analysis. The chemical fertility quality index was improved by one grade using microbial remediation with indigenous bacteria, and the biological fertility quality index increased by at least a factor of 6. Chemical remediation with ferrous sulphate, however, resulted in lower levels of available phosphorus, dehydrogenase, catalase and polyphenol oxidase. The result showed that microbial remediation with indigenous bacteria was more effective for remedying Cr(VI)-contaminated soils with high pH value than chemical remediation with ferrous sulphate. In addition, the fuzzy comprehensive evaluation method was proven to be a useful tool for monitoring the quality change in chromium-contaminated soils.

  6. [Effects of earthworm on soil microbes and biological fertility: A review]. (United States)

    Cao, Jia; Wang, Chong; Huang, Yan; Ji, Ding-ge; Lou, Yi


    Earthworms are considered as 'ecosystem engineers', as they affect soil microbial community and function by improving micro-habitat, increasing surface area of organic compound, feeding, and transporting microorganisms. Multi-scale cavities created through earthworm movements help improve soil porosity and aeration, thus supporting microbial growth and reproduction. Earthworms also break down complex organic compounds into microbe-accessible nutrients by means of feeding on, crushing, and mixing soil. This results in elevated mineralization and improvement of cycling of key soil nutrients including carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, overall enhancing the soil biological fertility.

  7. Mind the gap: non-biological processes contributing to soil CO2 efflux. (United States)

    Rey, Ana


    Widespread recognition of the importance of soil CO2 efflux as a major source of CO2 to the atmosphere has led to active research. A large soil respiration database and recent reviews have compiled data, methods, and current challenges. This study highlights some deficiencies for a proper understanding of soil CO2 efflux focusing on processes of soil CO2 production and transport that have not received enough attention in the current soil respiration literature. It has mostly been assumed that soil CO2 efflux is the result of biological processes (i.e. soil respiration), but recent studies demonstrate that pedochemical and geological processes, such as geothermal and volcanic CO2 degassing, are potentially important in some areas. Besides the microbial decomposition of litter, solar radiation is responsible for photodegradation or photochemical degradation of litter. Diffusion is considered to be the main mechanism of CO2 transport in the soil, but changes in atmospheric pressure and thermal convection may also be important mechanisms driving soil CO2 efflux greater than diffusion under certain conditions. Lateral fluxes of carbon as dissolved organic and inorganic carbon occur and may cause an underestimation of soil CO2 efflux. Traditionally soil CO2 efflux has been measured with accumulation chambers assuming that the main transport mechanism is diffusion. New techniques are available such as improved automated chambers, CO2 concentration profiles and isotopic techniques that may help to elucidate the sources of carbon from soils. We need to develop specific and standardized methods for different CO2 sources to quantify this flux on a global scale. Biogeochemical models should include biological and non-biological CO2 production processes before we can predict the response of soil CO2 efflux to climate change. Improving our understanding of the processes involved in soil CO2 efflux should be a research priority given the importance of this flux in the global

  8. In search of biological indicators for soil health and disease suppression

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bruggen, van A.H.C.; Semenov, A.M.


    While soil quality encompasses physical and chemical besides biological characteristics, soil health is primarily an ecological characteristic. Ecosystem health has been defined in terms of ecosystem stability and resilience in response to a disturbance or stress. We therefore, suggest that indicato

  9. Environmental implications of herbicide resistance: soil biology and ecology (United States)

    Soil microbial community structure and activity are clearly linked to plant communities established in natural and agricultural ecosystems. A limited number of studies confirm that weeds alter their soil environment and select for specific microbial communities in the rhizosphere. Such rhizosphere m...

  10. Soil Biological Parameters Influenced By Cocoa Management Systems (United States)

    Cropping systems have a profound influence on the soil micro-fauna and they are responsible for nutrient cycling, and add stability to the soil. At Tarapoto, Peru, two field experiments were established on acidic medium fertility Alfisol to assess the influence of management systems on cacao rhizosp...

  11. Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Web Academy Webinar: Compost from Food Waste: Understanding Soil Chemistry and Soil Biology on a College/University Campus (United States)

    This page contains information about the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Web Academy Webinar Series titled Compost from Food Waste:Understanding Soil Chemistry and Soil Biology on a College/University Campus

  12. Biological Treatment of Petroleum in Radiologically Contaminated Soil

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)



    This chapter describes ex situ bioremediation of the petroleum portion of radiologically co-contaminated soils using microorganisms isolated from a waste site and innovative bioreactor technology. Microorganisms first isolated and screened in the laboratory for bioremediation of petroleum were eventually used to treat soils in a bioreactor. The bioreactor treated soils contaminated with over 20,000 mg/kg total petroleum hydrocarbon and reduced the levels to less than 100 mg/kg in 22 months. After treatment, the soils were permanently disposed as low-level radiological waste. The petroleum and radiologically contaminated soil (PRCS) bioreactor operated using bioventing to control the supply of oxygen (air) to the soil being treated. The system treated 3.67 tons of PCRS amended with weathered compost, ammonium nitrate, fertilizer, and water. In addition, a consortium of microbes (patent pending) isolated at the Savannah River National Laboratory from a petroleum-contaminated site was added to the PRCS system. During operation, degradation of petroleum waste was accounted for through monitoring of carbon dioxide levels in the system effluent. The project demonstrated that co-contaminated soils could be successfully treated through bioventing and bioaugmentation to remove petroleum contamination to levels below 100 mg/kg while protecting workers and the environment from radiological contamination.

  13. Freshly brewed continental crust (United States)

    Gazel, E.; Hayes, J. L.; Caddick, M. J.; Madrigal, P.


    Earth's crust is the life-sustaining interface between our planet's deep interior and surface. Basaltic crusts similar to Earth's oceanic crust characterize terrestrial planets in the solar system while the continental masses, areas of buoyant, thick silicic crust, are a unique characteristic of Earth. Therefore, understanding the processes responsible for the formation of continents is fundamental to reconstructing the evolution of our planet. We use geochemical and geophysical data to reconstruct the evolution of the Central American Land Bridge (Costa Rica and Panama) over the last 70 Ma. We also include new preliminary data from a key turning point (~12-6 Ma) from the evolution from an oceanic arc depleted in incompatible elements to a juvenile continental mass in order to evaluate current models of continental crust formation. We also discovered that seismic P-waves (body waves) travel through the crust at velocities closer to the ones observed in continental crust worldwide. Based on global statistical analyses of all magmas produced today in oceanic arcs compared to the global average composition of continental crust we developed a continental index. Our goal was to quantitatively correlate geochemical composition with the average P-wave velocity of arc crust. We suggest that although the formation and evolution of continents may involve many processes, melting enriched oceanic crust within a subduction zone, a process probably more common in the Achaean where most continental landmasses formed, can produce the starting material necessary for juvenile continental crust formation.

  14. Fertilization regimes affect the soil biological characteristics of a sudangrass and ryegrass rotation system. (United States)

    Li, WenXi; Lu, JianWei; Li, FangBai; Wang, Yan; Lu, JunMing; Li, XiaoKun


    The sudangrass (Sorghum sudanense) and ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) rotation is an intensive and new cropping system in Central China. Nutrient management practices in this rotation system may influence soil fertility, the important aspects of which are soil biological properties and quality. As sensitive soil biological properties and quality indicators, soil microbial community activity, microbial biomass, enzyme activities, soil organic matter (SOM) and total N resulting from different fertilization regimes in this rotation system were studied through a four-year field experiment from April 2005 to May 2009. Treatments included control (CK), fertilizer phosphorus and potassium (PK), fertilizer nitrogen and potassium (NK), fertilizer nitrogen and phosphorus (NP) and a fertilizer nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium combination (NPK). Soil microbial community activities in the NK, NP and NPK treatments were significantly lower than those in the CK and PK treatments after the sudangrass and ryegrass trial. The highest microbial biomass C, microbial biomass N, SOM, total N, sucrase and urease activities were found in the NPK treatment, and these soil quality indicators were significantly higher in the NK, NP and NPK treatments than in the PK and CK treatments. Soil microbial biomass and enzyme activities were positively associated with SOM in the sudangrass and ryegrass rotation system, indicating that fertilization regimes, especially N application, reduced microbial community activity in the soil. Proper fertilization regimes will increase microbial biomass, enzyme activity and SOM and improve soil fertility.

  15. Rich in life but poor in data: the known knowns and known unknowns of modelling how soil biology drives soil structure (United States)

    Hallett, Paul; Ogden, Mike


    Soil biology has a fascinating capacity to manipulate pore structure by altering or overcoming hydrological and mechanical properties of soil. Many have postulated, quite rightly, that this capacity of soil biology to 'engineer' its habitat drives its diversity, improves competitiveness and increases resilience to external stresses. A large body of observational research has quantified pore structure evolution accompanied by the growth of organisms in soil. Specific compounds that are exuded by organisms or the biological structures they create have been isolated and found to correlate well with observed changes to pore structure or soil stability. This presentation will provide an overview of basic mechanical and hydrological properties of soil that are affected by biology, and consider missing data that are essential to model how they impact soil structure evolution. Major knowledge gaps that prevent progress will be identified and suggestions will be made of how research in this area should progress. We call for more research to gain a process based understanding of structure formation by biology, to complement observational studies of soil structure before and after imposed biological activity. Significant advancement has already been made in modelling soil stabilisation by plant roots, by combining data on root biomechanics, root-soil interactions and soil mechanical properties. Approaches for this work were developed from earlier materials science and geotechnical engineering research, and the same ethos should be adopted to model the impacts of other biological compounds. Fungal hyphae likely reinforce soils in a similar way to plant roots, with successful biomechanical measurements of these micron diameter structures achieved with micromechanical test frames. Extending root reinforcement models to fungi would not be a straightforward exercise, however, as interparticle bonding and changes to pore water caused by fungal exudates could have a major impact on

  16. Dynamic Relationship Between Biologically Active Soil Organic Carbon and Aggregate Stability in Long-Term Organically Fertilized Soils

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LI Cheng-Liang; XU Jiang-Bing; HE Yuan-Qiu; LIU Yan-Li; FAN Jian-Bo


    Biologically active soil organic carbon (BASOC) is an important fraction of soil organic carbon (SOC),but our understanding of the correlation between BASOC and soil aggregate stability is limited.At an ecological experimental station (28° 04′-28° 37′ N,116°41′-117° 09′ E) in Yujiang County,Jiangxi Province,China,we analyzed the dynamic relationship between soil aggregate stability and BASOC content over time in the red soil (Udic Ferrosols) fertilized with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium chemical fertilizer (NPK)without manure or with NPK plus livestock manure or green manure.The dynamics of BASOC was evaluated using CO2 efflux,and soil aggregates were separated according to size using a wet-sieving technique.The soils fertilized with NPK plus livestock manure had a significantly higher content of BASOC and an improved aggregate stability compared to the soils fertilized with NPK plus green manure or NPK alone The BASOC contents in all fertilized soils decreased over time The contents of large aggregates (800-2000μm) dramatically decreased over the first 7 d of incubation,but the contents of small aggregates (< 800.μm) either remained the same or increased,depending on the incubation time and specific aggregate sizes.The aggregate stability did not differ significantly at the beginning and end of incubation,but the lowest stability inall fertilized soils occurred in the middle of the incubation,which implied that the soils had a strong resilience for aggregate stability.The change in BASOC content was only correlated with aggregate stability during the first 27 d of incubation.

  17. Evaluation of biological attributes of soil type latossol under agroecological production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marisol Rivero Herrada


    Full Text Available Biological soil attributes have shown to be good indicators of soil changes as a result of the management function. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of using cover crops, as well as planting and tillage systems on the biological attributes of a yellowish red latosol soil. Soil samples were taken at 0 to 0.10 m depth, seven days before the bean harvest. Microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen, basal soil respiration, metabolic ratio and total enzyme activity were evaluated in this study. The best agroecological management was achieved under the association of the ground cover with millet and in direct seeding because they showed higher soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen content and lower metabolic quotient, being pork bean the best plant coverage. All biological soil attributes were sensitive to the tillage system, which showed the best results of the total enzyme activity and of the soil metabolic quotient which resulted to be the most efficient.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kozun Y. S.


    Full Text Available Agricultural use leads to a significant transformation of soils. The first to use the soil for cultivation react most sensitive biological indicators. The purpose of the study - to establish the effect of using the brown forest soils for planting apple orchards for their biological activity, in particular on the humus content, enzyme activity (catalase and dehydrogenase. For the control, we have selected forest area adjacent to arable land. Because of violations of the natural vegetation, there are changes in hydrothermal conditions of the soil. Humidity soil plowed off under forest, while temperatures gets considerably higher. Plowing, compared with the control, revealed significant loss of humus (50% in the upper most disturbed horizons. In the lower horizons of the values of this index were quite low (1.5% on all sections of the test. The decline in humus content, as well as overheating and draining soil tillage results in a change of enzymatic activity not only in the surface layers, but also in the whole profile. Due to the movement of the most favorable hydrothermal conditions in the underlying horizons, an increase of enzyme activity over control values in the deeper layers of the soil. The article shows a possibility of the use of biological indicators as indicators of changes in the brown forest soils as a result of agricultural use

  19. Oxidoreductases and cellulases in lichens: possible roles in lichen biology and soil organic matter turnover. (United States)

    Beckett, Richard P; Zavarzina, Anna G; Liers, Christiane


    Lichens are symbiotic associations of a fungus (usually an Ascomycete) with green algae and/or a cyanobacterium. They dominate on 8 % of the world's land surface, mainly in Arctic and Antarctic regions, tundra, high mountain elevations and as components of dryland crusts. In many ecosystems, lichens are the pioneers on the bare rock or soil following disturbance, presumably because of their tolerance to desiccation and high temperature. Lichens have long been recognized as agents of mineral weathering and fine-earth stabilization. Being dominant biomass producers in extreme environments they contribute to primary accumulation of soil organic matter. However, biochemical role of lichens in soil processes is unknown. Our recent research has demonstrated that Peltigeralean lichens contain redox enzymes which in free-living fungi participate in lignocellulose degradation and humification. Thus lichen enzymes may catalyse formation and degradation of soil organic matter, particularly in high-stress communities dominated by lower plants. In the present review we synthesize recently published data on lichen phenol oxidases, peroxidases, and cellulases and discuss their possible roles in lichen physiology and soil organic matter transformations.

  20. Deforestation effects on biological and other important soil properties in an upland watershed of Bangladesh

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    S.M. Sirajul Haque; Sanatan Das Gupta; Sohag Miah


    Deforestation occurs at an alarming rate in upland watersheds of Bangladesh and has many detrimental effects on the environment. This study reports the effects of deforestation on soil biological proper-ties along with some important physicochemical parameters of a southern upland watershed in Bangladesh. Soils were sampled at 4 paired sites, each pair representing a deforested site and a forested site, and having similar topographical characteristics. Significantly fewer (p≤0.001) fungi and bacteria, and lower microbial respiration, active microbial biomass, metabolic and microbial quotients were found in soils of the deforested sites. Soil physical properties such as moisture content, water holding capacity, and chemical properties such as organic matter, total N, avail-able P and EC were also lower in deforested soils. Bulk density and pH were significantly higher in deforested soils. Available Ca and Mg were inconsistent between the two land uses at all the paired sites. Re-duced abundance and biomass of soil mesofauna were recorded in defor-ested soils. However, soil anecic species were more abundant in defor-ested soils than epigeic and endogeic species, which were more abundant in forested soils than on deforested sites.

  1. Assessment of the ecological security of immobilized enzyme remediation process with biological indicators of soil health. (United States)

    Zhang, Ying; Dong, Xiaonan; Jiang, Zhao; Cao, Bo; Ge, Shijie; Hu, Miao


    This study used the enzymes extracted from an atrazine-degrading strain, Arthrobacter sp. DNS10, which had been immobilized by sodium alginate to rehabilitate atrazine-polluted soil. Meanwhile, a range of biological indices were selected to assess the ecological health of contaminated soils and the ecological security of this bioremediation method. The results showed that there was no atrazine detected in soil samples after 28 days in EN+AT (the soil containing atrazine and immobilized enzyme) treatment. However, the residual atrazine concentration of the sample in AT (the soil containing atrazine only) treatment was about 5.02 ± 0.93 mg kg(-1). These results suggest that the immobilized enzyme exhibits an excellent ability in atrazine degradation. Furthermore, the immobilized enzyme could relieve soil microbial biomass carbon and soil microbial respiration intensity to 772.33 ± 34.93 mg C kg(-1) and 5.01 ± 0.17 mg CO(2) g(-1) soil h(-1), respectively. The results of the polymerase chain reaction-degeneration gradient gel electrophoresis experiment indicated that the immobilized enzyme also could make the Shannon-Wiener index and evenness index of the soil sample increase from 1.02 and 0.74 to 1.51 and 0.84, respectively. These results indicated that the immobilized enzymes not only could relieve the impact from atrazine on the soil, but also revealed that the immobilized enzymes did no significant harm on the soil ecological health.

  2. [Effects and Biological Response on Bioremediation of Petroleum Contaminated Soil]. (United States)

    Yang, Qian; Wu, Man-li; Nie, Mai-qian; Wang, Ting-ting; Zhang, Ming-hui


    Bioaugmentation and biostimulation were used to remediate petroleum-contaminated soil which were collected from Zichang city in North of Shaanxi. The optimal bioremediation method was obtained by determining the total petroleum hydrocarbon(TPH) using the infrared spectroscopy. During the bioremediation, number of degrading strains, TPH catabolic genes, and soil microbial community diversity were determined by Most Probable Number (MPN), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) combined agarose electrophoresis, and PCR-denaturing gradient electrophoresis (DGGE). The results in different treatments showed different biodegradation effects towards total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH). Biostimulation by adding N and P to soils achieved the best degradation effects towards TPH, and the bioaugmentation was achieved by inoculating strain SZ-1 to soils. Further analysis indicated the positive correlation between catabolic genes and TPH removal efficiency. During the bioremediation, the number of TPH and alkanes degrading strains was higher than the number of aromatic degrading strains. The results of PCR-DGGE showed microbial inoculums could enhance microbial community functional diversity. These results contribute to understand the ecologically microbial effects during the bioremediation of petroleum-polluted soil.

  3. Geochemistry of U and Th and its Influence on the Origin and Evolution of the Crust of Earth and the Biological Evolution

    CERN Document Server

    Bao, Xuezhao


    We have investigated the migration behaviors of uranium (U) and thorium (Th) in the Earth and other terrestrial planets. Theoretical models of U and Th migration have been proposed. These models suggest that the unique features of the Earth are closely connected with its unique U and Th migration models and distribution patterns. In the Earth, U and Th can combine with oxidative volatile components and water, migrate up to the asthenosphere position to form an enrichment zone (EZ) of U and Th first, and then migrate up further to the crusts through magmatism and metamorphism. We emphasize that the formation of an EZ of U, Th and other heat-producing elements is a prerequisite for the formation of a plate tectonic system. The heat-producing elements, currently mainly U and Th, in the EZ are also the energy sources that drive the formation and evolution of the crust of Earth and create special granitic continental crusts. In other terrestrial planets, including Mercury, Venus, and Mars, an EZ can not be formed ...

  4. Long-term organic farming fosters below and aboveground biota: Implications for soil quality, biological control and productivity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Birkhofer, K.; Bezemer, T.M.; Bloem, J.; Bonkowski, M.; Christensen, S.; Dubois, D.; Ekelund, F.; Fliessbach, A.; Gunst, L.; Hedlund, K.; Mäder, P.; Mikola, J.; Robin, C.; Setälä, H.; Tatin-Froux, F.; Putten, van der W.H.; Scheu, S.


    Organic farming may contribute substantially to future agricultural production worldwide by improving soil quality and pest control, thereby reducing environmental impacts of conventional farming. We investigated in a comprehensive way soil chemical, as well as below and aboveground biological param

  5. Short-term effects of different organic amendments on soil chemical, biochemical and biological indicators (United States)

    Mondelli, Donato; Aly, Adel; Yirga Dagnachew, Ababu; Piscitelli, Lea; Dumontet, Stefano; Miano, Teodoro


    The limited availability of animal manure and the high cost of good quality compost lead to difficult soil quality management under organic agriculture. Therefore, it is important to find out alternative organic soil amendments and more flexible strategies that are able to sustain crop productivity and maintain and enhance soil quality. A three years study was carried out in the experimental fields of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari located in Valenzano, Italy. The main objective of this research is to investigate the effects of different fertility management strategies on soil quality in order to estimate the role of innovative matrices for their use in organic farming. The experiment consists of seven treatments applied to a common crop rotation. The treatments include alternative organic amendments (1- olive mill wastewater OMW, 2- residues of mushroom cultivation MUS, 3- coffee chaff COF), common soil amendments (4- compost COM, 5- faba bean intercropping LEG, 6- cow manure - MAN) and as a reference treatment (7- mineral fertilizer COV). The soil quality was assessed before and after the application of the treatments, through biological (microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen, soil respiration and metabolic quotient), biochemical (soil enzymatic activities: β-glucosidase, alkaline phospatase, urease, fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolysis), and chemical (pH, soil organic carbon, soil organic matter, total nitrogen, available phosphorous, exchangeable potassium, dissolved organic carbon and total dissolved nitrogen) indicators. Based on the results obtained after the second year, all treatments were able to improve various soil chemical parameters as compared to mineral fertilizer. The incorporation of COF and OMW seemed to be more effective in improving soil total N and exchangeable K, while MAN significantly increased available P. All the amendments enhance dissolved organic C, soil respiration, microbial biomass and metabolic quotient as

  6. Effects of transgenic Bt cotton on soil fertility and biology under field conditions in subtropical inceptisol. (United States)

    Singh, Raman Jeet; Ahlawat, I P S; Singh, Surender


    Although there is large-scale adoption of Bt cotton by the farmers because of immediate financial gain, there is concern that Bt crops release Bt toxins into the soil environment which reduces soil chemical and biological activities. However, the majorities of such studies were mainly performed under pot experiments, relatively little research has examined the direct and indirect effects of associated cover crop of peanut with fertilization by combined application of organic and inorganic sources of nitrogen under field conditions. We compared soil chemical and biological parameters of Bt cotton with pure crop of peanut to arrive on a valid conclusion. Significantly higher dehydrogenase enzyme activity and KMnO(4)-N content of soil were observed in Bt cotton with cover crop of peanut over pure Bt cotton followed by pure peanut at all the crop growth stages. However, higher microbial population was maintained by pure peanut over intercropped Bt cotton, but these differences were related to the presence of high amount of KMnO(4)-N content of soil. By growing cover crop of peanut between Bt cotton rows, bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes population increased by 60%, 14%, and 10%, respectively, over Bt cotton alone. Bt cotton fertilized by combined application of urea and farm yard manure (FYM) maintained higher dehydrogenase enzyme activity, KMnO(4)-N content of soil and microbial population over urea alone. Significant positive correlations were observed for dry matter accumulation, dehydrogenase enzyme activity, KMnO(4)-N content, and microbial population of soil of Bt cotton, which indicates no harmful effects of Bt cotton on soil biological parameters and associated cover crop. Our results suggest that inclusion of cover crop of peanut and FYM in Bt cotton enhanced soil chemical and biological parameters which can mask any negative effect of the Bt toxin on microbial activity and thus on enzymatic activities.

  7. Chemical and biological attributes of a lowland soil affected by land leveling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Maria Barbat Parfitt


    Full Text Available The objective of this work was to evaluate the relationship between soil chemical and biological attributes and the magnitude of cuts and fills after the land leveling process of a lowland soil. Soil samples were collected from the 0 - 0.20 m layer, before and after leveling, on a 100 point grid established in the experimental area, to evaluate chemical attributes and soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC. Leveling operations altered the magnitude of soil chemical and biological attributes. Values of Ca, Mg, S, cation exchange capacity, Mn, P, Zn, and soil organic matter (SOM decreased in the soil profile, whereas Al, K, and MBC increased after leveling. Land leveling decreased in 20% SOM average content in the 0 - 0.20 m layer. The great majority of the chemical attributes did not show relations between their values and the magnitude of cuts and fills. The relation was quadratic for SOM, P, and total N, and was linear for K, showing a positive slope and indicating increase in the magnitude of these attributes in cut areas and stability in fill areas. The relationships between these chemical attributes and the magnitude of cuts and fills indicate that the land leveling map may be a useful tool for degraded soil recuperation through amendments and organic fertilizers.

  8. Urban and industrial land uses have a higher soil biological quality than expected from physicochemical quality. (United States)

    Joimel, Sophie; Schwartz, Christophe; Hedde, Mickaël; Kiyota, Sayuri; Krogh, Paul Henning; Nahmani, Johanne; Pérès, Guénola; Vergnes, Alan; Cortet, Jérôme


    Despite their importance both in soil functioning and as soil indicators, the response of microarthropods to various land uses is still unclear. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of land use on microarthropod diversity and determine whether a soil's biological quality follows the same physicochemical quality-based gradient from forest, agriculture-grassland, agriculture-arable land, vineyards, urban vegetable gardens to urban, industrial, traffic, mining and military areas. A database compiling the characteristics of 758 communities has been established. We calculated Collembola community indices including: species richness, Pielou's evenness index, collembolan life forms, the abundance of Collembola and of Acari, the Acari/Collembola abundance ratio, and the Collembolan ecomorphological index. Results show that agricultural land use was the most harmful for soil microarthropod biodiversity, whilst urban and industrial land uses give the same level of soil biological quality as forests do. Furthermore, differences between the proportions of Acari and ecomorphological groups were observed between land uses. This study, defining soil microarthropod diversity baselines for current land uses, should therefore help in managing and preserving soil microarthropod biodiversity, especially by supporting the preservation of soil quality.

  9. Influence of organic fertilizer Biopro- ferm on ecological, biological and agrochemical properties of soil and winter wheat productivity


    V. Gnydjuk


    Results of research on the effect of organic fertilizer Bioproferm obtained by biological fermentation of organic wastes of livestock and poultry facilities, environmental, biological and agrochemical soil properties and productivity of winter wheat

  10. Phytoecological indicators for biological recultivation of soils polluted with oil in the Absheron peninsula

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. M. Gurbanov


    Full Text Available Phytoecological indicators of polluted soils of Amirov Oil-and-Gas Production Department (Garadag district,Baku were studied. Phytocenological and biomorphological analysis of flora was done with the aim of further biological rehabilitation of Absheron peninsula. Oil products (black oil, boring waters, etc. pollution turns the plant cover into a dead mass. Decontamination of soil and rehabilitation of microbial community improve the soil’s fertility. Wild and cultured plant indicators may be used in biopurification of the soils polluted with oil products. Sowing of the fodder crops followed by the technical remediation forms the clean areas of higher productivity.

  11. Key Factors Influencing Rapid Development of Potentially Dune-Stabilizing Moss-Dominated Crusts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chongfeng Bu

    Full Text Available Biological soil crusts (BSCs are a widespread photosynthetic ground cover in arid and semiarid areas. They have many positive ecological functions, such as increasing soil stability, and reducing water and wind erosion. Using artificial technology to achieve the rapid development of BSCs is expected to become a low-cost and highly beneficial ecological restoration measure. In the present study, typical moss-dominated crusts in a region characterized by mobile dunes (Mu Us Sandland, China were collected, and a 40-day cultivation experiment was performed to investigate key factors, including watering frequency, light intensity and a nutrient addition, which affect the rapid development of moss crusts and their optimal combination. The results demonstrated that watering frequency and illumination had a significant positive effect (P=0.049, three-factor ANOVA and a highly significant, complicated effect (P=0.000, three-factor ANOVA, respectively, on the plant density of bryophytes, and a highly significant positive effect on the chlorophyll a and exopolysaccharide contents (P=0.000, P=0.000; P=0.000, P=0.000; one-way ANOVA. Knop nutrient solution did not have a significant positive but rather negative effect on the promotion of moss-dominated crust development (P=0.270, three-factor ANOVA. Moss-dominated crusts treated with the combination of moderate-intensity light (6,000 lx + high watering frequency (1 watering/2 days - Knop had the highest moss plant densities, while the treatment with high-intensity light (12,000 lx + high watering frequency (1 watering/2 days + Knop nutrient solution had higher chlorophyll a contents than that under other treatments. It is entirely feasible to achieve the rapid development of moss crusts under laboratory conditions by regulating key factors and creating the right environment. Future applications may seek to use cultured bryophytes to control erosion in vulnerable areas with urgent needs.

  12. Biological availability and environmental behaviour of Rare Earth Elements in soils of Hesse, Central Germany (United States)

    Loell, M.; Duering, R.-A.; Felix-Henningsen, P.


    Rare earth elements (REEs) comprise a group of 17 transition metals with very similar chemical and physical properties. They include the elements scandium (Sc), yttrium (Y) and lanthanum (La) and the 14 elements (cerium to lutetium) that follow La in the periodic table. Their average abundance in the earth's crust varies from 0,01 to 0,02% so they are as common as Cu and Pb. Beside their widespread use in industry, REEs are applied in Chinese agriculture. Their beneficial effects both on crop yield and on animal production are reported in various investigations. As a result - by using microelement fertilisers and manure - REEs enter the pedosphere while their fate and behaviour in the environment up to now remains unexamined. The first aim of our investigation was to evaluate the concentration of REEs in agricultural used soils in central Germany (Hesse) by ICP-MS. In addition to their total concentration (aqua regia digestion) their bioavailable contents - determined by EDTA (potentially available fraction) and ammonium nitrate extraction (mobile fraction) - were analysed. The occurrence of the three REE fractions in different soils will be discussed and influencing soil properties (e.g. pH-value, content of clay and organic carbon) will be revealed. Additionally the uptake of REEs by grassland plants was determined and resulting transfer factors will be presented.

  13. Systematically biological prioritizing remediation sites based on datasets of biological investigations and heavy metals in soil (United States)

    Lin, Wei-Chih; Lin, Yu-Pin; Anthony, Johnathen


    Heavy metal pollution has adverse effects on not only the focal invertebrate species of this study, such as reduction in pupa weight and increased larval mortality, but also on the higher trophic level organisms which feed on them, either directly or indirectly, through the process of biomagnification. Despite this, few studies regarding remediation prioritization take species distribution or biological conservation priorities into consideration. This study develops a novel approach for delineating sites which are both contaminated by any of 5 readily bioaccumulated heavy metal soil contaminants and are of high ecological importance for the highly mobile, low trophic level focal species. The conservation priority of each site was based on the projected distributions of 6 moth species simulated via the presence-only maximum entropy species distribution model followed by the subsequent application of a systematic conservation tool. In order to increase the number of available samples, we also integrated crowd-sourced data with professionally-collected data via a novel optimization procedure based on a simulated annealing algorithm. This integration procedure was important since while crowd-sourced data can drastically increase the number of data samples available to ecologists, still the quality or reliability of crowd-sourced data can be called into question, adding yet another source of uncertainty in projecting species distributions. The optimization method screens crowd-sourced data in terms of the environmental variables which correspond to professionally-collected data. The sample distribution data was derived from two different sources, including the EnjoyMoths project in Taiwan (crowd-sourced data) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) ?eld data (professional data). The distributions of heavy metal concentrations were generated via 1000 iterations of a geostatistical co-simulation approach. The uncertainties in distributions of the heavy

  14. Tree species traits influence soil physical, chemical, and biological properties in high elevation forests.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edward Ayres

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that plants often have species-specific effects on soil properties. In high elevation forests in the Southern Rocky Mountains, North America, areas that are dominated by a single tree species are often adjacent to areas dominated by another tree species. Here, we assessed soil properties beneath adjacent stands of trembling aspen, lodgepole pine, and Engelmann spruce, which are dominant tree species in this region and are distributed widely in North America. We hypothesized that soil properties would differ among stands dominated by different tree species and expected that aspen stands would have higher soil temperatures due to their open structure, which, combined with higher quality litter, would result in increased soil respiration rates, nitrogen availability, and microbial biomass, and differences in soil faunal community composition. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We assessed soil physical, chemical, and biological properties at four sites where stands of aspen, pine, and spruce occurred in close proximity to one-another in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Leaf litter quality differed among the tree species, with the highest nitrogen (N concentration and lowest lignin:N in aspen litter. Nitrogen concentration was similar in pine and spruce litter, but lignin:N was highest in pine litter. Soil temperature and moisture were highest in aspen stands, which, in combination with higher litter quality, probably contributed to faster soil respiration rates from stands of aspen. Soil carbon and N content, ammonium concentration, and microbial biomass did not differ among tree species, but nitrate concentration was highest in aspen soil and lowest in spruce soil. In addition, soil fungal, bacterial, and nematode community composition and rotifer, collembolan, and mesostigmatid mite abundance differed among the tree species, while the total abundance of nematodes, tardigrades, oribatid mites, and prostigmatid

  15. Biological nitrogen fixation by lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) in acid soils.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pijnenborg, J.W.M.


    Growth of lucerne( Medicago sativa L.) is poor in soils with values of pH-H2O below 6. This is often due to nitrogen deficiency, resulting from a hampered performance of the symbiosis withRhizobium meliloti. This thesis deals with the factors affecting biological nitrogen fixat

  16. Weak Solution to a Parabolic Nonlinear System Arising in Biological Dynamic in the Soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Côme Goudjo


    Full Text Available We study a nonlinear parabolic system governing the biological dynamic in the soil. We prove global existence (in time and uniqueness of weak and positive solution for this reaction-diffusion semilinear system in a bounded domain, completed with homogeneous Neumann boundary conditions and positive initial conditions.

  17. Flush of CO2 as a biologically based tool to predict nitrogen mineralization from soil (United States)

    A biologically based tool to improve nitrogen (N) management in cereal crops is currently lacking from soil testing programs, but very much needed to optimize N fertilizer inputs to be able apply enough N fertilizer to achieve high production and avoid excess application that is damaging to the envi...


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lychman V. A.


    Full Text Available The results of a long-term research of the influence of various biologically active agents (a humic preparation Lignogumat and microbiological Baikal EM fertilizer on a structural state and the enzymatic activity of ordinary carbonated black soil are presented. It has been established that biologically active substances contribute to increased enzymatic activity, humus and improve the soil structure

  19. Evaluating the biological activity of oil-polluted soils using a complex index (United States)

    Kabirov, R. R.; Kireeva, N. A.; Kabirov, T. R.; Dubovik, I. Ye.; Yakupova, A. B.; Safiullina, L. M.


    A complex index characterizing the biological activity of soils (BAS) is suggested. It is based on an estimate of the level of activity of catalase; the number of heterotrophic and hydrocarbon oxidizing microorganisms, microscopic fungi, algae, and cyanobacteria; and the degree of development of higher plants and insects in the studied soil. The data on using the BAS coefficient for evaluating the efficiency of rehabilitation measures for oil-polluted soils are given. Such measures included introducing the following biological preparations: Lenoil based on a natural consortium of microorganisms Bacillus brevis and Arthrobacter sp.; the Azolen biofertilizer with complex action based on Azotobacter vinelandii; the Belvitamil biopreparation, which is the active silt of pulp and paper production; and a ready-mixed industrial association of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms that contains hydrocarbon oxidizing microorganisms of the Arthrobacter, Bacillus, Candida, Desulfovibrio, and Pseudomonas genera.

  20. Selecting cost effective and policy-relevant biological indicators for European monitoring of soil biodiversity and ecosystem function

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Griffiths, B.S.; Römbke, J.; Schmelz, R.M.; Scheffczyk, A.; Faber, J.H.; Bloem, J.; Peres, G.; Cluzeau, D.; Chabbi, A.; Suhadolc, M.; Sousa, J.P.; Silva, da P.M.; Carvalho, F.; Mendes, S.; Morais, P.; Francisco, R.; Pereira, C.; Bonkowski, M.; Geisen, Stefan; Bardgetti, R.D.; Vries, De F.T.; Bolger, T.; Dirilgen, T.; Schmidt, O.; Winding, Anne; Hendriksen, Nicolien; Johansen, A.; Philippot, L.; Plassart, P.; Bru, D.; Thomson, B.M.; Griffiths, R.I.; Bailey, Megan; Keith, A.; Rutgers, M.; Mulder, Christian; Hannula, S.E.; Creamer, Rachel; Stone, D.


    Soils provide many ecosystem services that are ultimately dependent on the local diversity and belowground abundance of organisms. Soil biodiversity is affected negatively by many threats and there is a perceived policy requirement for the effective biological monitoring of soils at the European lev

  1. Selecting cost effective and policy-relevant biological indicators for European monitoring of soil biodiversity and ecosystem function

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Griffiths, B.s.; Römbke, J.; Schmelz, R.m.; Scheffczyk, A.; Faber, J.h.; Bloem, Jaap; Pérès, G.; Cluzeau, D.; Chabbi, A.; Suhadolc, M.; Sousa, J.p.; Martins Da Silva, P.; Carvalho, F.; Mendes, S.; Morais, P.; Francisco, R.; Pereira, C.; Bonkowski, M.; Geisen, S.; Bardgett, R.d.; De Vries, F.t.; Bolger, T.; Dirilgen, T.; Schmidt, O.; Winding, A.; Hendriksen, N.b.; Johansen, A.; Philippot, L.; Plassart, P.; Bru, D.; Thomson, B.; Griffiths, R.i.; Bailey, M.j.; Keith, A.; Rutgers, M.; Mulder, C.; Hannula, S.e.; Creamer, R.; Stone, D.


    Soils provide many ecosystem services that are ultimately dependent on the local diversity and below ground abundance of organisms. Soil biodiversity is affected negatively by many threats and there is a perceived policy requirement for the effective biological monitoring of soils at the European le

  2. Does the different mowing regime affect soil biological activity and floristic composition of thermophilous Pieniny meadow? (United States)

    Józefowska, Agnieszka; Zaleski, Tomasz; Zarzycki, Jan


    The study area was located in the Pieniny National Park in the Carpathian Mountain (Southern Poland). About 30% of Park's area is covered by meadows. The climax stage of this area is forest. Therefore extensive use is indispensable action to keep semi-natural grassland such as termophilous Pieniny meadows, which are characterized by a very high biodiversity. The purpose of this research was to answer the question, how the different way of mowing: traditional scything (H), and mechanical mowing (M) or abandonment of mowing (N) effect on the biological activity of soil. Soil biological activity has been expressed by microbial and soil fauna activity. Microbial activity was described directly by count of microorganisms and indirectly by enzymatic activity (dehydrogenase - DHA) and the microbial biomass carbon content (MBC). Enchytraeidae and Lumbricidae were chosen as representatives of soil fauna. Density and species diversity of this Oligochaeta was determined. Samples were collected twice in June (before mowing) and in September (after mowing). Basic soil properties, such as pH value, organic carbon and nitrogen content, moisture and temperature, were determined. Mean count of vegetative bacteria forms, fungi and Actinobacteria was higher in H than M and N. Amount of bacteria connected with nitrification and denitrification process and Clostridium pasteurianum was the highest in soil where mowing was discontinued 11 years ago. The microbial activity measured indirectly by MBC and DHA indicated that the M had the highest activity. The soil biological activity in second term of sampling had generally higher activity than soil collected in June. That was probably connected with highest organic carbon content in soil resulting from mowing and the end of growing season. Higher earthworm density was in mowing soil (220 and 208 individuals m-2 in H and M respectively) compare to non-mowing one (77 ind. m-2). The density of Enchytraeidae was inversely, the higher density

  3. A theoretical framework for biological control of soil-borne plant pathogens: Identifying effective strategies. (United States)

    Cunniffe, Nik J; Gilligan, Christopher A


    We develop and analyse a flexible compartmental model of the interaction between a plant host, a soil-borne pathogen and a microbial antagonist, for use in optimising biological control. By extracting invasion and persistence thresholds of host, pathogen and biological control agent, performing an equilibrium analysis, and numerical investigation of sensitivity to parameters and initial conditions, we determine criteria for successful biological control. We identify conditions for biological control (i) to prevent a pathogen entering a system, (ii) to eradicate a pathogen that is already present and, if that is not possible, (iii) to reduce the density of the pathogen. Control depends upon the epidemiology of the pathogen and how efficiently the antagonist can colonise particular habitats (i.e. healthy tissue, infected tissue and/or soil-borne inoculum). A sharp transition between totally effective control (i.e. eradication of the pathogen) and totally ineffective control can follow slight changes in biologically interpretable parameters or to the initial amounts of pathogen and biological control agent present. Effective biological control requires careful matching of antagonists to pathosystems. For preventative/eradicative control, antagonists must colonise susceptible hosts. However, for reduction in disease prevalence, the range of habitat is less important than the antagonist's bulking-up efficiency.

  4. Stabilization of labile organic C along a chronosequence of soil development: mineralogical vs. biological controls (United States)

    McFarland, J. W.; Waldrop, M. P.; Strawn, D.; Harden, J. W.


    Soil organic matter (SOM) represents an important reservoir for carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and other essential nutrients. Consequently, variation in SOM turnover rates regulates resource availability for soil microbial activity and plant growth. Long-term SOM stabilization generally involves restricted microbial access to SOM through a variety of processes including complexation with soil minerals. These organo-mineral interactions are influenced by mineral composition and texture, often related to soil age. Soil microorganisms also influence the stabilization of C inputs to the pedosphere through the production of refractory residues controlled in part by C allocation patterns during metabolism. In this study we examined, simultaneously, the contribution of these two C stabilizing mechanisms by ‘tracing’ the fate of two 13C-labeled substrates (glucose and p-hydroxybenzoic acid) along a 1600Kya chronosequence of soil development along the Cowlitz River in southwest Washington. Our objective was to evaluate the relationship between mineralogical and biological controls over C sequestration in soils. Mineralogical analyses were done using the selective dissolutions ammonium oxalate (AOD), and dithionite-citrate extraction (CBD). In this cool, humid environment, intermediate aged soils derived from the late Wisconsin Evans Creek drift (24ka) had the highest AOD extractable Al, Fe, and Si, indicating a higher concentration of poorly crystalline minerals relative to other terraces. Correspondingly, CBD extractable Fe increases with soil age, further supporting the idea that crystalline iron oxides are also more prevalent with weathering. Turnover of both 13C-labeled substrates was rapid (< 12.5 hrs) However, the proportion of substrate mineralized to CO2 varied among terraces. Mineralization to CO2 was significantly lower at 24ka than that for the other three age classes (0.25k, 220k, and 1,600k years bp), corresponding to higher recovery of 13C in bulk soil for this


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kandashova K. A.


    Full Text Available The article presents the results of laboratory modeling of gleyisation and its effect on the biological properties of soils with stagnant regime in ordinary black soils. Gleyisation is a complex biochemical process that occurs under oxygen reduction conditions. Anaerobic microorganisms, the presence of organic substances, and the constant or prolonged waterlogging of individual horizons or the entire soil profile promote gleyisation. Model experiments revealed that gleyisation increase the total number of bacteria and suppresses number of actinomycetes, micromycetes and growth of fungal mycelium. Gleyisation decreases the activity of oxidoreductases and increases the hydrolases activity. In addition, the second content of humus slightly increases and active acidity (pH changes to neutral. Accumulation of large amounts of iron oxide (II in soil is revealed

  6. Icelandic-type crust (United States)

    Foulger, G.R.; Du, Z.; Julian, B.R.


    Numerous seismic studies, in particular using receiver functions and explosion seismology, have provided a detailed picture of the structure and thickness of the crust beneath the Iceland transverse ridge. We review the results and propose a structural model that is consistent with all the observations. The upper crust is typically 7 ?? 1 km thick, heterogeneous and has high velocity gradients. The lower crust is typically 15-30 ?? 5 km thick and begins where the velocity gradient decreases radically. This generally occurs at the V p ??? 6.5 km s-1 level. A low-velocity zone ??? 10 000 km2 in area and up to ??? 15 km thick occupies the lower crust beneath central Iceland, and may represent a submerged, trapped oceanic microplate. The crust-mantle boundary is a transition zone ???5 ?? 3 km thick throughout which V p increases progressively from ???7.2 to ???8.0 km s-1. It may be gradational or a zone of alternating high- and low-velocity layers. There is no seismic evidence for melt or exceptionally high temperatures in or near this zone. Isostasy indicates that the density contrast between the lower crust and the mantle is only ???90 kg m-3 compared with ???300 kg m-3 for normal oceanic crust, indicating compositional anomalies that are as yet not understood. The seismological crust is ???30 km thick beneath the Greenland-Iceland and Iceland-Faeroe ridges, and eastern Iceland, ???20 km beneath western Iceland, and ???40 km thick beneath central Iceland. This pattern is not what is predicted for an eastward-migrating plume. Low attenuation and normal V p/V s ratios in the lower crust beneath central and southwestern Iceland, and normal uppermost mantle velocities in general, suggest that the crust and uppermost mantle are subsolidus and cooler than at equivalent depths beneath the East Pacific Rise. Seismic data from Iceland have historically been interpreted both in terms of thin-hot and thick-cold crust models, both of which have been cited as supporting the plume

  7. Soil quality evaluation following the implementation of permanent cover crops in semi-arid vineyards. Organic matter, physical and biological soil properties

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Virto, I.; Imaz, M. J.; Fernandez-Ugalde, O.; Urrutia, I.; Enrique, A.; Bescansa, P.


    Changing from conventional vineyard soil management, which includes keeping bare soil through intense tilling and herbicides, to permanent grass cover (PGC) is controversial in semi-arid land because it has agronomic and environmental advantages but it can also induce negative changes in the soil physical status. The objectives of this work were (i) gaining knowledge on the effect of PGC on the soil physical and biological quality, and (ii) identifying the most suitable soil quality indicators for vineyard calcareous soils in semi-arid land. Key soil physical, organic and biological characteristics were determined in a Cambic Calcisol with different time under PGC (1 and 5 years), and in a conventionally managed control. Correlation analysis showed a direct positive relationship between greater aggregate stability (WSA), soil-available water capacity (AWC), microbial biomass and enzymatic activity in the topsoil under PGC. Total and labile organic C concentrations (SOC and POM-C) were also correlated to microbial parameters. Factor analysis of the studied soil attributes using principal component analysis (PCA) was done to identify the most sensitive soil quality indicators. Earthworm activity, AWC, WSA, SOC and POM-C were the soil attributes with greater loadings in the two factors determined by PCA, which means that these properties can be considered adequate soil quality indicators in this agrosystem. These results indicate that both soil physical and biological attributes are different under PGC than in conventionally-managed soils, and need therefore to be evaluated when assessing the consequences of PGC on vineyard soil quality. (Author) 65 refs.

  8. Afforestation using micro-catchment water harvesting system with microphytic crust treatment on semi-arid Loess Plateau: A preliminary result

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YANG Xiao-hui; WANG Ke-qin; WANG Bin-rui; YU Chun-tang


    Water harvesting is one of main measures to solve water shortage resulting from less precipitation and erratically seasonal distribution in arid and semi-arid areas. Different types of anti-infiltration treatments including mechanical and chemical to micro-catchment and their runoff efficiencies had been reported. This paper, through 5 years experiment from 1992 to 1996, is aimed at studying the impacts of microcatchment water-harvesting system (MCWHS) with microphytic crust treatment on afforestation on semi-arid Loess Plateau. The results showed that after 3 years of crust inoculation, crust had covered majority of MCWHS and the function of water harvesting had also been demonstrated partially, there were significant difference in soil moisture of shallow soil layer in three typical spring stages between crust cover and control treatments (0.05 level), and about 0.9%-6.04% increase of monthly mean soil moisture within 1m soil layer in spring of late 3 years. The impact of severe spring drought can be alleviated effectively. In the meanwhile, as crust developed on the treated surface, there are significant differences (0.05 level) for tree height (H), diameter at breast height (DBH) and diameter at ground level (DGL) at the end of the study period (1996) with the increases by 22.38%, 17.34%, and 20.49% respectively compared with the control treatment. Microphytic crust, as one of biological infiltration-proof materials, may become the optimized option for revegetation in Chinese Great West Development Strategy due to its self-propagation, non-pollution to water qualities, long use duration and relatively cost effective. Further work should be focused on the selection of endemic crust species and their batch-culture in arid environment.

  9. Effect of Pesticides On Certain Soil Biological and Biochemical Indices of a Paddy Soil

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LIAO Min; XIE Xiao-mei; HUANG Chang-yong


    A 21-day laboratory incubation experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of pesticides (Triazophos, Butaehlor and Jinggangmycin) on a paddy field soil health under controlled moisture (flooded soil) and temperature (25℃ ) conditions. The electron transport system (ETS)/dehydrogenase activity displayed a negative correlation with pesticides concentrations, and the activity was affected adversely as the concentration of the pesticides increased. The higher doses of pesticides,5 and 10 folds field rates, significantly inhibited ETS activity, while lower rates failed to produce any significant reducing effect against the control. The relative toxicity level of pesticides in decreasing the ETS activity was in the following order:Triazophos>Jinggangmycin>Butachlor, irrespective of their rates of application. The pesticides caused an improvement in the soil phenol content and it increased with increasing the concentration of agrochemicals. The pesticide incorporation did not produce any significant change in soil protein content. The response of biomass phospholipid content was nearly similar to ETS activity. The phospholipid content was decreased with the addition of pesticides in the given order of Triazophos>Jinggangmycin>Butachlor; and the toxicity was in the order: 10 FR (times of field rate)>5 FR>1.0 FR>0.5 FR>control.

  10. Soil biological attributes in arsenic-contaminated gold mining sites after revegetation. (United States)

    Dos Santos, Jessé Valentim; de Melo Rangel, Wesley; Azarias Guimarães, Amanda; Duque Jaramillo, Paula Marcela; Rufini, Márcia; Marra, Leandro Marciano; Varón López, Maryeimy; Pereira da Silva, Michele Aparecida; Fonsêca Sousa Soares, Cláudio Roberto; de Souza Moreira, Fatima Maria


    Recovery of arsenic contaminated areas is a challenge society faces throughout the world. Revegetation associated with microbial activity can play an essential role in this process. This work investigated biological attributes in a gold mining area with different arsenic contents at different sites under two types of extant revegetation associated with cover layers of the soil: BS, Brachiaria sp. and Stizolobium sp., and LEGS, Acacia crassicarpa, A. holosericea, A. mangium, Sesbania virgata, Albizia lebbeck and Pseudosamanea guachapele. References were also evaluated, comprising the following three sites: B1, weathered sulfide substrate without revegetation; BM, barren material after gold extraction and PRNH (private reserve of natural heritage), an uncontaminated forest site near the mining area. The organic and microbial biomass carbon contents and substrate-induced respiration rates for these sites from highest to lowest were: PRNH > LEGS > BS > B1 and BM. These attributes were negatively correlated with soluble and total arsenic concentration in the soil. The sites that have undergone revegetation (LEGS and BS) had higher densities of bacteria, fungi, phosphate solubilizers and ammonium oxidizers than the sites without vegetation. Principal component analysis showed that the LEGS site grouped with PRNH, indicating that the use of leguminous species associated with an uncontaminated soil cover layer contributed to the improvement of the biological attributes. With the exception of acid phosphatase, all the biological attributes were indicators of soil recovery, particularly the following: microbial carbon, substrate-induced respiration, density of culturable bacteria, fungi and actinobacteria, phosphate solubilizers and metabolic quotient.

  11. Cementing mechanism of algal crusts from desert area

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    34-, 17-, 4-, 1.5-year old natural algal crusts were collected from Shapotou Scientific Station of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 40-day old field and greenhouse artificial algal crusts were in situ developed in the same sandy soil and the same place (37°27′N, 104°57′E). Their different cohesions both against wind force and pressure were measured respectively by a sandy wind-tunnel experiment and a penetrometer. On the basis of these algal crusts, the cementing mechanism was revealed from many subjects and different levels. The results showed that in the indoor artificial crusts with the weakest cohesion bunchy algal filaments were distributed in the surface of the crusts, produced few extracellular polymers (EPS), the binding capacity of the crusts just accomplished by mechanical bundle of algal filaments. For field crusts, most filaments grew toward the deeper layers of algal crusts, secreted much more EPS, and when organic matter content was more than 2.4 times of chlorophyll a, overmuch organic matter (primarily is EPS) began to gather onto the surface of the crusts and formed an organic layer in the relatively lower micro-area, and this made the crust cohesion increase 2.5 times. When the organic layer adsorbed and intercepted amounts of dusts, soil particles and sand grains scattered down from wind, it changed gradually into an inorganic layer in which inorganic matter dominated, and this made the crusts cohesion further enhanced 2-6 times. For crust-building species Microcoleus vaginatus, 88.5% of EPS were the acidic components, 78% were the acidic proteglycan of 380 kD. The uronic acid content accounted for 8% of proteglycan, and their free carboxyls were important sites of binding with metal cations from surrounding matrix.

  12. Impact of HydroPolymers on the soil biological components in mediterranean drylands (United States)

    Dvořáčková, Helena; Hueso González, Paloma; Záhora, Jaroslav; Mikajlo, Irina; Damián Ruiz Sinoga, Jose


    Soil degradation affects more than 52 million ha of land in counties of the European Union. This problem is particularly serious in Mediterranean areas, where the effects of anthropogenic activities (tillage on slopes, deforestation, and pasture production) add to problems caused by prolonged periods of drought and intense and irregular rainfall. Soil microbiota can be used as an indicator of the soil healthy in degraded areas. This is because soil microbiota participates in the cycle elements and in the organic matter decomposition. All this helps to the young plants establishment and in long term protect the soils against the erosion. During dry periods in the Mediterranean areas, the lack of water entering the soil matrix leads to a loss of soil microbiological activity and it turns into a lower soil production capabilities. Under these conditions, the aim of this study was to evaluate the positive effect on soil biological components produced by an hydro absorbent polymer (Terracottem). The aim of the experiment was to evaluate the impact assessment of an hydropolymer (Terracottem) on the soil biological components. An experimental flowerpot layout was established in June 2015 and 12 variants with different amount of Terracottem were applied as follow: i) 3.0 kg.m3 ; ii) 1.5 kg.m3 and; iii) 0 kg.m3. In all the variants were tested the further additives: a) 1% of glucose, b) 50 kg N.ha-1 of Mineral nitrogen, c) 1% of Glucose + 50 kg N.ha-1 of Mineral nitrogen d) control (no additive). According to natural conditions, humidity have been kept at 15% in all the variants. During four weeks, mineral nitrogen leaching and soil respiration have been measured in each flowerplot. Respiration has been quantified four times every time while moistening containers and alkaline soda lime has been used as a sorbent. The amount of CO2 increase has been measured with the sorbent. Leaching of mineral nitrogen has been quantified by ion exchange resins (IER). IER pouches have been

  13. Raising the continental crust (United States)

    Campbell, Ian H.; Davies, D. Rhodri


    The changes that occur at the boundary between the Archean and Proterozoic eons are arguably the most fundamental to affect the evolution of Earth's continental crust. The principal component of Archean continental crust is Granite-Greenstone Terranes (GGTs), with granites always dominant. The greenstones consist of a lower sequence of submarine komatiites and basalts, which erupted onto a pre-existing Tonalite-Trondhjemite-Granodiorite (TTG) crust. These basaltic rocks pass upwards initially into evolved volcanic rocks, such as andesites and dacites and, subsequently, into reworked felsic pyroclastic material and immature sediments. This transition coincides with widespread emplacement of granitoids, which stabilised (cratonised) the continental crust. Proterozoic supra-crustal rocks, on the other hand, are dominated by extensive flat-lying platform sequences of mature sediments, which were deposited on stable cratonic basements, with basaltic rocks appreciably less abundant. The siliceous TTGs cannot be produced by direct melting of the mantle, with most hypotheses for their origin requiring them to be underlain by a complimentary dense amphibole-garnet-pyroxenite root, which we suggest acted as ballast to the early continents. Ubiquitous continental pillow basalts in Archean lower greenstone sequences require the early continental crust to have been sub-marine, whereas the appearance of abundant clastic sediments, at higher stratigraphic levels, shows that it had emerged above sea level by the time of sedimentation. We hypothesise that the production of komatiites and associated basalts, the rise of the continental crust, widespread melting of the continental crust, the onset of sedimentation and subsequent cratonisation form a continuum that is the direct result of removal of the continent's dense amphibole-garnet-pyroxenite roots, triggered at a regional scale by the arrival of a mantle plume at the base of the lithosphere. Our idealised calculations suggest

  14. [Soil biological activities at maize seedling stage under application of slow/controlled release nitrogen fertilizers]. (United States)

    Li, Dongpo; Wu, Zhijie; Chen, Lijun; Liang, Chenghua; Zhang, Lili; Wang, Weicheng; Yang, Defu


    With pot experiment and simulating field ecological environment, this paper studied the effects of different slow/ controlled release N fertilizers on the soil nitrate - reductase and urease activities and microbial biomass C and N at maize seedling stage. The results showed that granular urea amended with dicyandiamide (DCD) and N-(n-bultyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT) induced the highest soil nitrate-reductase activity, granular urea brought about the highest soil urease activity and microbial biomass C and N, while starch acetate (SA)-coated granular urea, SA-coated granular urea amended with DCD, methyl methacrylate (MMA) -coated granular urea amended with DCD, and no N fertilization gave a higher soil urease activity. Soil microbial C and N had a similar variation trend after applying various kinds of test slow/controlled release N fertilizers, and were the lowest after applying SA-coated granular urea amended with DCD and NBPT. Coated granular urea amended with inhibitors had a stronger effect on soil biological activities than coated granular urea, and MMA-coating had a better effect than SA-coating.

  15. Effect of leguminous cover crops on soil biological activity in pots of Citrus unshiu Marcovitch

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Abbate


    Full Text Available Little is known about the effects of cover crops on soil properties in citrus orchards. To fill this gap, this work was aimed to determine the effects of leguminous cover crops on the chemical and biological properties of the soil and on the structure of the microbial community in pots of Citrus unshiu (Marcovitch. After amendment with cover crops, an increase in total organic C (TOC, total extractable C (TEC, and total N (TN contents were observed irrespective of the type of soil. Substrate induced respiration (SIR, and potentially mineralisable nitrogen (PMN, tested three times in one year, were higher in soils with leguminous cover crops while no significant differences were observed in protease and deaminase activity. The effect on the chemical and biochemical properties of the soil was more evident in plots containing Trifolium subterraneum. No changes were observed in the microbial communities studied (_-proteobacteria, _-proteobacteria, nitrogen-fixing, and ammonia oxidizers irrespective of the kind of cover crop or type of soil, neither were variations noted during the trial.

  16. [Effects of biological organic fertilizer on microbial community's metabolic activity in a soil planted with chestnut (Castanea mollissima)]. (United States)

    Chen, Lin; Gu, Jie; Hu, Ting; Gao, Hua; Chen, Zhi-Xue; Qin, Qing-Jun; Wang, Xiao-Juan


    A field experiment was conducted in Zhashui County of Shaanxi Province, Northwest China in 2011 to study the effects of biological organic fertilizer on the microbial community's metabolic activity in a soil planted with chestnut (Castanea mollissima). Three treatments were installed, i. e., control, compound fertilizer, and biological organic fertilizer. Soil samples were collected at harvest, and the metabolic activity was tested by Biolog method. In the treatment of biological organic fertilizer, the average well color development, Shannon evenness, richness, and McIntosh indices of microbial community were all significantly higher than the other two treatments. As compared with the control, applying biological organic fertilizer improved the ability of soil microbes in utilizing the carbon sources of carbohydrates and polymers, while applying compound fertilizer was in opposite. The principal component analysis demonstrated that there was an obvious difference in the soil microbial community among different treatments, mainly depending on the species of carbohydrates and amino acids.

  17. [Effects of biological regulated measures on active organic carbon and erosion-resistance in the Three Gorges Reservoir region soil]. (United States)

    Huang, Ru; Huang, Lin; He, Bing-Hui; Zhou, Li-Jiang; Yu, Chuan; Wang, Feng


    To gain a better knowledge of characteristics of soils and provide a scientific basis for soil erosion control in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, contents of aggregates and total soil organic carbon (SOC), as well as soil active organic carbon fractions including particulate organic carbon (POC), readily oxidized organic carbon (ROC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), microbial biomass carbon (MBC) in the 0-30 cm soil layer under seven different biological regulated measures were studied by the field investigation combined with the laboratory analysis. Results showed that the content of the SOC and active organic carbon fractions decreased with the increasing soil depth; the content of the SOC and active organic carbon fractions in 0-10 cm was significantly higher than that in 20-30 cm. The stability of soil aggregates were also significantly influenced by biological regulated measures, the content of > 0.25 mm water-stable aggregates in seven types of biological regulated measures was in the order of Koelreuteria bipinnata + Cassia suffruticasa > hedgerows > closed forest > natural restoration > economic forest > traditional planting > control plot, moreover, the content of 0.25 mm water-stable aggregates correlated positively with the content of SOC. Soils under different biological regulated measures all demonstrated fractal features, and soil under the measure of Koelreuteria bipinnata + Cassia suffruticasa was found to have the lowest value of fractal dimension and soil erodiable K, indicating a relatively strong structure stability and erosion-resistant capacity. Negative correlation was observed when compared the content of active organic carbon fractions with the soil erodiable K. It can be concluded that properties of soil can be managed through biological regulated measures; thence had an influence on the soil erosion-resistant capacity.

  18. Assessing Soil Biological Properties of Natural and Planted Forests in the Malaysian Tropical Lowland Dipterocarp Forest

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daljit S. Karam


    Full Text Available Problem statement: A study was conducted to evaluate and compare the soil biological properties of a natural forest and an 18-year-old stand of Shorea leprosula in Chikus Forest Reserve, Perak, Malaysia. Approach: Soils were sampled at depths of 0-15 cm (topsoil and 15-30 cm (subsoil in six subplots (20×20 m of natural forest (C1 and of a planted S. leprosula (C2 plot. Fresh composite soil samples were kept in UV-sterilized polyethylene bags prior to analysis in the laboratory. The microbial population count was determined using a spread-plate count technique. The microbial enzymatic activity was elucidated using a Fluorescein Diacetate (FDA hydrolysis assay; microbial biomass was extracted using a rapid chloroform fumigation extraction method. The Microbial Biomass C (MBC was determined by wet dichromate oxidation; Kjeldahl digestion and a distillation method were used for evaluation of Microbial Biomass N (MBN. Results: Results indicate that only the microbial biomass N and the population count in the soil at the 0-15 cm depth were found to be higher in C1 compared to C2. The higher microbial population count in the soil at the 0-15 cm depth of C1 compared to C2 was enhanced by the large amount of organic matter that serves as a suitable medium for soil microbial growth. The higher MBN in the C1 soil was also influenced by the high content of organic material available that encourages activities of decomposing bacteria to take place. Similarities in the soil biological properties of the plots with regard to enzymatic activity and microbial biomass Care believed to be influenced by the same topographic gradient. The higher MBC/MBN ratios found in soils of C2 compared to C1 were due to the low availability of N compared to C, might result from N utilization by soil microbes for organic material decomposition. Conclusion: There are similarities in microbial enzymatic activity and biomass C, but not in microbial population counts and biomass N


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Małgorzata Koncewicz-Baran


    Full Text Available A great variety of sewage sludge treatment methods, due to the agent (chemical, biological, thermal leads to the formation of varying ‘products’ properties, including the content of heavy metals forms. The aim of the study was to determine the effects of biologically and thermally transformed sewage sludge on the manganese content in plants and form of this element in the soil. The study was based on a two-year pot experiment. In this study was used stabilized sewage sludge collected from Wastewater Treatment Plant Krakow – ”Płaszów” and its mixtures with wheat straw in the gravimetric ratio 1:1 in conversion to material dry matter, transformed biologically (composting by 117 days in a bioreactor and thermally (in the furnace chamber with no air access by the following procedure exposed to temperatures of 130 °C for 40 min → 200 °C for 30 min. In both years of the study biologically and thermally transformed mixtures of sewage sludge with wheat straw demonstrated similar impact on the amount of biomass plants to the pig manure. Bigger amounts of manganese were assessed in oat biomass than in spring rape biomass. The applied sewage sludge and its biologically and thermally converted mixtures did not significantly affect manganese content in plant biomass in comparison with the farmyard manure. The applied fertilization did not modify the values of translocation and bioaccumulation ratios of manganese in the above-ground parts and roots of spring rape and oat. No increase in the content of the available to plants forms of manganese in the soil after applying biologically and thermally transformed sewage sludge mixtures with straw was detected. In the second year, lower contents of these manganese forms were noted in the soil of all objects compared with the first year of the experiment.

  20. Microbial diversity and structure are drivers of the biological barrier effect against Listeria monocytogenes in soil. (United States)

    Vivant, Anne-Laure; Garmyn, Dominique; Maron, Pierre-Alain; Nowak, Virginie; Piveteau, Pascal


    Understanding the ecology of pathogenic organisms is important in order to monitor their transmission in the environment and the related health hazards. We investigated the relationship between soil microbial diversity and the barrier effect against Listeria monocytogenes invasion. By using a dilution-to-extinction approach, we analysed the consequence of eroding microbial diversity on L. monocytogenes population dynamics under standardised conditions of abiotic parameters and microbial abundance in soil microcosms. We demonstrated that highly diverse soil microbial communities act as a biological barrier against L. monocytogenes invasion and that phylogenetic composition of the community also has to be considered. This suggests that erosion of diversity may have damaging effects regarding circulation of pathogenic microorganisms in the environment.

  1. The validation of forensic DNA extraction systems to utilize soil contaminated biological evidence. (United States)

    Kasu, Mohaimin; Shires, Karen


    The production of full DNA profiles from biological evidence found in soil has a high failure rate due largely to the inhibitory substance humic acid (HA). Abundant in various natural soils, HA co-extracts with DNA during extraction and inhibits DNA profiling by binding to the molecular components of the genotyping assay. To successfully utilize traces of soil contaminated evidence, such as that found at many murder and rape crime scenes in South Africa, a reliable HA removal extraction system would often be selected based on previous validation studies. However, for many standard forensic DNA extraction systems, peer-reviewed publications detailing the efficacy on soil evidence is either lacking or is incomplete. Consequently, these sample types are often not collected or fail to yield suitable DNA material due to the use of unsuitable methodology. The aim of this study was to validate the common forensic DNA collection and extraction systems used in South Africa, namely DNA IQ, FTA elute and Nucleosave for processing blood and saliva contaminated with HA. A forensic appropriate volume of biological evidence was spiked with HA (0, 0.5, 1.5 and 2.5 mg/ml) and processed through each extraction protocol for the evaluation of HA removal using QPCR and STR-genotyping. The DNA IQ magnetic bead system effectively removed HA from highly contaminated blood and saliva, and generated consistently acceptable STR profiles from both artificially spiked samples and crude soil samples. This system is highly recommended for use on soil-contaminated evidence over the cellulose card-based systems currently being preferentially used for DNA sample collection.

  2. Biological quality of soils containing hydrocarbons and efficacy of ecological risk reduction by bioremediation alternatives

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stewart, A.J.; Napolitano, G.E.; Sample, B.E.


    This project provides technical support to the Petroleum Environmental Research Forum (PERF; a consortium of petroleum companies) on environmentally acceptable endpoints that may be used to help assess the ecological risk of petroleum hydrocarbon residuals in soils. The project, was designed in consultation with PERF representatives and focuses on the relationship between {open_quotes}chemically available{close_quotes} and {open_quotes}biologically available{close_quotes} measurements of petroleum hydrocarbon compounds in soils, a discrepancy of considerable interest to the petroleum industry. Presently, clean-up standards for soils contaminated with total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) constituents are based on concentrations of TPH, as measured in solvent extracts of soil samples. Interestingly, TPH includes a complex mixture of compounds which differ from one another in molecular weight and toxicity. Based on various studies with insecticides, herbicides and metals, some compounds apparently can slowly permeate into soil particles. If this situation occurs, the particle-embedded compounds may be extractable by use of organic solvents, and yet be unavailable biologically. This hypothesis serves as the central focus for our study. If this hypothesis is correct, then soil clean-up standards based on solvent-extractable TPH data may be more stringent than necessary to achieve a desired level of environmental risk. The economic significance of this possibility is considerable, because clean-up costs to achieve a low-risk status would, in most cases, be lower than those needed to achieve a standard based on present limits, which are based on measurements of {open_quotes}extractable{close_quotes} TPH.

  3. Bioremediation of oil contaminated soil from service stations. Evaluation of biological treatment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Puustinen, J.; Jorgensen, K.S.; Strandberg, T.; Suortti, A.M.


    Biological treatment of contaminated soil has received much attention during the last decade. Microbes are known to be able to degrade many oil hydrocarbons. However, research is needed to ensure that new technologies are implemented in a safe and reliable way under Finnish climatic conditions. The main points of interest are the rate of the degradation as well as the survival and efficiency of microbial inoculants possibly introduced during the treatment. During 1993 the biotreatability of oil-contaminated soil from service stations was investigated in cooperation with the Finnish Petroleum Federation. The goal of this field-scale study was to test how fast lubrication oil can be composted during one Finnish summer season and to find out whether microbial inoculants would enhance the degradation rate. The soil was excavated from three different service stations in the Helsinki metropolitan area and was transported to a controlled composting area. The soil was sieved and compost piles, also called biopiles, were constructed on the site. Bark chips were used as the bulking agent and nutrients and lime were added to enhance the biological activity. Two different commercial bacterial inoculants were added to two of the piles. The piles were turned by a tractor-drawn screw-type mixer at two to four weeks interval. Between the mixings, the piles were covered with tarpaulins to prevent evaporation and potential excessive wetting. Several microbiological parameters were determined during the test period as well as the temperature and mineral oil content

  4. The Impact of Olive Mill Wastewater on the Physicochemical and Biological Properties of Soils in Northwest Jordan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammad Wahsha


    Full Text Available Soil contamination may influence negatively soil health, which often limits and sometimes disqualifies soil biodiversity and decreases plant growth. Soil health is the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital living system, providing essential ecosystem services. Within soils, all bio-geo-chemical processes of the different ecosystem components are combined. These processes are able to sustain biological productivity of soil, to maintain the quality of surrounding air and water environments, as well as to promote plant, animal, and human health. A common criterion to evaluate long term sustainability of ecosystems is to assess the quality of soil. However, the increased concentration and distribution of toxic substances in soils by mismanagement of industrial activities, overuse of agrochemicals and waste disposal are causing worldwide concern. A major environmental concern in the Mediterranean countries is the production of the large quantities of olive oil mill wastewater (OMW produced during olive oil extraction process. OMW inhibits several groups of bacteria and fungal species, thus affecting soil stability. In the present study, we investigated the effect of OMW on the soil physical, chemical characteristics and the microarthropods structure. All soil samples were collected from an olive mill garden in Northwest Jordan. Biological soil quality index (QBS-ar values appeared to decrease with respect to soil pollution by OMW. All investigated parameters were significantly different depending on the levels of OMW contamination in soil. Anthropogenic activities influenced the microarthropod community, altering both quantity and quality of soil chemical and physical structure of the microhabitats. Preliminary data obtained in this study suggest that the application of QBS-ar index could be a useful tool for evaluating surface soils health status.

  5. The Role of Soil Biological Function in Regulating Agroecosystem Services and Sustainability in the Quesungual Agroforestry System (United States)

    Fonte, S.; Pauli, N.; Rousseau, L.; SIX, J. W. U. A.; Barrios, E.


    The Quesungual agroforestry system from western Honduras has been increasingly promoted as a promising alternative to traditional slash-and-burn agriculture in tropical dry forest regions of the Americas. Improved residue management and the lack of burning in this system can greatly impact soil biological functioning and a number of key soil-based ecosystem services, yet our understanding of these processes has not been thoroughly integrated to understand system functionality as a whole that can guide improved management. To address this gap, we present a synthesis of various field studies conducted in Central America aimed at: 1) quantifying the influence of the Quesungual agroforestry practices on soil macrofauna abundance and diversity, and 2) understanding how these organisms influence key soil-based ecosystem services that ultimately drive the success of this system. A first set of studies examined the impact of agroecosystem management on soil macrofauna populations, soil fertility and key soil processes. Results suggest that residue inputs (derived from tree biomass pruning), a lack of burning, and high tree densities, lead to conditions that support abundant, diverse soil macrofauna communities under agroforestry, with soil organic carbon content comparable to adjacent forest. Additionally, there is great potential in working with farmers to develop refined soil quality indicators for improved land management. A second line of research explored interactions between residue management and earthworms in the regulation of soil-based ecosystem services. Earthworms are the most prominent ecosystem engineers in these soils. We found that earthworms are key drivers of soil structure maintenance and the stabilization of soil organic matter within soil aggregates, and also had notable impacts on soil nutrient dynamics. However, the impact of earthworms appears to depend on residue management practices, thus indicating the need for an integrated approach for

  6. Chemical properties of soils treated with biological sludge from gelatin industry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rita de Cássia Melo Guimarães


    Full Text Available The impact of agro-industrial organic wastes in the environment can be reduced when used in agriculture. From the standpoint of soil fertility, residue applications can increase the organic matter content and provide nutrients for plants. This study evaluated the effect of biological sludge from gelatin industry on the chemical properties of two Ultisols (loamy sand and sandy clay and an Oxisol (clay. The experiment lasted 120 days and was carried out in laboratory in a completely randomized design with factorial arrangement, combining the three soils and six biological sludge rates (0, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 m³ ha-1, with three replications. Biological sludge rates of up to 500 m³ ha-1 decreased soil acidity and increased the effective cation exchange capacity (CEC and N, Ca, Mg, and P availability, without exceeding the tolerance limit for Na. The increase in exchangeable base content, greater than the effective CEC, indicates that the major part of cations added by the sludge remains in solution and can be lost by leaching.

  7. Recovery of soil base saturation following termination of N deposition: Increased biological weathering? (United States)

    Lucas, R. W.; Högberg, P.


    have been an increase in the weathering rate of base cations following the termination of N addition. Such an increase may be biologically mediated by the soil microbial community receiving increased allocation of recent photosynthate below ground following the termination of N addition and is not accounted for in current biogeochemical models.

  8. Evidence for a lack of biological P-cycling in a Cambrian soil (United States)

    Wei, Z.; Peng, Y.; Bao, H.


    The earliest fossil land plants are known to exist in the Mid-Ordovician at 472 to 468 Ma and protein sequence analyses suggest that the onset of land colonization may have begun at as early as ca. 700-1000 million years ago (Ma) . However, fully established soil ecosystem may not be in place until after the Devonian (ca. 400 Ma) or even later. Dearth of fossil record on possible fungi- and/or bacteria-dominated early land biota renders it difficult to establish the early history of land colonization on Earth. Here we present a proxy for soil biological P- cycling. Igneous rock contains typically 0.005-0.4% (wt) phosphate (PO4-3). In a biologically active soil weathering profile, phosphorus (P) is cycled by land biota including by those of the most primitive kingdoms. During, for example, pyrophosphate hydrolysis, the P-O bonds in PO4-3 breaks and exchange oxygen with ambient water. The biologically processed PO4-3 will have typically much higher δ18Ovalues (15-24‰ VSMOW) than the ones inherited from igneous sources (ca. 6‰). Therefore, an increase in the δ18OPO4 from pristine igneous rocks to the upper more weathered ones should be expected if there was an active soil biological P-cycling. An igneous-PO4 δ18O value in the more weathered rocks would otherwise indicate a lack of biologically-mediated P-cycling, thus a lack of or very limited land colonization. We examined a weathering profile in the Elk Point Formation (520-503Ma), South Dakota, a paleosol developed on a metagabbro in a subtropical climate of the Mid-Cambrian. Phosphate was extracted from a drill core of this profile and was analyzed for δ18OPO4. The δ18OPO4 for the weathered and un-weathered igneous rocks are all within a narrow range of 4.8-8.2‰, suggesting that biological P-cycling was insignificant during the weathering of Elk Point metagabbro at ca. 500 Ma. Subaerial, biologically mediated weathering probably did not play a role in geochemical cycling on Earth until much later in

  9. Biodiversity of Soil Microbes from Rhizosphere at Wamena Biological Garden (WBiG, Jayawijaya, Papua

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)



    Full Text Available The isolation, identification and population of soil microbes from rizosphere at WBiG had been done in the Soil Laboratories Microbiology, Microbiology Division, Research Center of Biology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI, Bogor. The soil was collected randomly from 16 sites in WBiG, and taken from 0-15 cm depth. Isolates of microbes were identified by Bergeys manual method for bacteria; Ellis method for fungi, and the morphology of isolate method for Actinomycetes. The population of microbes was estimated by plate count method. The result of isolation, identification and population soil microbes from 16 samples in WBiG showed that 20 isolates of bacteria (Azotobacter sp., Accinetobacter sp. , Bacillus sp., Citrobacter sp., Flavobacterium sp., Klebsiella sp., Nitrosomonas sp., Pseudomonas sp., Rhizobium sp., Thiobacillus sp., Azospirillum sp., Azotobacter chrococcum, Bacillus panthothenticus, Chromobacterium violaceum, C.lividum, Escherrrichia coli, Flavobacterium breve, Klebsiella aerogenes, Spaerotillus natans, and Staphylococcus epidermidis; nine isolates of fungi (Aspergillus niger, Bisporomyces, Monilia sp., Cephalospharium sp., Verticillum sp., Giocladium sp., Penicillium sp., Nelicocephalum sp., and Cuninghamella sp., and seven isolates of Actinomycetes (Streptomyces, Streptosporangium, Nocardia, Thermomonospora, Thermoactinomyces, Micromonospora, Mycobacterium. The population of Bacillus (108-109, Rhizobium (106-107, Azospirillum (106-107, and Thiobacillus (104 -109 were founded all of soil samples.

  10. Assessing the Soil Physiological Potential Using Pedo-Biological Diagnosis Under Minimum-Tillage System and Mineral Fertilization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lazar Bireescu


    Full Text Available The main objective of sustainable agriculture is the protection of environment and natural vegetal and soil resources. Accordingly, the objective of this research was to assess the impact of technological systems by minimum tillage on soil biological activity, using the Pedo-Biological Diagnosis of Soil Resources. Our research was conducted on haplic chernozem from Experimental Station of UASVM of Iasi, Romania, during the seasonal dynamic, to the soybean crop, on unfertilized and fertilized agrofond, using moderate mineral doses (N80P80 as average of 2009–2010 period, under minimum tillage (2x disk, paraplow, chisel compared to conventional (plugging at 20 cm and 30 cm. In the case of soil works with chisel and paraplow without return of furrow, the Pedo-Biological Diagnosis highlights an increase of soil physiological potential, in the both variants (unfertilized and fertilized, unlike the method of alternating the depth of plugging that proved to be ineffective.

  11. The influence comparing of activated biochar and conventional biochar on the soil biological properties (United States)

    Dvořáčková, Helena; Mykajlo, Irina; Záhora, Jaroslav


    In our experiment we have used biochar. This material is the product of the pyrolysis that has shown a positive effect on numerous physical and chemical soil properties. However, its influence on the biological component of the soil is very variable. A number of toxic substances that inhibit the soil productivity may be produced during pyrolysis process. The experiment dealt with the hypothesis concerning biochar toxicity reduction by simulating natural processes in the soil. Biochar has been exposed to aeration in the aquatic environment, enriched with nutrients and a source of native soil microflora. It has been created 6 variants in total, each with four replications. The soils samples have been placed in a phytotron for 90 days. Variants consisted of the soil with fertilizers adding (compost, biochar, activated biochar) and have been prepared as well as variants containing compost and biochar and activated biochar optionally. The highest aboveground biomass production has been estimated in variants containing compost, while the lowest production - in the variants containing conventional biochar. During production comparing of the variants with the conventional biochar, activated biochar and control samples it has been evident that activated biochar promotes plant growth, and in contradiction conventional biochar inhibits it. We will approach to the same conclusions when comparing variants with a combination of conventional biochar + compost and activated biochar + compost. Mineral nitrogen leaching has been another investigated parameter. The highest leaching has occurred in the control variant, while the lowest - in the variant with activated biochar (the leaching of nitrate nitrogen has been negligeable). Our results suggest that activated biochar has the potential; however, it is necessary to carry out similar experiments in the field conditions.

  12. Biological properties of soils of former forest fires in Samosir Regency of North Sumatera

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    D. Elfiati


    Full Text Available A study that was aimed to identify the impact of forest fires on the biological properties of soils was carried out at former forest fire areas in Samosir Regency of North Sumatera. Soil samples were collected from former forest fire areas of 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010. The composite soil samples were collected systematically using diagonal method as much as 5 points in each period of fire. The soil samples were taken at three plots measuring 20 x 20 m 0-20 cm depth. Soil biological properties observed were soil organic C content, total number of microbes, abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, phosphate solubilizing microbes, and soil microbial activity. The results showed that organic C content ranged from 0.75 to 2.47% which included criteria for very low to moderate. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi spores were found belonging to the genus of Glomus and Acaulospora. Spore number increased with the fire period ranging from 45 spores (forest fire in 2014 to 152 spores (forest fire in 2010. The total number of microbes obtained ranged from 53.78 x 107 cfu/mL (forest fire in 2010 to 89.70 x107 cfu/mL (forest fire in 2013. It was found 29 isolates of phosphate solubilizing microbes that consisted of 14 bacterial isolates and 15 fungi isolates with densities ranging from 27.642 x105 cfu/mL (forest fires in 2014 to 97.776 x 105 cfu/ mL (forest fires in 2011. The isolates of phosphate solubilizing bacteria identified consisted of Pseudomonas, Flavobacterium, Staphylococcus, and Mycobacterium genus, whereas the isolates of phosphate solubilizing fungi obtained consisted of Aspergillus and Penicillium genus. Soil respiration ranged from 2.14 kg / day (forest fire in 2010 up to 3.71 kg / day (forest fire in 2013. The varied results were greatly influenced by the type or form of the fires and intensity of fires. In the study area the type or form of the fires were canopy fires with low intensity.

  13. Short term recovery of soil biological functions in a new vineyard cultivated in organic farming (United States)

    Costantini, Edoardo; Agnelli, Alessandro; Fabiani, Arturo; Gagnarli, Elena; Mocali, Stefano; Priori, Simone; Simoni, Sauro; Valboa, Giuseppe


    soil biological classes). Physical soil characteristics remained unchanged after the first year from the earthworks and did not change under grass cover. Chemical analysis only indicated a significant effect of earthworks. Over the 2010-2013 period, the new vineyard showed a slight increase of TOC and total N contents; as compared to the old vineyard, it averaged lower TOC and total N, and higher CaCO3 contents, suggesting still evolving equilibrium conditions. Microarthropod analysis showed significant different abundances and communities' structures both by management system and by year, increasing where the land use pressure was reduced by permanent grass cover and along with the aging of vineyard. Though the euedaphic forms, well adapted to soil life, were always rare. Microbiological analysis showed a different structure of eubacterial communities and a lower microbial activity in the new vineyard, especially during 2010-2012. In contrast, significant differences were not observed between the two vineyards in 2013, and grass cover effect was controversial. To sum up, the consequence of deep earthworks on chemical and biological properties were still evident after four years from planting and more time was needed to recover soil functions. Permanent grass cover did not always show a consistent positive effect.

  14. Effects of shifting cultivation on biological and biochemical characteris-tics of soil microorganisms in Khagrachari hill district, Bangladesh

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Sohag Miah; S.M. Sirajul Haque; Wahida Sumi; Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain


    We collected soil samples from two representative sites at Aatmile of Khagarachari hill district in Chittagong Hill Tracts. One of the sites was under shifting cultivation and the other an adjacent 13-year old teak plantation. Both sites were in the same physiographic condition and same aspect with parable soil type, which enabled us to measure the effects of shifting cultivation on soil micro-flora. We studied soil phys-ico-chemical properties and the biochemical and biological properties of soil microbes. Moisture and organic matter content as well as fungi and bacterial populations, both in surface and subsurface soils, were signifi-cantly (p≤0.001) lower in shifting cultivated soils compared to soils not under shifting cultivation, i.e. the teak plantation site. The most abundant bacteria in surface (0-10 cm) and sub-surface (10-20 cm) soils under shifting cultivation were Pseudomonas diminuta and Shigella, respec-tively, while in corresponding soil layers of teak plantation, predominant microbes were Bacillus firmus (0-10 cm) and Xanthomonas (10-20 cm). The microbial population differences cannot be explained by soil texture differences because of the textural similarity in soils from the two sites but could be related to the significantly lower moisture and organic mat-ter contents in soils under shifting cultivation.

  15. Effectiveness of biological geotextiles in reducing runoff and soil loss under different environmental conditions using laboratory and field plot data (United States)

    Smets, T.


    Preliminary investigations suggest biological geotextiles could be an effective and inexpensive soil conservation method, with enormous global potential. Biological geotextiles are a possible temporary alternative for vegetation cover and can offer immediate soil protection. However, limited data are available on the erosion-reducing effects of biological geotextiles. Therefore, the objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of selected types of biological geotextile in reducing runoff and soil loss under controlled laboratory conditions and under field conditions reflecting different environments (i.e. continental, temperate and tropical). In laboratory experiments, interrill runoff, interrill erosion and concentrated flow erosion were simulated using various rainfall intensities, flow shear stresses and slope gradients. Field plot data on the effects of biological geotextiles on sheet and rill erosion were collected in several countries under natural rainfall (U.K., Hungary, Lithuania, South Africa, Brazil, China and Thailand). The laboratory experiments indicate that all tested biological geotextiles were effective in reducing interrill runoff (on average 59% of the value for bare soil) and interrill erosion rates (on average 16% of the value for bare soil). Since simulated concentrated flow discharge sometimes flowed below the geotextiles, the effectiveness in reducing concentrated flow erosion was significantly less (on average 59% of the value for bare soil). On field plots, where both interrill and rill erosion occur, all tested geotextiles reduced runoff depth by a mean of 54% of the control value for bare soil and in some cases, runoff depth increased compared to bare soil surfaces, which can be attributed to the impermeable and hydrophobic characteristics of some biological geotextiles. In the field, soil loss rates due to interrill and rill erosion were reduced by a mean of 21% of the value of bare soil by biological geotextiles. This study

  16. Soil surface sealing reverse or promote desertification? (United States)

    Assouline, Shmuel; Thompson, Sally; Chen, Li; Svoray, Tal; Sela, Shai; Katul, Gabriel


    Vegetation cover in dry regions is a key variable determining desertification. Bare soils exposed to rainfall by desertification can form physical crusts that reduce infiltration, exacerbating water stress on the remaining vegetation. Paradoxically, field studies show that crust removal is associated with plant mortality in desert systems, while artificial biological crusts can improve plant regeneration. Here, it is shown how physical crusts can act as either drivers of, or buffers against desertification depending on their environmental context. The behavior of crusts is first explored using a simplified theory for water movement on a uniform, partly vegetated slope subject to stationary hydrologic conditions. Numerical model runs supplemented with field data from a semiarid Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site are then applied to represent more realistic environmental conditions. When vegetation cover is significant, crusts can drive desertification, but this process is potentially self-limiting. For low vegetation cover, crusts mitigate against desertification by providing water subsidy to plant communities through a runoff-runon mechanism.

  17. Impact of river overflowing on trace element contamination of volcanic soils in south Italy: Part II. Soil biological and biochemical properties in relation to trace element speciation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    D' Ascoli, R. [Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Seconda Universita degli Studi di Napoli, via Vivaldi 43, 81100 Caserta (Italy)]. E-mail:; Rao, M.A. [Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e dell' Ambiente, Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via Universita 100, 80055 Portici (Italy)]. E-mail:; Adamo, P. [Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e dell' Ambiente, Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via Universita 100, 80055 Portici (Italy)]. E-mail:; Renella, G. [Dipartimento di Scienza del Suolo e Nutrizione della Pianta, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, P.le delle Cascine 28, 50144 Firenze (Italy)]. E-mail:; Landi, L. [Dipartimento di Scienza del Suolo e Nutrizione della Pianta, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, P.le delle Cascine 28, 50144 Firenze (Italy)]. E-mail:; Rutigliano, F.A. [Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Seconda Universita degli Studi di Napoli, via Vivaldi 43, 81100 Caserta (Italy)]. E-mail:; Terribile, F. [Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e dell' Ambiente, Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via Universita 100, 80055 Portici (Italy)]. E-mail:; Gianfreda, L. [Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e dell' Ambiente, Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via Universita 100, 80055 Portici (Italy)]. E-mail:


    The effect of heavy metal contamination on biological and biochemical properties of Italian volcanic soils was evaluated in a multidisciplinary study, involving pedoenvironmental, micromorphological, physical, chemical, biological and biochemical analyses. Soils affected by recurring river overflowing, with Cr(III)-contaminated water and sediments, and a non-flooded control soil were analysed for microbial biomass, total and active fungal mycelium, enzyme activities (i.e., FDA hydrolase, dehydrogenase, {beta}-glucosidase, urease, arylsulphatase, acid phosphatase) and bacterial diversity (DGGE characterisation). Biological and biochemical data were related with both total and selected fractions of Cr and Cu (the latter deriving from agricultural chemical products) as well as with total and extractable organic C. The growth and activity of soil microbial community were influenced by soil organic C content rather than Cu or Cr contents. In fact, positive correlations between all studied parameters and organic C content were found. On the contrary, negative correlations were observed only between total fungal mycelium, dehydrogenase, arylsulphatase and acid phosphatase activities and only one Cr fraction (the soluble, exchangeable and carbonate bound). However, total Cr content negatively affected the eubacterial diversity but it did not determine changes in soil activity, probably because of the redundancy of functions within species of soil microbial community. On the other hand, expressing biological and biochemical parameters per unit of total organic C, Cu pollution negatively influenced microbial biomass, fungal mycelium and several enzyme activities, confirming soil organic matter is able to mask the negative effects of Cu on microbial community. - In studied soils organic C content resulted the principal factor influencing growth and activity of microbial community, with Cu and Cr contents having a lower relevance.

  18. Soil bacterial and fungal community responses to nitrogen addition across soil depth and microhabitat in an arid shrubland (United States)

    Mueller, Rebecca C; Belnap, Jayne; Kuske, Cheryl R


    Arid shrublands are stressful environments, typified by alkaline soils low in organic matter, with biologically-limiting extremes in water availability, temperature, and UV radiation. The widely-spaced plants and interspace biological soil crusts in these regions provide soil nutrients in a localized fashion, creating a mosaic pattern of plant- or crust-associated microhabitats with distinct nutrient composition. With sporadic and limited rainfall, nutrients are primarily retained in the shallow surface soil, patterning biological activity. We examined soil bacterial and fungal community responses to simulated nitrogen (N) deposition in an arid Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa field experiment in southern Nevada, USA, using high-throughput sequencing of ribosomal RNA genes. To examine potential interactions among the N application, microhabitat and soil depth, we sampled soils associated with shrub canopies and interspace biological crusts at two soil depths (0–0.5 or 0–10 cm) across the N-amendment gradient (0, 7, and 15 kg ha−1 yr−1). We hypothesized that localized compositional differences in soil microbiota would constrain the impacts of N addition to a microhabitat distribution that would reflect highly localized geochemical conditions and microbial community composition. The richness and community composition of both bacterial and fungal communities differed significantly by microhabitat and with soil depth in each microhabitat. Only bacterial communities exhibited significant responses to the N addition. Community composition correlated with microhabitat and depth differences in soil geochemical features. Given the distinct roles of soil bacteria and fungi in major nutrient cycles, the resilience of fungi and sensitivity of bacteria to N amendments suggests that increased N input predicted for many arid ecosystems could shift nutrient cycling toward pathways driven primarily by fungal communities.

  19. Soil bacterial and fungal community responses to nitrogen addition across soil depths and microhabitat in an arid shrubland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca C Mueller


    Full Text Available Arid shrublands are stressful environments, typified by alkaline soils low in organic matter, with biologically-limiting extremes in water availability, temperature and UV radiation. The widely-spaced plants and interspace biological soil crusts in these regions provide soil nutrients in a localized fashion, creating a mosaic pattern of plant- or crust-associated microhabitats with distinct nutrient composition. With sporadic and limited rainfall, nutrients are primarily retained in the shallow surface soil, patterning biological activity. We examined soil bacterial and fungal community responses to simulated nitrogen (N deposition in an arid Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa field experiment in southern Nevada, USA, using high-throughput sequencing of ribosomal RNA genes. To examine potential interactions among the N application, microhabitat and soil depth, we sampled soils associated with shrub canopies and interspace biological crusts at two soil depths (0-0.5 cm or 0-10 cm across the N-amendment gradient (0, 7 and 15 kg ha-1 yr-1. We hypothesized that localized compositional differences in soil microbiota would constrain the impacts of N addition to a microhabitat distribution that would reflect highly localized geochemical conditions and microbial community composition. The richness and community composition of both bacterial and fungal communities differed significantly by microhabitat and with soil depth in each microhabitat. Only bacterial communities exhibited significant responses to the N addition. Community composition correlated with microhabitat and depth differences in soil geochemical features. Given the distinct roles of soil bacteria and fungi in major nutrient cycles, the resilience of fungi and sensitivity of bacteria to N amendments suggests that increased N input predicted for many arid ecosystems could shift nutrient cycling toward pathways driven primarily by fungal communities.

  20. Soil bacterial and fungal community responses to nitrogen addition across soil depth and microhabitat in an arid shrubland. (United States)

    Mueller, Rebecca C; Belnap, Jayne; Kuske, Cheryl R


    Arid shrublands are stressful environments, typified by alkaline soils low in organic matter, with biologically-limiting extremes in water availability, temperature, and UV radiation. The widely-spaced plants and interspace biological soil crusts in these regions provide soil nutrients in a localized fashion, creating a mosaic pattern of plant- or crust-associated microhabitats with distinct nutrient composition. With sporadic and limited rainfall, nutrients are primarily retained in the shallow surface soil, patterning biological activity. We examined soil bacterial and fungal community responses to simulated nitrogen (N) deposition in an arid Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa field experiment in southern Nevada, USA, using high-throughput sequencing of ribosomal RNA genes. To examine potential interactions among the N application, microhabitat and soil depth, we sampled soils associated with shrub canopies and interspace biological crusts at two soil depths (0-0.5 or 0-10 cm) across the N-amendment gradient (0, 7, and 15 kg ha(-1) yr(-1)). We hypothesized that localized compositional differences in soil microbiota would constrain the impacts of N addition to a microhabitat distribution that would reflect highly localized geochemical conditions and microbial community composition. The richness and community composition of both bacterial and fungal communities differed significantly by microhabitat and with soil depth in each microhabitat. Only bacterial communities exhibited significant responses to the N addition. Community composition correlated with microhabitat and depth differences in soil geochemical features. Given the distinct roles of soil bacteria and fungi in major nutrient cycles, the resilience of fungi and sensitivity of bacteria to N amendments suggests that increased N input predicted for many arid ecosystems could shift nutrient cycling toward pathways driven primarily by fungal communities.

  1. Biological and physical influences on soil 14CO2 seasonal dynamics in a temperate hardwood forest

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. L. Phillips


    Full Text Available While radiocarbon (14C abundance in standing stocks of soil carbon has been used to evaluate rates of soil carbon turnover on timescales of several years to centuries, soil-respired 14CO2 measurements are an important tool for identifying more immediate responses to disturbance and climate change. Soil 14CO2 data are often temporally sparse, however, and could be interpreted better with more context for typical seasonal ranges and trends. We report on a semi-high-frequency sampling campaign to distinguish physical and biological drivers of soil 14CO2 at a temperate forest site in Northern Wisconsin, USA. We sampled 14CO2 profiles every three weeks during snow-free months through 2012, in three intact plots and one trenched plot that excluded roots. Respired 14CO2 declined through the summer in intact plots, shifting from an older C composition that contained more bomb 14C, to a younger composition more closely resembling present 14C levels in the atmosphere. In the trenched plot respired 14C was variable but remained comparatively higher than in intact plots, reflecting older bomb-enriched 14C sources. Although respired 14CO2 from intact plots correlated with soil moisture, related analyses did not support a clear cause-and-effect relationship with moisture. The initial decrease in 14CO2 from spring to midsummer could be explained by increases in 14C-deplete root respiration; however, 14CO2 continued to decline in late summer after root activity decreased. We also investigated whether soil moisture impacted vertical partitioning of CO2 production, but found this had little effect on respired 14CO2 because CO2 contained modern bomb-C at depth, even in the trenched plot. This surprising result contrasted with decades to centuries-old pre-bomb CO2 produced in lab incubations of the same soils. Our results suggest that root-derived C and other recent C sources had dominant impacts on 14CO2 in situ, even at depth. We propose that 14CO2 may have

  2. A versatile system for biological and soil chemical tests on a planetary landing craft. I - Scientific objectives (United States)

    Radmer, R. J.; Kok, B.; Martin, J. P.


    We describe an approach for the remote detection and characterization of life in planetary soil samples. A mass spectrometer is used as the central sensor to monitor changes in the gas phase in eleven test cells filled with soil. Many biological assays, ranging from general 'in situ' assays to specific metabolic processes (such as photosynthesis, respiration, denitrification, etc.) can be performed by appropriate additions to the test cell via attached preloaded injector capsules. The system is also compatible with a number of chemical assays such as the analysis of atmospheric composition (both chemical and isotopic), the status of soil water, and the determination of compounds of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur in the soil.

  3. Long-term organic farming fosters below and aboveground biota: Implications for soil quality, biological control and productivity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Birkhofer, K.; Bezemer, TM; Bloem, J;


     Organic farming may contribute substantially to future agricultural production worldwide by improving soil quality and pest control, thereby reducing environmental impacts of conventional farming. We investigated in a comprehensive way soil chemical, as well as below and aboveground biological...... promoting negative environmental impacts of agriculture by reducing internal biological cycles and pest control. On the contrary, organic farming fosters microbial and faunal decomposers and this propagates into the aboveground system via generalist predators thereby increasing conservation biological...... control. However, grain and straw yields were 23% higher in systems receiving mineral fertilizers and herbicides reflecting the trade-off between productivity and environmental responsibility....

  4. Remediation of PCB-contaminated soils. Risk analysis of biological in situ processes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rein, Arno


    Biological in situ measures can be efficient and cost effective options for the remediation of contaminated sites. However, the accepted application requires a detailed and reliable analysis of potential impacts. An important objective is to quantify the potential of contaminant degradation and metabolite formation. This thesis addresses a quantitative multimedia risk assessment. Methodologies and tools were developed for this objective and applied to evaluate in situ bioremediation of soils contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Soil bacteria in conjunction with plant roots were addressed (rhizoremediation) with a focus on the use of genetically modified microorganisms (GMOs). PCBs are known to be harmful compounds that are ubiquitously distributed in the environment. PCB contaminations in soil and groundwater were identified as important problems. 209 different congeners are sterically possible, but not all are of environmental significance. PCB congeners of concern were evaluated with respect to their potential toxicity, environmental occurrence and mobility. For this objective, congener specific data on the toxicity potential and the frequency in environmental matrices were collected. To quantify the mobility potential, multimedia modelling was performed applying deterministic and probabilistic procedures. 56 PCB congeners of concern were evaluated, and multimedia risk assessments of PCB-contaminated soils should concentrate on this group. Kinetics parameters were specified for degradation experiments with individual PCB congeners in solution and different bacterial strains. These laboratory assays were performed with wild-type Burkholderia sp. strain LB400 and the genetically modified Pseudomonas fluorescens strains F113pcb and F113L::1180. The F113 derivatives demonstrated a good survival ability in willow (Salix sp.) rhizosphere (mesocosm experiments). Therefore, and due to high depletion rates, rhizoremediation with F113L::1180 and willow

  5. Remediation of PCB-contaminated soils. Risk analysis of biological in situ processes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rein, Arno


    Biological in situ measures can be efficient and cost effective options for the remediation of contaminated sites. However, the accepted application requires a detailed and reliable analysis of potential impacts. An important objective is to quantify the potential of contaminant degradation and metabolite formation. This thesis addresses a quantitative multimedia risk assessment. Methodologies and tools were developed for this objective and applied to evaluate in situ bioremediation of soils contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Soil bacteria in conjunction with plant roots were addressed (rhizoremediation) with a focus on the use of genetically modified microorganisms (GMOs). PCBs are known to be harmful compounds that are ubiquitously distributed in the environment. PCB contaminations in soil and groundwater were identified as important problems. 209 different congeners are sterically possible, but not all are of environmental significance. PCB congeners of concern were evaluated with respect to their potential toxicity, environmental occurrence and mobility. For this objective, congener specific data on the toxicity potential and the frequency in environmental matrices were collected. To quantify the mobility potential, multimedia modelling was performed applying deterministic and probabilistic procedures. 56 PCB congeners of concern were evaluated, and multimedia risk assessments of PCB-contaminated soils should concentrate on this group. Kinetics parameters were specified for degradation experiments with individual PCB congeners in solution and different bacterial strains. These laboratory assays were performed with wild-type Burkholderia sp. strain LB400 and the genetically modified Pseudomonas fluorescens strains F113pcb and F113L::1180. The F113 derivatives demonstrated a good survival ability in willow (Salix sp.) rhizosphere (mesocosm experiments). Therefore, and due to high depletion rates, rhizoremediation with F113L::1180 and willow

  6. Field Trial Assessment of Biological, Chemical, and Physical Responses of Soil to Tillage Intensity, Fertilization, and Grazing (United States)

    Vargas Gil, Silvina; Becker, Analia; Oddino, Claudio; Zuza, Mónica; Marinelli, Adriana; March, Guillermo


    Soil microbial populations can fluctuate in response to environmental changes and, therefore, are often used as biological indicators of soil quality. Soil chemical and physical parameters can also be used as indicators because they can vary in response to different management strategies. A long-term field trial was conducted to study the effects of different tillage systems (NT: no tillage, DH: disc harrow, and MP: moldboard plough), P fertilization (diammonium phosphate), and cattle grazing (in terms of crop residue consumption) in maize ( Zea mays L.), sunflower ( Heliantus annuus L.), and soybean ( Glycine max L.) on soil biological, chemical, and physical parameters. The field trial was conducted for four crop years (2000/2001, 2001/2002, 2002/2003, and 2003/2004). Soil populations of Actinomycetes, Trichoderma spp., and Gliocladium spp. were 49% higher under conservation tillage systems, in soil amended with diammonium phosphate (DAP) and not previously grazed. Management practices also influenced soil chemical parameters, especially organic matter content and total N, which were 10% and 55% higher under NT than under MP. Aggregate stability was 61% higher in NT than in MP, 15% higher in P-fertilized soil, and also 9% higher in not grazed strips, bulk density being 12% lower in NT systems compared with MP. DAP application and the absence of grazing also reduced bulk density (3%). Using conservation tillage systems, fertilizing crops with DAP, and avoiding grazing contribute to soil health preservation and enhanced crop production.

  7. Changes in the biological diversity and concentration of total DNA under the influence of mineral fertilizers in agrochernozemic soils (United States)

    Tkhakakhova, Azida; Kutovaya, Olga; Ivanova, Ekaterina; Pavlyuchenko, Anatoly


    Chernozems represent the most valuable soil resource for Russian agriculture. Their sustainable use in intensive farming systems with preservation of the biological diversity and biological activity of these soils is of crucial importance for the agri-environmental security of Russia. We studied the influence of different rates of mineral fertilizers on the biological activity of chernozems on experimental fields of the Dokuchaev Research Institute of Agriculture in Kamennaya Steppe (Voronezh oblast). Soil samples were taken at the end of April 2013 from the plow horizon on trials with different rates of fertilization: NPK-0, NPK-60, and NPK-120 (kg/ha); a long-term fallow plot was used as an absolute control. The biological activity was analyzed by routine inoculation methods and by the molecular biology techniques based on DNA isolation from the soil samples. Quantitative parameters of the isolated and purified DNA were determined by measuring the fluorescence of the DNA preparations with added intercalating dyes; GelDoc XR system and Image Lab and TotalLab Quant. software were used. Microbiological studies showed the high biological activity of the chernozems soil in all the trials. No significant differences were found between the trials for the microbiological processes of the carbon cycle. There was a weakly expressed tendency for an increase in the activity of actinomycetes from the soil with zero fertilization (5.11 log10CFU/g) to the soil with maximum (NPK-120) fertilization (5.69 log10CFU/g) and the fallow soil (5.73 log10CFU/g); the number of cultivated micromycetes decreased from the soil with zero fertilization (4.76 log10CFU/g) to the soil with maximum fertilization (4.14 log10CFU/g) and to the fallow soil (4.1 log10CFU/g). A less equilibrium state is typical of the microorganisms participating in the nitrogen cycle. The number of cultivated aerobic and anaerobic nitrogen-fixing bacteria somewhat increased in the fertilized trials (NPK-60, NPK-120

  8. Smectite clays in Mars soil - Evidence for their presence and role in Viking biology experimental results (United States)

    Banin, A.; Rishpon, J.


    Evidence for the presence of smectite clays in Martian soils is reviewed and results of experiments with certain active clays simulating the Viking biology experiments are reported. Analyses of Martian soil composition by means of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and dust storm spectroscopy and Martian geological history strongly suggest the presence of a mixture of weathered ferro-silicate minerals, mainly nontronite and montmorillonite, accompanied by soluble sulphate salts, as major constituents. Samples of montmorillonite and nontronite incubated with (C-14)-formate or the radioactive nutrient medium solution used in the Viking Labeled Release experiment, were found to produce patterns of release of radioactive gas very similar to those observed in the Viking experiments, indicating the iron-catalyzed decomposition of formate as the reaction responsible for the Viking results. The experimental results of Hubbard (1979) simulating the results of the Viking Pyrolytic Release experiment using iron montmorillonites are pointed out, and it is concluded that many of the results of the Viking biology experiments can be explained in terms of the surface activity of smectite clays in catalysis and adsorption.

  9. Candida sp. yeast solubilizing phosphate isolated from soil in Wamena Biological Garden, Papua

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)



    Full Text Available Twenty isolates of yeast were isolated from soil of Wamena Biological Garden. Out of 20 isolates tested, 3 isolates were able to increase solubility of Ca3(PO42, as indicated by formation of clearing zone surrounding growing colonies. Nutrient of media, which was mainly contained of glucose (20%, were metabolically converted into of either biomass or and metabolic product that may have cause a change of pH profile, and biomass during cell cultivation. Conversely, pH of media decreased during cell cultivation, and that may have cause acceleration of Ca3(PO42 dissolution, which have resulted in an increased of ortho-fosfat in the bulk solution during cell growth. The three isolates having ability of accelerating Ca3(PO42 dissolution belonging to genera of Candida. The three isolates have ability to solubilize about 5-6 mg/L-P, with phosphomonoesterase activity of about 0.10-0.65 unit. Ecological incentive of Fosfat solubilizing yeasts in soil ecosystem are enormous, among other is provision of available P for plant growth and for other soil microorganism.

  10. Non-rainfall water sources in the topsoil and their changes during formation of man-made algal crusts at the eastern edge of Qubqi Desert,Inner Mongolia

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    In arid and semiarid areas,water uptake (non-rainfall water) serves as an important water source for plants,biological soil crusts,insects and small animals.In this study,a measurement program was undertaken to investigate water uptake and its changes during formation of man-made algal crusts in the Qubqi Desert.In the study region,water uptake from the atmosphere accounted for 25.07%-39.83% of the total water uptake,and was mainly taken up by a water vapor adsorption mechanism;the proportion of water uptake from the soil substrate was much higher (60.17%-74.93%).The formation of crusts promoted water uptake,but the increased uptake did not occur immediately after inoculation or crusts formation.The water taken up from the atmosphere increased significantly from day 15 after inoculation,and the soil water content was markedly enhanced from day 20 after inoculation.It is considered that the growth of algal filaments and their secretions were the main factors increasing the amount of water uptake and water content in the crusts,and these variables increased even during dry periods when some algae are likely to have died.

  11. Temperature and biological soil effects on the survival of selected foodborne pathogens on a mortar surface. (United States)

    Allan, J T; Yan, Z; Genzlinger, L L; Kornacki, J L


    The survival of three foodborne pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Salmonella) attached to mortar surfaces, with or without biological soil (porcine serum) and incubated at either 4 or 10 degrees C in the presence of condensate, was evaluated. Soiled and unsoiled coupons were inoculated by immersion into a five-strain cocktail (approximately 10(7) CFU/ml) of each organism type and evaluated. Coupons were incubated at 25 degrees C for 2 h to allow attachment of cells, rinsed to remove unattached cells, and incubated at either 4 or 10 degrees C at high humidity to create condensate on the surface. Sonication was used to remove the attached cells, and bacteria (CFU per coupon) was determined at 9 to 10 sampling periods over 120 h. Yersinia populations decreased more than 5 log units in the presence of serum in a 24-h period. Listeria and Salmonella had better survival on mortar in the presence of serum than Yersinia throughout the 120-h incubation period. Populations of L. monocytogenes declined more rapidly at 10 than at 4 degree C after 24 h. In general, differences in temperature did not affect the survival of Salmonella or Yersinia. Serum had a protective effect on the survival of all three organisms, sustaining populations at significantly (P 0.05) among the mean number (CFU per coupon) of L. monocytogenes, Y. enterocolitica, or Salmonella on initial attachment onto the mortar surfaces (unsoiled). The results indicate relatively rapid destruction of selected pathogenic bacteria on unsoiled mortar surfaces compared with those that contained biological soil, thus highlighting the need for effective cleaning to reduce harborage of these microbes in the food factory environment.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tatlok D. R.


    Full Text Available Rendzina soils are very widespread in the Caucasus. Because of their ecological and genetic characteristics Rendzina has significant buffering capacity to chemical pollution. The object of investigation was calcareous leached soil. Location selection - Azishskaya ridge on the border of the Republic of Adygea and the Krasnodar region. As pollutants, we have selected Zn, Cd, Mo, Se, since soil contamination with these elements in the south of Russia is not uncommon. Contamination of zinc, cadmium, molybdenum and selenium causes deterioration in the biological properties of calcareous soils of the Western Caucasus. We have investigated the toxicity of the elements formed following series due to their influence on Rendzina soils: Zn> Se> Cd> = Mo. The study attempted to analyze the entire range of concentrations of the examined elements in the soil, currently occurring in nature. In most cases, all the investigated substances registered direct correlation between the concentration of the pollutant in the soil and the degree of reduction of biological indicators. The activity of catalase and dehydrogenase cellulolytic ability, plenty of bacteria of the genus Azotobacter, length of roots of radish can be used to monitor, diagnose and regulation of chemical pollution of soil Zn, Cd, Mo, Se

  13. [Biological treatments for contaminated soils: hydrocarbon contamination. Fungal applications in bioremediation treatment]. (United States)

    Martín Moreno, Carmen; González Becerra, Aldo; Blanco Santos, María José


    Bioremediation is a spontaneous or controlled process in which biological, mainly microbiological, methods are used to degrade or transform contaminants to non or less toxic products, reducing the environmental pollution. The most important parameters to define a contaminated site are: biodegradability, contaminant distribution, lixiviation grade, chemical reactivity of the contaminants, soil type and properties, oxygen availability and occurrence of inhibitory substances. Biological treatments of organic contaminations are based on the degradative abilities of the microorganisms. Therefore the knowledge on the physiology and ecology of the biological species or consortia involved as well as the characteristics of the polluted sites are decisive factors to select an adequate biorremediation protocol. Basidiomycetes which cause white rot decay of wood are able to degrade lignin and a variety of environmentally persistent pollutants. Thus, white rot fungi and their enzymes are thought to be useful not only in some industrial process like biopulping and biobleaching but also in bioremediation. This paper provides a review of different aspects of bioremediation technologies and recent advances on ligninolytic metabolism research.

  14. Evidence for biological mediation of K and P weathering inferred from a new process-based soil evolution model and soil chronosequences from Hawaii (United States)

    Johnson, M.; Gloor, E.


    biosphere on weathering. Model results demonstrate that the biosphere greatly influences modelled soil properties. A good agreement is observed between measured and modelled Na, which is not a plant nutrient and Mg and Ca which are less strongly cycled, across both an age and rainfall gradient, suggesting a good understanding of modelled soil processes. However, the model underestimates the relative depletion of K and P from the soil profiles. Nutrient uptake in the model is controlled by the rate of evapotranspiration and the concentration of the nutrient in the soil solution. Independently, there is experimental evidence for roots actively inducing the release of non-exchangeable nutrients from minerals. The differences between measured and modelled K and P profiles therefore indirectly provides evidence for this mechanism of nutrient acquisition and highlights the important role vegetation and mycorrhiza play in accelerating the release of specific nutrients from minerals. This result suggests that biologically enhanced mineral weathering should be recognized when interpreting soil properties in order to understand soil-vegetation interactions.

  15. Soil microbial community structure in diverse land use systems:A comparative study using Biolog,DGGE,and PLFA analyses

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    XUE Dong; YAO Huai-Ying; GE De-Yong; HUANG Chang-Yong


    Biolog,16S rRNA gene denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE),and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analyses were used to assess soil microbial community characteristics in a chronosequence of tea garden systems (8-,50-,and 90year-old tea gardens),an adjacent wasteland,and a 90-year-old forest.Biolog analysis showed that the average well color development (AWCD) of all carbon sources and the functional diversity based on the Shannon index decreased (P<0.05)in the following order:wasteland>forest>tea garden.For the DGGE analysis,the genetic diversity based on the Shannon index was significantly lower in the tea garden soils than in the wasteland.However,compared to the 90-year-old forest,the tea garden soils showed significantly higher genetic diversity.PLFA analysis showed that the ratio of Gram positive bacteria to Gram negative bacteria was significantly higher in the tea garden soils than in the wasteland,and the highest value was found in the 90-year-old forest.Both the fungal PLFA and the ratio of fungi to bacteria were significantly higher in the three tea garden soils than in the wasteland and forest,indicating that fungal PLFA was significantly affected by land-use change.Based on cluster analysis of the soil microbial community structure,all three analytical methods showed that land-use change had a greater effect on soil microbial community structure than tea garden age.

  16. Efficiency of soil organic and inorganic amendments on the remediation of a contaminated mine soil: II. Biological and ecotoxicological evaluation. (United States)

    Pardo, T; Clemente, R; Alvarenga, P; Bernal, M P


    The feasibility of two organic materials (pig slurry and compost) in combination with hydrated lime for the remediation of a highly acidic trace elements (TEs) contaminated mine soil was assessed in a mesocosm experiment. The effects of the amendments on soil biochemical and ecotoxicological properties were evaluated and related with the main physicochemical characteristics of soil and soil solution. The original soil showed impaired basic ecological functions due to the high availability of TEs, its acidic pH and high salinity. The three amendments slightly reduced the direct and indirect soil toxicity to plants, invertebrates and microorganisms as a consequence of the TEs' mobility decrease in topsoil, reducing therefore the soil associated risks. The organic amendments, especially compost, thanks to the supply of essential nutrients, were able to improve soil health, as they stimulated plant growth and significantly increased enzyme activities related with the key nutrients in soil. Therefore, the use of compost or pig slurry, in combination with hydrated lime, decreased soil ecotoxicity and seems to be a suitable management strategy for the remediation of highly acidic TEs contaminated soils.

  17. Exoenzyme activity in contaminated soils before and after soil washing: ß-glucosidase activity as a biological indicator of soil health. (United States)

    Chae, Yooeun; Cui, Rongxue; Woong Kim, Shin; An, Gyeonghyeon; Jeong, Seung-Woo; An, Youn-Joo


    It is essential to remediate or amend soils contaminated with various heavy metals or pollutants so that the soils may be used again safely. Verifying that the remediated or amended soils meet soil quality standards is an important part of the process. We estimated the activity levels of eight soil exoenzymes (acid phosphatase, arylsulfatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, fluorescein diacetate hydrolase, protease, urease, and ß-glucosidase) in contaminated and remediated soils from two sites near a non-ferrous metal smelter, using colorimetric and titrimetric determination methods. Our results provided the levels of activity of soil exoenzymes that indicate soil health. Most enzymes showed lower activity levels in remediated soils than in contaminated soils, with the exception of protease and urease, which showed higher activity after remediation in some soils, perhaps due to the limited nutrients available in remediated soils. Soil exoenzymes showed significantly higher activity in soils from one of the sites than from the other, due to improper conditions at the second site, including high pH, poor nutrient levels, and a high proportion of sand in the latter soil. Principal component analysis revealed that ß-glucosidase was the best indicator of soil ecosystem health, among the enzymes evaluated. We recommend using ß-glucosidase enzyme activity as a prior indicator in estimating soil ecosystem health.

  18. Human land-use and soil change (United States)

    Wills, Skye A.; Williams, Candiss O.; Duniway, Michael C.; Veenstra, Jessica; Seybold, Cathy; Pressley, DeAnn


    Soil change refers to the alteration of soil and soil properties over time in one location, as opposed to soil variability across space. Although soils change with pedogensis, this chapter focuses on human caused soil change. Soil change can occur with human use and management over long or short time periods and small or large scales. While change can be negative or positive; often soil change is observed when short-term or narrow goals overshadow the other soil’s ecosystem services. Many soils have been changed in their chemical, physical or biological properties through agricultural activities, including cultivation, tillage, weeding, terracing, subsoiling, deep plowing, manure and fertilizer addition, liming, draining, and irrigation. Assessing soil change depends upon the ecosystem services and soil functions being evaluated. The interaction of soil properties with the type and intensity of management and disturbance determines the changes that will be observed. Tillage of cropland disrupts aggregates and decreases soil organic carbon content which can lead to decreased infiltration, increased erosion, and reduced biological function. Improved agricultural management systems can increase soil functions including crop productivity and sustainability. Forest management is most intensive during harvesting and seedling establishment. Most active management in forests causes disturbance of the soil surface which may include loss of forest floor organic materials, increases in bulk density, and increased risk of erosion. In grazing lands, pasture management often includes periods of biological, chemical and physical disturbance in addition to the grazing management imposed on rangelands. Grazing animals have both direct and indirect impacts on soil change. Hoof action can lead to the disturbance of biological crusts and other surface features impairing the soil’s physical, biological and hydrological function. There are clear feedbacks between vegetative systems

  19. Effect of cassava mill effluent on biological activity of soil microbial community. (United States)

    Igbinosa, Etinosa O


    This study assessed the effect of cassava effluent on soil microbiological characteristics and enzymatic activities were investigated in soil samples. Soil properties and heavy metal concentrations were evaluated using standard soil analytical and spectroscopic methods, respectively. The microbiological parameters measured include microbial biomass carbon, basal soil respiration, catalase, urease, dehydrogenase activities and number of culturable aerobic bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes. The pH and temperature regime vary significantly (p Soil organic carbon content gave significant positive correlations with microbial biomass carbon, basal soil respiration, catalase activity and dehydrogenase activity (r = 0.450, 0.461, 0.574 and 0.591 at p soil microbial density demonstrates a marked decrease in total culturable numbers of the different microbial groups of the polluted soil samples. Soil contamination decreased catalase, urease and dehydrogenase activities. The findings revealed that soil enzymes can be used as indices of soil contamination and bio-indicator of soil quality.

  20. Spectral Unmixing Applied to Desert Soils for the Detection of Sub-Pixel Disturbances (United States)


    Bowker et al., 2005). The study by Bowker et al. (2005) had data supporting the correlation between BSC abundance and micronutrient availability...Bowker, M. A., Belnap, J., Davidson, D. W., and Phillips, S. L., (2005). Evidence for micronutrient limitation of biological soil crusts: Importance

  1. The impact of land use on biological activity of agriculture soils. An State-of-the-Art (United States)

    Morugán-Coronado, Alicia; Cerdà, Artemi; García-Orenes, Fuensanta


    Biological activity is a crucial soil property affecting soil sustainability and crop production. The unsuitable land management can lead to a loss in soil fertility and a reduction in the abundance and diversity of soil microorganisms. This can be as a consequence of high erosion rates due to the mismanagement of farmers (Cerdà et al., 2009a). However ecological practices and some organic amendments can promote the activities of soil microbial communities, and increase its biodiversity (García-Orenes et al., 2010; 2013). The impact of land use in microbiological properties of agriculture soil are presented and discussed in this review. Biological activity is quantified by microbial soil communities and soil enzyme activities to interpret the effects of soil management practices (Morugán-Coronado et al., 2013). The aim of biological activity tests is to give a reliable description of the state of agricultural soils under the effect of different land uses. Numerous methods have been used to determine the impact of land uses on microbiological properties. The current used methods for detecting microbial diversity are based on molecular techniques centered on the 16S and 18S rRNA encoding sequences such as CLPP: community-level physiological profiles; T-RFLP: terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism; DGGE: denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; OFRG: oligonucleotide fingerprinting of rRNA genes, ARISA: Automated Ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis, SSCP: single-strand conformation polymorphism. And techniques based on the cellular composition of the microbes such as PLFA: phospholipid fatty acid analysis. Other methods are based on the activity of microbes, for example, Cmic: microbial biomass carbon; SIR: substrate induced respiration; BSR: Basal soil respiration; qCO2 metabolic quotient; enzymatic activities (Urease, ß-glucosidase and phosphatase) (Deng, 2012). Agricultural land management can contribute to increased rates of erosion due to

  2. Crop residue management and fertilization effects on soil organic matter and associated biological properties. (United States)

    Zhao, Bingzi; Zhang, Jiabao; Yu, Yueyue; Karlen, Douglas L; Hao, Xiying


    Returning crop residue may result in nutrient reduction in soil in the first few years. A two-year field experiment was conducted to assess whether this negative effect is alleviated by improved crop residue management (CRM). Nine treatments (3 CRM and 3 N fertilizer rates) were used. The CRM treatments were (1) R0: 100 % of the N using mineral fertilizer with no crop residues return; (2) R: crop residue plus mineral fertilizer as for the R0; and (3) Rc: crop residue plus 83 % of the N using mineral and 17 % manure fertilizer. Each CRM received N fertilizer rates at 270, 360, and 450 kg N ha(-1) year(-1). At the end of the experiment, soil NO3-N was reduced by 33 % from the R relative to the R0 treatment, while the Rc treatment resulted in a 21 to 44 % increase in occluded particulate organic C and N, and 80 °C extracted dissolved organic N, 19 to 32 % increase in microbial biomass C and protease activity, and higher monounsaturated phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA):saturated PLFA ratio from stimulating growth of indigenous bacteria when compared with the R treatment. Principal component analysis showed that the Biolog and PLFA profiles in the three CRM treatments were different from each other. Overall, these properties were not influenced by the used N fertilizer rates. Our results indicated that application of 17 % of the total N using manure in a field with crop residues return was effective for improving potential plant N availability and labile soil organic matter, primarily due to a shift in the dominant microorganisms.

  3. Effect of fertilization on biological activity of community of soil streptomycetes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)



    Full Text Available The search for new natural mechanisms to inhibit the growth of phytopathogenic microorganisms has become widely widespread. Therefore, the main objective of the present study was determination of antimicrobial activities of actinomycetes isolated from agricultural soil, which was fertilized mainly by organic fertilizers, against 8 selected phytopathogenic strains. Among the actinomycetes, Streptomyces species have been extensively studied, because they have been recognized as an important source of secondary metabolites, which can suppress the growth of undesirable pests in crops. The results indicated that the richest source of Streptomyces colonies was soil fertilized with compost (103 x104 CFU*g-1 dry soil. On the basis of morphological signs, total of 65 isolates were selected and examined for antimicrobial activities. Isolates exhibited the best activity against Gram negative bacterium Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus, disease agent of “ring rot” of potatoes and against fungus Fusarium poae, disease agent of Fusarium head blight of wheat. Twelve isolates exhibited promising broad-spectrum activity against tested organisms. On the basis of results, six of them were selected for further screening. Comparison of polyphasic studies with available literature led to identification of biological active strains S. olivochromogenes (13SC11, S. avermitilis (13SC2, S. rishiriensis (13SC13, S. globisporus (13SC19, S. sampsonii (13SPC10 and S. avidinii (13SPC4. After quantification analysis of various enzymes, tested isolates produced alkaline phosphatase, leucinearylamidase, valinearylamidase, acid phosphatase, naphtol-AS-BI-phosphohydrolase, glucosidase in high values (>40 nmol and were positive for nitrate reduction, hydrolysis of gelatin, urease, and esculin. These isolates can be used in the development of new biopesticides anf biofertilizers with antibacterial and antifungal effect.

  4. Inclusion of soil arsenic bioaccessibility in ecological risk assessment and comparison with biological effects. (United States)

    Saunders, Jared R; Knopper, Loren D; Koch, Iris; Reimer, Kenneth J


    The purpose of this study was to conduct an ecological risk assessment (ERA) for meadow voles (Microtus pennslvanicus) found at three arsenic contaminated sites in Nova Scotia, Canada (as well as two background locations) and to compare the numeric results to measured biomarkers of exposure and effect. The daily intake of arsenic by meadow voles was determined by three separate calculations: estimated daily intake (EDI), bioaccessible estimated daily intake (BEDI, with bioaccessibility of soil included), and actual daily intake (ADI, which is calculated with arsenic concentrations in the stomach contents). The median bioaccessibility of arsenic in soils from the contaminated locations was significantly greater than at background locations. The bioaccessible arsenic concentration in soil from all samples (both contaminated and background) was significantly less than the total concentration. Use of site-specific bioaccessibility (hazard quotients=38 at Upper Seal Harbour (USH); 60 at Lower Seal Harbour (LSH); and 120 at Montague tailings (MONT)) and stomach arsenic contents (hazard quotients=2.1 at USH; 7.9 at LSH; and 6.7 at MONT) in the ERA resulted in lower numeric risk than compared to risk calculated with 100% bioavailability (hazard quotient=180 at USH; 75 at LSH; and 680 at MONT). Further, the use of bioaccessibility on the calculation of risk was aligned with biomarker results (changes in glutathione and micronucleated erythrocytes) in voles captured at the sites. This study provides evidence that using site-specific bioaccessibility in ERAs may provide a more realistic level of conservatism, thereby enhancing the accuracy of predicting risk to wildlife receptors. Furthermore, when numeric risk assessments are combined with site-specific biological data (i.e., biomarkers of exposure and effect), both lines of evidence can be used to make informed decisions about ecological risk and site management.

  5. Physics of Neutron Star Crusts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chamel Nicolas


    Full Text Available The physics of neutron star crusts is vast, involving many different research fields, from nuclear and condensed matter physics to general relativity. This review summarizes the progress, which has been achieved over the last few years, in modeling neutron star crusts, both at the microscopic and macroscopic levels. The confrontation of these theoretical models with observations is also briefly discussed.

  6. Effects of initial soil condition on the effectiveness of biological geotextiles in reducing interrill runoff and erosion (United States)

    Smets, T.; Poesen, J.


    The effectiveness of a surface cover material (e.g. geotextiles, rock fragments, mulches, vegetation) in reducing runoff and soil erosion rates is often only assessed by the fraction of the soil surface covered. However, there are indications that soil structure has important effects on the runoff and erosion-reducing effectiveness of the cover materials. This study investigates the impact of initial soil condition (i.e. fine tilth versus sealed soil surface) on the effectiveness of biological geotextiles in increasing infiltration rates and in reducing runoff and interrill erosion rates on a medium and steep slope gradient. Rainfall was simulated during 60 minutes with an intensity of 67 mm h-1 on an interrill erosion plot having two slope gradients (i.e. 15 and 45%) and filled with an erodible sandy loam. Five biological and three simulated geotextiles with different cover percentage were tested on two simulated initial soil conditions (i.e. fine tilth and sealed soil surface). Final infiltration rates on a sealed soil surface (7.5-18.5 mm h-1) are observed after ca. 10 minutes of rainfall compared to ca. 50 minutes of rainfall on an initial seedbed (16.4-56.7 mm h-1). On the two tested slope gradients, significantly (α = 0.05) smaller runoff coefficients (RC) are observed on an initial seedbed (8.2% geotextile cover. However, on an initial sealed soil surface no significant effect of simulated geotextile cover on RC is observed. On a 15% slope gradient, calculated b-values from the mulch factor equation equalled 0.054 for an initial fine tilth and 0.022 for a sealed soil surface, indicating a higher effectiveness of geotextiles in reducing interrill erosion on a fine tilth compared to a sealed soil surface. Therefore, this study demonstrates the importance of applying geotextiles on the soil surface before the surface tilth is sealed due to rainfall. The effect of soil structure on the effectiveness of a surface cover in reducing runoff and interrill erosion

  7. A combined approach of physicochemical and biological methods for the characterization of petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated soil. (United States)

    Masakorala, Kanaji; Yao, Jun; Chandankere, Radhika; Liu, Haijun; Liu, Wenjuan; Cai, Minmin; Choi, Martin M F


    Main physicochemical and microbiological parameters of collected petroleum-contaminated soils with different degrees of contamination from DaGang oil field (southeast of Tianjin, northeast China) were comparatively analyzed in order to assess the influence of petroleum contaminants on the physicochemical and microbiological properties of soil. An integration of microcalorimetric technique with urease enzyme analysis was used with the aim to assess a general status of soil metabolism and the potential availability of nitrogen nutrient in soils stressed by petroleum-derived contaminants. The total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) content of contaminated soils varied from 752.3 to 29,114 mg kg(−1). Although the studied physicochemical and biological parameters showed variations dependent on TPH content, the correlation matrix showed also highly significant correlation coefficients among parameters, suggesting their utility in describing a complex matrix such as soil even in the presence of a high level of contaminants. The microcalorimetric measures gave evidence of microbial adaptation under highest TPH concentration; this would help in assessing the potential of a polluted soil to promote self-degradation of oil-derived hydrocarbon under natural or assisted remediation. The results highlighted the importance of the application of combined approach in the study of those parameters driving the soil amelioration and bioremediation.

  8. Effects of Tabriz petrochemicals’ biological sludge on heavy metals concentration in soil and spring barley in greenhouse conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sh. Oustan


    Full Text Available Utilizing sewage sludge as a source of cheap fertilizer and rich in nutrients is common in some parts of Iran. But, too much application causes accumulation of heavy metals in soil, which results in soil pollution and transfer of this pollution to food chain and endangers human and animal health. The aim of this research was to investigate the effect of biological sludge of Tabriz petrochemicals complex on some heavy metals concentration in spring barley grown in a calcareous soil after 6 months of incubation. The experiment was conducted in greenhouse conditions with 5 levels of 0 (control, 25, 50, 75 and 100 ton/ha sewage sludge, in three replications, based on complete randomized blocks design. Soil analysis showed that application of biological sludge significantly increased DTPA extractable Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu and Cd (except 25 ton/ha treatment compared to the control. The results of plant analysis showed an increase of Fe, Zn and Mn in shoots and Zn and Mn in roots, compared to the control. But elevation of root Fe content was not significant. The amount of Cu and Cd in shoots and roots was below the detection limit of the instrument. Overall, it was concluded that although the application of biological sludge increased the content of heavy metals in soil, but its effect on concentration of toxic elements, such as Cd, in plants was not significant.

  9. Effects of seasonal olive mill wastewater applications on hydrological and biological soil properties in an olive orchard in Israel (United States)

    Steinmetz, Zacharias; Kurtz, Markus; Peikert, Benjamin; Zipori, Isaac; Dag, Arnon; Schaumann, Gabriele E.


    During olive oil production in Mediterranean countries, large amounts of olive mill wastewater (OMW) are generated within a short period of time. OMW has a high nutrient content and could serve as fertilizer when applied on land. However, its fatty and phenolic constituents have adverse effects on hydrological and biological soil properties. It is still unknown how seasonal fluctuations in temperature and precipitation influence the fate and effect of OMW components on soil in a long-term perspective. An appropriate application season could mitigate negative consequences of OMW while preserving its beneficial effects. In order to investigate this, 14 L OMW m-2 were applied to different plots of an olive orchard in Gilat, Israel, in winter, spring, and summer, respectively. Hydrological soil properties (water drop penetration time, hydraulic conductivity, dynamic contact angle), physicochemical parameters (pH, EC, soluble ions, phenolic compounds, organic matter), and biological degradation (bait-lamina test) were measured to assess the soil state after OMW application. After one rainy season following OMW application, the soil quality of summer treatments significantly decreased compared to the control. This was particularly apparent in a ten-fold higher soil water repellency, a three-times lower biodegradation performance, and a four-fold higher content of phenolic compounds. 1.5 years after the last OMW application, the soil properties of winter treatments were comparable to the control, which suggests a certain recovery potential of the soil. Spring treatments resulted in an intermediate response compared to summer and winter treatments, but without any precipitation following OMW application. Strongest OMW effects were found in the top soil layers. Further research is needed to quantify the effect of spring treatments as well as to gain further insight into leaching effects, the composition of organic OMW constituents, and the kinetics of their degradation in

  10. Biological Activity of Methyl tert-butyl Ether in Relation to Soil Microorganisms has a Negative Environmental Impact

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    Gholam H.S. Bonjar


    Full Text Available Fuel oxygenates are added to gasoline to enhance combustion efficiency of automobiles and reduce air pollution. Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE is the most commonly used oxygenate because of its low cost, high-octane level and ease of blending with gasoline. However, due to its water solubility, high mobility and low biodegradability it leaches in soil subsurface at the speed of groundwater. Amending gasoline with MTBE has made a widespread contamination of groundwater, surface waters in coastal environments and at low levels in well water. Although current public concern about MTBE contamination is widely discussed, but its adverse effects on soil micro flora is not yet understood. Soil Streptomycetes are beneficial to soil productivity and are of the major contributors to the biological buffering of soils having antagonistic activity against wide spectrum of pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Streptomyceticidal activity of Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE is being reported here. Adverse effect of MTBE against four soil-inhabitant Streptomyces spp. isolates and two plant root-pathogens was investigated. To elucidate antimicrobial activity of MTBE, it was tested against four soil isolates of Streptomyces; a plant bacterial-pathogen, Erwinia carotovora and a plant root fungal-pathogen, Fusarium solani. MTBE did not reveal any growth inhibitory-activity against E. carotovora and F. solani but showed strong inhibitory effect against Streptomyces spp. isolates. The Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC was 1/800 of the original MTBE. Fuel leaks and spills can adversely suppress or eliminate the Streptomyces role in the soil causing alteration in the balance of soil micro flora. This change will lead to domination of microorganisms with adverse biological or ecological effects. Fortunately, major oil companies have decided to phase out MTBE from automobile fuels because of its adverse effect on environment and human health.

  11. Effect of different crops on soil organic matter and biological activity in Oxisols under three different crops (United States)

    Toledo, Diana Marcela; Arzuaga, Silvia; Dalurzo, Humberto; Zornoza, Raúl; Vazquez, Sara


    The objective of this work was to evaluate changes in soil organic matter in Oxisols under different crops compared to native rainforest, and to assess if acid phosphatase activity (APA) could be a good indicator for SOC changes and soil quality. The experimental design consisted of four completely randomized blocks with four treatments: subtropical rainforest (F); yerba mate crop (I) (Ilex paraguariensis SH.); citrus crop (C) (Citrus unshiu Marc); and tobacco crop (T) (Nicotiana tabacum L.). Soil samples were taken at 0-10; 10-20 and 20-30 cm depths. The variables measured were soil organic carbon (SOC), APA, clay content, pH, total nitrogen (Nt), available phosphorus (P) and CO2 emissions. All data were analyzed by ANOVA to assess the effects of land-use changes. The treatment means were compared through Duncan's multiple range tests (psoils showed an acid reaction and their clay content was over 650 g kg-1 for the three depths. SOC and N contents were higher in native soils, intermediate for the citrus crop, and lower under both tobacco and yerba mate crops. CO2 emissions were higher in the rainforest (47.32 kg ha-1 of CO2) than in cultivated soils, which indicates that biological activity is enhanced in rainforest soils where substrates for soil biota and fauna are more readily available. The variability of 76% in APA was explained by total nitrogen, which is closely related to soil organic matter, and by available P. Conversion of subtropical rainforests into agricultural lands reduced SOC content and acid phosphatase activity, thereby lowering soil quality. In this study, acid phosphatase activity proved to be a sensitive indicator to detect changes from pristine to cropped soils, but it failed to distinguish differences among crop systems.

  12. Top layer enhances biological ontrol of thrips in ornamentals :"Predatory mites survive better on rich soil cover

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoogstraten, van K.; Grosman, A.H.


    An organic top layer over the soil or substrate can enhance the biological control of thrips in roses and alstroemerias. The top layer contains food for prey mites, which in turn serve as food for predatory mites. In this way the predators survive longer. Thus, as the thrips population increases, an

  13. Does grazing of cover crops impact biologically active soil C and N fractions under inversion and no tillage management (United States)

    Cover crops are a key component of conservation cropping systems. They can also be a key component of integrated crop-livestock systems by offering high-quality forage during short periods between cash crops. The impact of cattle grazing on biologically active soil C and N fractions has not receiv...

  14. The practicalities and pitfalls of establishing a policy-relevant and cost-effective soil biological monitoring scheme. (United States)

    Faber, Jack H; Creamer, Rachel E; Mulder, Christian; Römbke, Jörg; Rutgers, Michiel; Sousa, J Paulo; Stone, Dorothy; Griffiths, Bryan S


    A large number of biological indicators have been proposed over the years for assessing soil quality. Although many of those have been applied in monitoring schemes across Europe, no consensus exists on the extent to which these indicators might perform best and how monitoring schemes can be further optimized in terms of scientific and policy relevance. Over the past decade, developments in environmental monitoring and risk assessment converged toward the use of indicators and endpoints that are related to soil functioning and ecosystem services. In view of the proposed European Union (EU) Soil Framework Directive, there is an urgent need to identify and evaluate indicators for soil biodiversity and ecosystem services. The recently started integrated project, Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils (EcoFINDERS), aims to address this specific issue within the EU Framework Program FP7. Here, we 1) discuss how to use the concept of ecosystem services in soil monitoring, 2) review former and ongoing monitoring schemes, and 3) present an analysis of metadata on biological indicators in some EU member states. Finally, we discuss our experiences in establishing a logical sieve approach to devise a monitoring scheme for a standardized and harmonized application at European scale.

  15. Ecological and geographical regularities of changes in the biological activity of automorphic soils on the foothills and adjacent plains of the Central Caucasus region (Kabardino-Balkarian Republic) (United States)

    Gorobtsova, O. N.; Khezheva, F. V.; Uligova, T. S.; Tembotov, R. Kh.


    The biochemical properties inherent to the main types of automorphic soils developed in different bioclimatic conditions of Elbrus and Terek variants of the vertical zonality within Kabardino-Balkaria were compared. The natural-climatic conditions of these variants noticeably affect the soil cover pattern. The ratio of the oxidase and hydrolase activities is sensitive to the moisture conditions in which these soils are formed. The redox processes are more active in drier conditions, whereas hydrolytic processes are more active under higher moisture. The level of the biological activity of the automorphic soils is estimated using the integral index of the ecological-biological soil status.

  16. Isolation and Identification of Phosphate Solubilizing and Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria from Soil in Wamena Biological Garden, Jayawijaya, Papua

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)



    Full Text Available A study was undertaken to investigate the occurrence of phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB and nitrogen-fixing bacteria (NFB from soil samples of Wamena Biological Garden (WbiG. Eleven soil samples were collected randomly to estimate microbial population which used plate count method. The result showed that the microbial population ranged from 5.0x103-7.5x106 cells of bacteria/gram of soil and 5.0x103-1.5x107 cells of bacteria/gram of soil for PSB and NFB respectively. There were 17 isolates which have been identified till genus and species. The isolated microorganism were identified as PSB i.e. Bacillus sp., B. pantothenticus, B. megatherium, Flavobacterium sp., F. breve, Klebsiella sp., K. aerogenes, Chromobacterium lividum, Enterobacter alvei, E. agglomerans, Pseudomonas sp., Proteus sp. and as NFB i.e. Azotobacter sp., A. chroococcum, A. paspalii, Rhizobium sp., and Azospirillum sp.

  17. Microenvironments and microscale productivity of cyanobacterial desert crusts (United States)

    Garcia-Pichel, F.; Belnap, Jayne


    We used microsensors to characterize physicochemical microenvironments and photosynthesis occurring immediately after water saturation in two desert soil crusts from southeastern Utah, which were formed by the cyanobacteria Microcoleus vaginatus Gomont, Nostoc spp., and Scytonema sp. The light fields within the crusts presented steep vertical gradients in magnitude and spectral composition. Near-surface light-trapping zones were formed due to the scattering nature of the sand particles, but strong light attenuation resulted in euphotic zones only ca. 1 mm deep, which were progressively enriched in longer wavelengths with depth. Rates of gross photosynthesis (3.4a??9.4 mmol O2A?ma??2A?ha??1) and dark respiration (0.81a??3.1 mmol Oa??2A?ma??2A?ha??1) occurring within 1 to several mm from the surface were high enough to drive the formation of marked oxygen microenvironments that ranged from oxygen supersaturation to anoxia. The photosynthetic activity also resulted in localized pH values in excess of 10, 2a??3 units above the soil pH. Differences in metabolic parameters and community structure between two types of crusts were consistent with a successional pattern, which could be partially explained on the basis of the microenvironments. We discuss the significance of high metabolic rates and the formation of microenvironments for the ecology of desert crusts, as well as the advantages and limitations of microsensor-based methods for crust investigation.

  18. Functional soil microbial diversity across Europe estimated by EEA, MicroResp and BIOLOG

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Winding, Anne; Rutgers, Michiel; Creamer, Rachel

    Soil microorganisms are abundant and essential for the bio-geochemical processes of soil, soil quality and soil ecosystem services. All this is dependent on the actual functions the microbial communities are performing in the soil. Measuring soil respiration has for many years been the basis...... of estimating soil microbial activity. However, today several techniques are in use for determining microbial functional diversity and assessing soil biodiversity: Methods based on CO2 development by the microbes such as substrate induced respiration (SIR) on specific substrates have lead to the development...... of MicroResp and Community Level Physiological Profile (CLPP), while soil enzymatic activity are being assayed by Extracellular Enzyme Activity (EEA) based on MUF-substrates. Here we compared and contrasted the three techniques of assessing soil microbial functional diversity in a European transect...

  19. The Polar Crust Project- BSC Diversity and Variability in the Arctic and Antarctica (United States)

    Williams, Laura; Borchhardt, Nadine; Komisc-Buchmann, Karin; Becker, Burkhard; Karsten, Ulf; Büdel, Burkhard


    The Polar Crust Project is a newly funded DFG initiative that aims to provide a precise evaluation of the biodiversity of eukaryotic green microalgae and cyanobacteria in Biological Soil Crusts (BSC) isolated from the Antarctic Peninsula and Arctic Svalbard. This project will include a thorough investigation into the composition of BSC in the Polar regions, this especially is important for Svalbard due to the severe lack of any previous research on such communities in this area. During our expedition to Spitsbergen, Svalbard in August 2014 we were particularly surprised to find that the coverage of BSC is extremely high and is certainly the dominant vegetation type around Ny Ålesund. Due to this discovery the project has now been extended to include long term measurements of CO2 gas exchange in order to gain exact seasonal carbon fixation rates and therefore discovering how the BSC contributes to the ecosystems carbon balance. The research areas of Spitsbergen were centred around 2 localities: Ny-Ålesund is a research town, home to the AWIPEV station, on the Brøgger peninsula. Longyearbyen, which is the largest settlement on the island, is found in the valley Longyeardalen on the shore of Adventfjorden. Areas where BSC is the prevalent vegetation type were identified, 6 around Ny-Ålesund and 4 for Longyearbyen, and vegetation surveys were conducted. This entailed 625 single point measurements at each site and identifying the crust/or other cover type. For example, green algal lichen, cyanobacterial crust, higher plant, open soil. Samples were also taken at every location in order to study the green algal and cyanobacterial diversity. The vegetation survey will allow us to get a good overview of the BSC composition at the different sites. In January 2015 an expedition to the Antarctic Peninsular took place, here the sampling method was repeated and therefore both Polar Regions BSC composition can be described and compared. Here, we wish to introduce the Polar

  20. Creep behavior of microbiotic crust

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    The creep behavior of microbiotic crust at room temperature was revealed by the creep bending tests of cantilever beam under constant-load conditions.The variation in the deflection with time can be depicted well by a standard creep curve.Creep rupture is a fundamental failure mechanism of microbiotic crust due to creep.A simple theory was then applied to describe this new me-chanical behavior.The existence of creep phenomenon brings into question the validity of widely used methods for measuring the strength of microbiotic crust.

  1. Nature and Composition of Planetary Surficial Deposits and Their Relationship to Planetary Crusts (United States)

    McLennan, S. M.


    Planetary soils constitute micron to meter sized debris blankets covering all or parts of the surfaces of many planetary bodies. Recent results from the Martian surface, by the MER rovers and Phoenix lander, the Huygens probe at Titan and perhaps even the NEAR mission to asteroid 433 Eros suggest a continuum between classic planetary soils, such as those on the Moon, and conventional sediments, such as those on Earth. Controls on this variation are governed by complex interactions related to (1) impact and volcanic history, (2) presence and nature of atmospheres (and thus climate), (3) occurrence, composition and physical state of near-surface volatiles (e.g., water, methane), and (4) presence and nature of crustal tectonics, crustal evolution, and so forth. The Moon represents one extreme where surficial deposits result almost exclusively from impact processes. Absence of water and air restrict further reworking or transport on a significant scale after initial deposition. Disruption and mixing of lunar soils takes place but is related to impact gardening operating on relatively local scales and largely in a vertical sense; alteration is restricted to space weathering. The effect is that lunar soils are compositionally variable and match the composition of the crust in the vicinity of where they form. Thus lunar soils in the highlands are fundamentally different in composition than those on maria. Earth provides the other extreme where the highly dynamic geochemical and geophysical nature of the surface precludes preservation of classic planetary soils, although analogs may exist in ejecta blankets and eolian loess. Instead, a complex suite of sedimentary deposits form in response to chemical and physical weathering, erosion, transport and deposition by a variety of mechanisms involving water, wind, ice and biology. Although there is substantial sedimentary lithological differentiation (e.g., shales, sands, carbonates, evaporites), greatly influenced by the

  2. Physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil under soybean cultivation and at an adjacent rainforest in Amazonia

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    Troy Patrick Beldini


    Full Text Available Land-use change in the Amazon basin has occurred at an accelerated pace during the last decade, and it is important that the effects induced by these changes on soil properties are better understood. This study investigated the chemical, physical, and biological properties of soil in a field under cultivation of soy and rice, and at an adjacent primary rain forest. Increases in soil bulk density, exchangeable cations and pH were observed in the soy field soil. In the primary forest, soil microbial biomass and basal respiration rates were higher, and the microbial community was metabolically more efficient. The sum of basal respiration across the A, AB and BA horizons on a mass per area basis ranged from 7.31 to 10.05 Mg CO2-C ha-1yr-1, thus yielding estimates for total soil respiration between 9.6 and 15.5 Mg CO2-C ha-1yr-1 across sites and seasons. These estimates are in good agreement with literature values for Amazonian ecosystems. The estimates of heterotrophic respiration made in this study help to further constrain the estimates of autotrophic soil respiration and will be useful for monitoring the effects of future land-use in Amazonian ecosystems.

  3. Molecular, chemical and biological screening of soil actinomycete isolates in seeking bioactive peptide metabolites

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    Javad Hamedi


    Full Text Available Background and Objective: Due to the evolution of multidrug-resistant strains, screening of natural resources, especially actinomycetes, for new therapeutic agents discovery has become the interests of researchers. In this study, molecular, chemical and biological screening of soil actinomycetes was carried out in order to search for peptide-producing actinomycetes.Materials and Methods: 60 actinomycetes were isolated from soils of Iran. The isolates were subjected to molecular screening for detection NRPS (non-ribosomal peptide synthetases gene. Phylogenic identification of NRPS containing isolates was performed. Chemical screening of the crude extracts was performed using chlorine o-dianisidine as peptide detector reagent and bioactivity of peptide producing strains was determined by antimicrobial bioassay. High pressure liquid chromatography- mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS with UV-visible spectroscopy was performed for detection of the metabolite diversity in selected strain.Results: Amplified NRPS adenylation gene (700 bp was detected among 30 strains. Phylogenic identification of these isolates showed presence of rare actinomycetes genera among the isolates and 10 out of 30 strains were subjected to chemical screening. Nocardia sp. UTMC 751 showed antimicrobial activity against bacterial and fungal test pathogens. HPLC-MSand UV-visible spectroscopy results from the crude extract showed that this strain has probably the ability to produce new metabolites.Conclusion: By application of a combined approach, including molecular, chemical and bioactivity analysis, a promising strain of Nocardia sp. UTMC 751 was obtained. This strain had significant activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Strain Nocardia sp. UTMC 751 produce five unknown and most probably new metabolites with molecular weights of 274.2, 390.3, 415.3, 598.4 and 772.5. This strain had showed 99% similarity to Nocardia ignorata DSM 44496 T.

  4. Conservation agriculture among small scale farmers in semi-arid region of Kenya does improve soil biological quality and soil organic carbon (United States)

    Waweru, Geofrey; Okoba, Barrack; Cornelis, Wim


    The low food production in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been attributed to declining soil quality. This is due to soil degradation and fertility depletion resulting from unsustainable conventional farming practices such as continuous tillage, crop residue burning and mono cropping. To overcome these challenges, conservation agriculture (CA) is actively promoted. However, little has been done in evaluating the effect of each of the three principles of CA namely: minimum soil disturbance, maximum surface cover and diversified/crop rotation on soil quality in SSA. A study was conducted for three years from 2012 to 2015 in Laikipia East sub county in Kenya to evaluate the effect of tillage, surface cover and intercropping on a wide variety of physical, chemical and biological soil quality indicators, crop parameters and the field-water balance. This abstract reports on soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC) and soil organic carbon (SOC). The experimental set up was a split plot design with tillage as main treatment (conventional till (CT), no-till (NT) and no-till with herbicide (NTH)), and intercropping and surface cover as sub treatment (intercropping maize with: beans, MB; beans and leucaena, MBL; beans and maize residues at 1.5 Mg ha-1 MBMu, and dolichos, MD). NT had significantly higher SMBC by 66 and 31% compared with CT and NTH respectively. SOC was significantly higher in NTH than CT and NT by 15 and 4%, respectively. Intercropping and mulching had significant effect on SMBC and SOC. MBMu resulted in higher SMBC by 31, 38 and 43%, and SOC by 9, 20 and 22% as compared with MBL, MD and MB, respectively. SMBC and SOC were significantly affected by the interaction between tillage, intercropping and soil cover with NTMBMu and NTHMBMu having the highest SMBC and SOC, respectively. We conclude that indeed tillage, intercropping and mulching substantially affect SMBC and SOC. On the individual components of CA, tillage and surface cover had the highest effect on SMBC and

  5. Elevated temperature altered photosynthetic products in wheat seedlings and organic compounds and biological activity in rhizopshere soil under cadmium stress (United States)

    Jia, Xia; Zhao, Yonghua; Wang, Wenke; He, Yunhua


    The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of slightly elevated atmospheric temperature in the spring on photosynthetic products in wheat seedlings and on organic compounds and biological activity in rhizosphere soil under cadmium (Cd) stress. Elevated temperature was associated with increased soluble sugars, reducing sugars, starch, and total sugars, and with decreased amino acids in wheat seedlings under Cd stress. Elevated temperature improved total soluble sugars, free amino acids, soluble phenolic acids, and organic acids in rhizosphere soil under Cd stress. The activity of amylase, phenol oxidase, invertase, β-glucosidase, and L-asparaginase in rhizosphere soil was significantly improved by elevated temperature under Cd stress; while cellulase, neutral phosphatase, and urease activity significantly decreased. Elevated temperature significantly improved bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, and total microorganisms abundance and fluorescein diacetate activity under Cd stress. In conclusion, slightly elevated atmospheric temperature in the spring improved the carbohydrate levels in wheat seedlings and organic compounds and biological activity in rhizosphere soil under Cd stress in the short term. In addition, elevated atmospheric temperature in the spring stimulated available Cd by affecting pH, DOC, phenolic acids, and organic acids in rhizosphere soil, which resulted in the improvement of the Cd uptake by wheat seedlings.

  6. Crust Formation in Aluminum Cells (United States)

    Oedegard, R.; Roenning, S.; Rolseth, S.; Thonstad, J.


    This paper examines the catalytic effects offlourides on the ϒ→α-Al2O3 phase transformation by heat treating commercial alumina samples with 2wt% additions of different flouride compounds. The various additives were ranked according to their effect on transformation temperature. Experiments were conducted to explain the high temperature coherence of crusts. The findings indicate that an alumina network is formed during ϒ→α phase transformation, which reinforces the crust on top of the cryolite bath.

  7. Chemical and biological properties of phosphorus-fertilized soil under legume and grass cover (Cerrado region, Brazil

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    Marcelo Fernando Pereira Souza


    Full Text Available The use of cover crops has been suggested as an effective method to maintain and/or increase the organic matter content, while maintaining and/or enhancing the soil physical, chemical and biological properties. The fertility of Cerrado soils is low and, consequently, phosphorus levels as well. Phosphorus is required at every metabolic stage of the plant, as it plays a role in the processes of protein and energy synthesis and influences the photosynthetic process. This study evaluated the influence of cover crops and phosphorus rates on soil chemical and biological properties after two consecutive years of common bean. The study analyzed an Oxisol in Selvíria (Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, in a randomized block, split plot design, in a total of 24 treatments with three replications. The plot treatments consisted of cover crops (millet, pigeon pea, crotalaria, velvet bean, millet + pigeon pea, millet + crotalaria, and millet + velvet bean and one plot was left fallow. The subplots were represented by phosphorus rates applied as monoammonium phosphate (0, 60 and 90 kg ha-1 P2O5. In August 2011, the soil chemical properties were evaluated (pH, organic matter, phosphorus, potential acidity, cation exchange capacity, and base saturation as well as biological variables (carbon of released CO2, microbial carbon, metabolic quotient and microbial quotient. After two years of cover crops in rotation with common bean, the cover crop biomass had not altered the soil chemical properties and barely influenced the microbial activity. The biomass production of millet and crotalaria (monoculture or intercropped was highest. The biological variables were sensitive and responded to increasing phosphorus rates with increases in microbial carbon and reduction of the metabolic quotient.

  8. Impact of forest fire on physical, chemical and biological properties of soil: A review


    Satyam Verma; S Jayakumar


    Forest fire is very common to all the ecosystems of the world. It affects both vegetation and soil. It is also helpful in maintaining diversity and stability of ecosystems. Effect of forest fire and prescribed fire on forest soil is very complex. It affects soil organic matter, macro and micro-nutrients, physical properties of soil like texture, colour, pH, Bulk Density as well as soil biota. The impact of fire on forest soil depends on various factors such as intensity of fire, fuel load and...

  9. Impact of forest fire on physical, chemical and biological properties of soil: A review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Satyam Verma


    Full Text Available Forest fire is very common to all the ecosystems of the world. It affects both vegetation and soil. It is also helpful in maintaining diversity and stability of ecosystems. Effect of forest fire and prescribed fire on forest soil is very complex. It affects soil organic matter, macro and micro-nutrients, physical properties of soil like texture, colour, pH, Bulk Density as well as soil biota. The impact of fire on forest soil depends on various factors such as intensity of fire, fuel load and soil moisture. Fire is beneficial as well as harmful for the forest soil depending on its severity and fire return interval. In low intensity fires, combustion of litter and soil organic matter increase plant available nutrients, which results in rapid growth of herbaceous plants and a significant increase in plant storage of nutrients. Whereas high intensity fires can result into complete loss of soil organic matter, volatilization of N, P, S, K, death of microbes, etc. Intense forest fire results into formation of some organic compounds with hydrophobic properties, which results into high water repellent soils. Forest fire also causes long term effect on forest soil. The purpose of this paper is to review the effect of forest fire on various properties of soil, which are important in maintaining healthy ecosystem.

  10. Effects of Zero Tillage (No-Till) Conservation Agriculture on soil physical and biological properties and their contributions to sustainability (United States)

    Landers, John N.; Rass, Gerard; de Freitas, Pedro L.; Basch, Gottlieb; González Sanchez, Emilio J.; Tabaglio, Vincenzo; Kassan, Amir; Derpsch, Rolf; Friedrich, Theodor; Giupponi, Luca


    Not cultivating soil, rotating crops over the years, and leaving crop residues on the surface in the practice of zero tillage/conservation agriculture (ZT/CA) reverses the historically accelerating degradation of soil organic matter (SOM) and soil structure, while increasing soil biological activity by a factor of 2 to 4. The results of this are many: (a) not cultivating reduces soil compaction, leaving old root holes to facilitate internal drainage, averts the pulverization of soil aggregates and formation of pans, reduces draft power for planting and gives shelter, winter food and nesting sites for fauna, (b) crop residues on the surface practically eliminate wind and water erosion, reduce soil moisture loss through the mulch effect, slow spring warm-up (possibly offset by a lower specific heat demand with less water retention in surface soil) and act as a reserve of organically-compounded nutrients (as they decompose to humus), (c) more SOM means higher available water and nutrient retention, higher biological activity year round (enhancing biological controls), higher levels of water-stable aggregates and a positive carbon sink in incremental SOM. The positive impacts for society are: (i) more and cheaper food, (ii) reduced flood and drought-induced famine risks, (iii) a positive carbon sink in SOM and possible reductions in NO2 emissions, (iv) cleaner water and greater aquifer recharge due to reduced runoff, (v) cleaner air through effective elimination of dust as a product of cultivation (vi) less water pollution and greater aquifer recharge from reduced rainfall runoff, (vii) farm diesel consumption halved, (viii) reduced demand for (tropical) de-forestation, by permitting crop expansion on steeper lands, (ix) increased wildlife populations (skylarks, plovers, partridge and peccaries) and (x) an improved conservation mindset in farmers. It is notable that, in spite of successful practitioners in all European countries, mainstream adoption is still to come

  11. Biological Cycles of Mineral Elements in a Young Mixed Stand in Abandoned Mining Soils

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Da-Lun Tian; Wen-Hua Xiang; Wen-De Yan; Wen-Xing Kang; Xiang-Wen Deng; Zhu Fan


    Phytoremediation as a sustainable and inexpensive technology based on the removal of pollutants from the environment by plants is becoming an increasingly important objective in plant research. In this study, biological cycles of five nutrient elements (N, P, K, Ca, and Mg) and eight heavy metal elements (Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn, Cd, Ni, Pb and Co) were examined in young paniculed goldraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata Laxm) and common elaeocarpus (Elaeocarpus decipens) mixed stands in an abandoned mining area. We found that after vegetation restoration in abandoned mining areas, the organic matter and concentrations of nutrient elements were significantly increased and the heavy metal elements were significantly decreased, the annual retention, uptake and return were 75.0, 115.4, and 40.3 kg/hm2 for nutrient elements, and 1 878.0,3 231.0 and 1 353.0 g/hm2 for heavy metal elements, respectively, with the utilization coefficient, cycling coefficient and turnover rate of 0.92, 0.35 and 0.32 for nutrient elements, and 1.24, 0.42 and 1.92 for heavy metal elements, respectively.Our results suggested that the vegetation restoration in abandoned mining areas had significant effects in improving environmental conditions, enhancing soil available nutrients, and ensuring human health.

  12. Assessing the biological activity of oil-contaminated soddy-podzolic soils with different textures (United States)

    Vershinin, A. A.; Petrov, A. M.; Akaikin, D. V.; Ignat'ev, Yu. A.


    The respiratory activity features in oil-contaminated soddy-podzolic soils of different textures have been studied. Unidirectional processes occur in contaminated loamy and loamy sandy soddy-podzolic soils; their intensities depend on the soil parameters. The mineralization rates of the oil products and the activity of the microflora in loamy soils exceed the corresponding parameters for loamy sandy soils. The long-term impact of oil and its transformation products results in more important disturbances of the microbial community in light soils. It has been shown that light soils containing 9% oil require longer time periods or more intensive remediation measures for the restoration of soil microbial cenoses disturbed by the pollutant.

  13. HONO fluxes from soil surfaces: an overview (United States)

    Wu, Dianming; Sörgel, Matthias; Tamm, Alexandra; Ruckteschler, Nina; Rodriguez-Caballero, Emilio; Cheng, Yafang; Pöschl, Ulrich; Weber, Bettina


    Gaseous nitrous acid (HONO) contributes up to 80% of atmospheric hydroxyl (OH) radicals and is also linked to health risks through reactions with tobacco smoke forming carcinogens. Field and modeling results suggested a large unknown HONO source in the troposphere during daytime. By measuring near ground HONO mixing ratio, up to 30% of HONO can be released from forest, rural and urban ground as well as snow surfaces. This source has been proposed to heterogeneous reactions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on humic acid surfaces or nitric acid photolysis. Laboratory studies showed that HONO emissions from bulk soil samples can reach 258 ng m-2 s-1 (in term of nitrogen), which corresponding to 1.1 × 1012 molecules cm-2 s-1and ˜ 100 times higher than most of the field studies, as measured by a dynamic chamber system. The potential mechanisms for soil HONO emissions include chemical equilibrium of acid-base reaction and gas-liquid partitioning between soil nitrite and HONO, but the positive correlation of HONO fluxes with pH (largest at neutral and slightly alkaline) points to the dominance of the formation process by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). In general soil surface acidity, nitrite concentration and abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria mainly regulate the HONO release from soil. A recent study showed that biological soil crusts in drylands can also emit large quantities of HONO and NO, corresponding to ˜20% of global nitrogen oxide emissions from soils under natural vegetation. Due to large concentrations of microorganisms in biological soil crusts, particularly high HONO and NO emissions were measured after wetting events. Considering large areas of arid and arable lands as well as peatlands, up to 70% of global soils are able to emitting HONO. However, the discrepancy between large soil HONO emissions measured in lab and low contributions of HONO flux from ground surfaces in field as well as the role of microorganisms should be further investigated.

  14. Elevated atmospheric CO2 affected photosynthetic products in wheat seedlings and biological activity in rhizosphere soil under cadmium stress. (United States)

    Jia, Xia; Liu, Tuo; Zhao, Yonghua; He, Yunhua; Yang, Mingyan


    The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of elevated CO2 (700 ± 23 μmol mol(-1)) on photosynthetic products in wheat seedlings and on organic compounds and biological activity in rhizosphere soil under cadmium (Cd) stress. Elevated CO2 was associated with decreased quantities of reducing sugars, starch, and soluble amino acids, and with increased quantities of soluble sugars, total sugars, and soluble proteins in wheat seedlings under Cd stress. The contents of total soluble sugars, total free amino acids, total soluble phenolic acids, and total organic acids in the rhizosphere soil under Cd stress were improved by elevated CO2. Compared to Cd stress alone, the activity of amylase, phenol oxidase, urease, L-asparaginase, β-glucosidase, neutral phosphatase, and fluorescein diacetate increased under elevated CO2 in combination with Cd stress; only cellulase activity decreased. Bacterial abundance in rhizosphere soil was stimulated by elevated CO2 at low Cd concentrations (1.31-5.31 mg Cd kg(-1) dry soil). Actinomycetes, total microbial abundance, and fungi decreased under the combined conditions at 5.31-10.31 mg Cd kg(-1) dry soil. In conclusion, increased production of soluble sugars, total sugars, and proteins in wheat seedlings under elevated CO2 + Cd stress led to greater quantities of organic compounds in the rhizosphere soil relative to seedlings grown under Cd stress only. Elevated CO2 concentrations could moderate the effects of heavy metal pollution on enzyme activity and microorganism abundance in rhizosphere soils, thus improving soil fertility and the microecological rhizosphere environment of wheat under Cd stress.

  15. Effect of Organic Ligands on Biological Availability of Inorganic Phosphorus in Soils

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    FENG Ke; LU Hai-Ming; SHENG Hai-Jun; WANG Xiao-Li; MAO Jian


    Citrate, oxalate, tartrate and malate were added into soils during the growth period of ryegrass to study the effect of different organic ligands on the release various inorganic P (Pi) fractions in a yellow-brown soil and a paddy soil. The results showed that oxalate was most effective in promoting the release of total Pi in the yellow-brown soil and tartrate in the paddy soil. The dominant Pi fractions released from the yellow-brown soil were calcium phosphate (Ca-P) and aluminum phosphate (Al-P) and those from the paddy soil were iron phosphate (Fe-P) and reductant soluble phosphate (O-P) mobilized by tartrate. Phosphorous-mobilizing capability of organic acids in the yellow-brown soil revealed the following order: oxalate > citrate > malate > tartrate. In the paddy soil, the order was tartrate > citrate ≈ oxalate > malate. It was demonstrated that organic ligands were different in their capabilities of mobilizing Pi and the same organic ligand showed also a discrepancy in mobilizing P in different soils. Although the addition of organic ligands into soils could increase the amount of P taken up by ryegrass, the more uptake of P, however, was not only due to the more release of Pi, but also partly from organic P. In many cases, organic ligands promoted the release of the total of the total Pi, while different fractions showed different trends: some increased and others decreased.

  16. Improving biological control of stalk borers in sugarcane by applying silicon as a soil amendment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nikpay Amin


    Full Text Available The sugarcane stalk borers, Sesamia spp. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae are the most destructive sugarcane insect pests in Iran. The efficiency of Telenomus busseolae Gahan (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae used alone or in combination with silicon fertilization was investigated for controlling the sugarcane stalk borers under field conditions. The treatments were: a combination of silicon plus multiple releases of 2,500 T. busseolae, and multiple releases of 5,000, 2,500 and 1,250 T. busseolae alone. Plots receiving no soil amendment or parasites were included as the controls. Three weeks after the first application of each treatment, 100 shoots were selected randomly from each plot and the percentage of dead heart was determined. Then, three months after the first application of parasites, the percentage of stalks damaged, the percentage of internodes bored, and the level of parasitism were determined. Finally, at harvest the percentage of stalks damaged, the percentage of internodes bored, and sugarcane quality characteristics were determined. Results indicated that the efficiency of parasitism increased when combined with an application of silicon fertilizer. The release of 2,500 T. busseolae followed by an application of silicon fertilizer decreased dead hearts to 4%, while 12% dead hearts was observed in the control plots. For the combination treatment, the percentages of stalk damage were 1.5% and 17.2%, at 3 weeks and 3 months after time release, respectively. However, the percentages of stalk damage were 35.2% and 51% when no treatment was applied. Cane quality was significantly higher with the application of silicon fertilizer plus the release of 2,500 T. busseolae, followed by releasing 5,000 Hymenoptera. The level of parasitism was also greater when parasites were released in combination with an application of silicon. We conclude that biological control by egg parasitoids can be enhanced with concurrent applications of silicon fertilizer as a soil

  17. Carbon allocation, nodulation, and biological nitrogen fixation of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L. under soil water limitation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dario Mantovani


    Full Text Available The pioneer tree black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L. is a drought-resistant tree and, in symbiosis with Rhizobium, able to fix dinitrogen from the atmosphere. It is, therefore, an interesting species for marginal lands where soil amelioration is sought in addition to economic gain. However, the interaction between soil water availability, carbon allocation and nitrogen fixation is important for a successful establishment of trees on marginal lands and has not yet been investigated for black locust. Twoyear-old trees were grown under various soil water conditions and drought cycles. The stable isotopic composition of C (δ 13C and N (δ 15N of the leaves was used to identify i the effective drought condition of the treatments and ii the portion N accrued from the atmosphere by the biological nitrogen fixation. Drought-stressed plants significantly reduced their total aboveground biomass production, which was linearly linked to tree transpiration. The shoot:root ratio values changed from 2.2 for the drought-stressed to 4.3 for the well-watered plants. Our investigation shows that drought stress increases the nodule biomass of black locust in order to maintain biological nitrogen fixation and to counteract the lower soil nitrogen availability. The biological nitrogen fixation of drought-stressed trees could be maintained at relatively higher values compared to the well-watered trees. The average leaf nitrogen content varied between 2.8% and 3.0% and was not influenced by the drought stress. Carbon fixation, carbon allocation, and biological nitrogen fixation are to some extent balanced at low irrigation and allow Robinia to cope with long-term water constraints. The combination of black locust’s ecophysiological and morphological plasticity make it interesting as a biomass source for bioenergy and timber production, even in nutrient-limited and drought-affected areas of Europe.

  18. Does dissolved organic carbon regulate biological methane oxidation in semiarid soils? (United States)

    Sullivan, Benjamin W; Selmants, Paul C; Hart, Stephen C


    In humid ecosystems, the rate of methane (CH4 ) oxidation by soil-dwelling methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) is controlled by soil texture and soil water holding capacity, both of which limit the diffusion of atmospheric CH4 into the soil. However, it remains unclear whether these same mechanisms control CH4 oxidation in more arid soils. This study was designed to measure the proximate controls of potential CH4 oxidation in semiarid soils during different seasons. Using a unique and well-constrained 3-million-year-old semiarid substrate age gradient, we were able to hold state factors constant while exploring the relationship between seasonal potential CH4 oxidation rates and soil texture, soil water holding capacity, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). We measured unexpectedly higher rates of potential CH4 oxidation in the wet season than the dry season. Although other studies have attributed low CH4 oxidation rates in dry soils to desiccation of MOB, we present several lines of evidence that this may be inaccurate. We found that soil DOC concentration explained CH4 oxidation rates better than soil physical factors that regulate the diffusion of CH4 from the atmosphere into the soil. We show evidence that MOB facultatively incorporated isotopically labeled glucose into their cells, and MOB utilized glucose in a pattern among our study sites that was similar to wet-season CH4 oxidation rates. This evidence suggests that DOC, which is utilized by MOB in other environments with varying effects on CH4 oxidation rates, may be an important regulator of CH4 oxidation rates in semiarid soils. Our collective understanding of the facultative use of DOC by MOB is still in its infancy, but our results suggest it may be an important factor controlling CH4 oxidation in soils from dry ecosystems.

  19. Long-term impact of acid resin waste deposits on soil quality of forest areas II. Biological indicators. (United States)

    Pérez-de-Mora, Alfredo; Madejón, Engracia; Cabrera, Francisco; Buegger, Franz; Fuss, Roland; Pritsch, Karin; Schloter, Michael


    In this study, we evaluated the effects of two acid resin deposits on the soil microbiota of forest areas by means of biomass, microbial activity-related estimations and simple biological ratios. The determinations carried out included: total DNA yield, basal respiration, intracellular enzyme activities (dehydrogenase and catalase) and extracellular enzyme activities involved in the cycles of C (beta-glucosidase and chitinase), N (protease) and P (acid-phosphatase). The calculated ratios were: total DNA/total N; basal respiration/total DNA; dehydrogenase/total DNA and catalase/total DNA. Total DNA yield was used to estimate soil microbial biomass. Results showed that microbial biomass and activity were severely inhibited in the deposits, whilst resin effects on contaminated zones were variable and site-dependant. Correlation analysis showed no clear effect of contaminants on biomass and activities outside the deposits, but a strong interdependence with natural organic matter related parameters such as total N. In contrast, by using simple ratios we could detect more stressful conditions in terms of organic matter turnover and basal metabolism in contaminated areas compared to their uncontaminated counterparts. These results stress that developed ecosystems such as forests can buffer the effects of pollutants and preserve high functionality via natural attenuation mechanisms, but also that acid resins can be toxic to biological targets negatively affecting soil dynamics. Acid resin deposits can therefore act as contaminant sources adversely altering soil processes and reducing the environmental quality of affected areas despite the solid nature of these wastes.

  20. Biological Removal of Propylene Glycol from Wastewater and its Degradation in Soil by the Activated Sludge Consortia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G.R Moussavi


    Full Text Available "n "nBackground and Objectives : Propylene glycol is the main compound of anti-freezing chemicals. A significant amount of propylene glycol is released to the environment after application and contaminates the soil. The main objective of this study was to determine the biological removal of propylene glycol from wastewater and its degradation in soil by the isolated bacteria from activated sludge process."nMaterials and Methods: In the present study, the sludge taken from the return flow in a local activated sludge treatment system was used as the initial seed. The performance of the bioreactor in treating the wastewater was evaluated at four different retention times of 18, 12, 6 and 4 h all with the inlet COD concentration of 1000 mg/L. This phase lasted around 4 months. Then, a part of the adapted microorganisms were transported from the bioreactor to the soil which was synthetically contaminated to the propylene glycol."nResults: The average of propylene glycol removal efficiency from the wastewater in detention times of 18, 12, 8 and 4 h in steady state conditions was 98.6%, 97.1%, 86.4% and 62.2% respectively. Also, the maximum degradation in soil was found to be 97.8%."nConclusion: According to the results obtained from this study, it appears that propylene glycol is inherently well biodegradable and can be biodegraded in liquid phase and soil after a short period of adaptation.

  1. Influence of green manure in physical and biological properties of soil and productivity in the culture of soybean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ricardo Alves Cardoso


    Full Text Available Green manuring is the practice of using plant species in rotation, succession or intercropped with other crops, aiming improvement, maintenance and recovery of physical, chemical and biological soil properties. The objective was to evaluate the influence of different green manures on soil characteristics and productivity of soybean. The experiment was conducted in Maringá (PR in a randomized block design with six treatments and four replications: T1: oat (Avena Sativa, T2: black oat (Avena strigosa, T3: dwarf pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan, T4: radish (Raphanus sativus L., T5: white lupine (Lupinus albus and T6: control (fallow. At the end of the experiment, relations were established between the green manure used for soybean production, the production of biomass, the development of microorganisms and soil bulk density. The data were analyzed with statistical software and means were compared by Tukey test at 5% probability. The coverages provided higher content of dry matter were lupine, black oat and faba bean. Treatments that most influenced the increase of soil microorganisms were lupine, radish and pigeonpea. Regarding productivity, higher values were obtained in treatments with pigeon pea, lupine and oat. The apparent density of the soil, treatment with turnip showed better results.

  2. Influence of superabsorbent polymers on the chemical composition of strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch. and biological activity in the soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mikiciuk Grzegorz


    Full Text Available By improving the air and water properties of soils, superabsorbent polymers can affect the increase and improvement of the quality of the yield of berry plants, including strawberries. Their presence in the soil has an influence on its biological activity as related to microorganisms. The aim of the research was to assess the influence of superabsorbent polymers added to the soil on the content of macroelements and sodium in the leaves and fruit of strawberry of the ‘Elsanta’ cultivar and changes in the number of soil bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi. The superabsorbent polymer (AgroHydroGel was used in two doses: 1.8 and 3.6 g dm-3 of soil. The content of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium was assessed using the ASA method, while the content of nitrogen and sulphur was assessed by the elemental analysis method (CHNS analyser. The number of microorganisms was assessed with a BacTrac analyser and the coefficient of microorganism development extent (SR was also determined. AgroHydroGel increased the content of nitrogen and potassium in leaves and fruit but did not affect the content of phosphorus, sulphur and sodium. The addition of the superabsorbent at a dose of 3.6 g dm-3 of soil reduced the magnesium content both in the leaves and fruit of the strawberry. AgroHydroGel decreased the content of calcium in the fruit. The use of AgroHydroGel contributed to the expansion of the K ion ratio to other ions, both in the leaves and fruits. We observed a significant increase in the amount of soil bacteria (1.8 g dm-3 dose and no significant influence on actinomycetes and fungi (irrespective of dose used.

  3. Palaeomagnetism and the continental crust

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Piper, J.D.A.


    This book is an introduction to palaeomagnetism offering treatment of theory and practice. It analyzes the palaeomagnetic record over the whole of geological time, from the Archaean to the Cenozoic, and goes on to examine the impact of past geometries and movements of the continental crust at each geological stage. Topics covered include theory of rock and mineral magnetism, field and laboratory methods, growth and consolidation of the continental crust in Archaean and Proterozoic times, Palaeozoic palaeomagnetism and the formation of Pangaea, the geomagnetic fields, continental movements, configurations and mantle convection.

  4. Biological Remediation of Soil: An Overview of Global Market and Available Technologies (United States)

    Singh, Ajay; Kuhad, Ramesh C.; Ward, Owen P.

    Due to a wide range of industrial and agricultural activities, a high number of chemical contaminants is released into the environment, causing a significant concern regarding potential toxicity, carcinogenicity, and potential for bioaccumulation in living systems of various chemicals in soil. Although microbial activity in soil accounts for most of the degradation of organic contaminants, chemical and physical mechanisms can also provide significant transformation pathways for these compounds. The specific remediation processes that have been applied to clean up contaminated sites include natural attenuation, landfarming, biopiling or composting, contained slurry bioreactor, bioventing, soil vapor extraction, thermal desorption, incineration, soil washing and land filling (USEPA 2004).

  5. Effect of the physicochemical parameters of soils on the biological availability of natural and radioactive zinc (United States)

    Anisimov, V. S.; Kochetkov, I. V.; Dikarev, D. V.; Anisimova, L. N.; Korneev, Yu. N.; Frigidova, L. M.


    The relationship between the main physicochemical properties of soils and the accumulation of natural Zn and 65Zn radionuclide has been studied, and the capacity of soils to limit the mobility of the element in the soil-plant system has been assessed. The contribution of each of the selected soil state parameters to the accumulation of zinc by barley has been determined, and the soil state parameters have been ranked. It has been found that the largest contributions to the variation of the resulting parameter (65Zn accumulation coefficient, K a) are made by mobile Fe (25%), free carbonates (21%), and acid-soluble Zn (18%). The largest contributions to the Znac K a are made by free carbonates (13%) and mobile Fe (8%). The contributions of physical clay and organic carbon in soils and qualitative composition of humic substances are almost similar (4% for each). No differences in the inactivating capacity of different soils (soddy-podzolic soils, gray forest soils, and chernozems) for 65Zn are observed. This is related to the fact that the transfer of 65Zn to plants is statistically significantly controlled by the contents of free carbonates, mobile iron, and potentially plantavailable forms of stable natural Zn (carrier of 65Zn) rather than the quantitative and qualitative composition of organic matter and the degree of dispersion of mineral particles. The analysis of the Znac K a/65Zn K a ratios has shown that the share of plant-available Zn in the acid-soluble form of the metal (1 M HCl) is 0.61 on the average for the studied soils, and its share in the total Zn content in the soils is only 0.14.

  6. Soil amendment with Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0: lasting effects on soil biological properties in soils low in microbial biomass and activity. (United States)

    Fliessbach, Andreas; Winkler, Manuel; Lutz, Matthias P; Oberholzer, Hans-Rudolf; Mäder, Paul


    Pseudomonas fluorescens strains are used in agriculture as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). Nontarget effects of released organisms should be analyzed prior to their large-scale use, and methods should be available to sensitively detect possible changes in the environments the organism is released to. According to ecological theory, microbial communities with a greater diversity should be less susceptible to disturbance by invading organisms. Based on this principle, we laid out a pot experiment with field-derived soils different in their microbial biomass and activity due to long-term management on similar parent geological material (loess). We investigated the survival of P. fluorescens CHA0 that carried a resistance toward rifampicin and the duration of potential changes of the soil microflora caused by the inoculation with the bacterium at the sowing date of spring wheat. Soil microbial biomass (C(mic), N(mic)) basal soil respiration (BR), qCO(2), dehydrogenase activity (DHA), bacterial plate counts, mycorrhiza root colonization, and community level substrate utilization were analyzed after 18 and 60 days. At the initial stage, soils were clearly different with respect to most of the parameters measured, and a time-dependent effect between the first and the second set point were attributable to wheat growth and the influence of roots. The effect of the inoculum was small and merely transient, though significant long-term changes were found in soils with a relatively low level of microbial biomass. Community level substrate utilization as an indicator of changes in microbial community structure was mainly changed by the growth of wheat, while other experimental factors were negligible. The sensitivity of the applied methods to distinguish the experimental soils was in decreasing order N(mic), DHA, C(mic), and qCO(2). Besides the selective enumeration of P. fluorescens CHA0 rif(+), which was only found in amended soils, methods to distinguish the

  7. Ecological and environmental explanation of microbiotic crusts on sand dune scales in the Gurbantonggut Desert, Xinjiang

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    CHEN Yaning; LI Weihong; ZHOU Zhibing; LIU Jiazhen


    Results obtained from the field investigation and the analysis in laboratory show that many species of microbiotic crusts of lichens, mosses and algae develop extensively in the Gurbantonggut Desert, Xinjiang. The formation, species and distribution are closely related to the environmental conditions at the different positions of sand dunes. The animalcule crusts develop mainly on the mobile or semi-mobile sand surface of dune tops, the alga crusts develop mainly at the upper to middle parts of dune slopes, the lichen crusts develop at middle and lower parts of dune slopes, and the moss crusts are mainly distributed at the lower part of dune slopes and the interdune lowlands. The species, thickness and developing degree of microbiotic crusts increase from the upper part to the middle and lower parts of dune slopes and the interdune lowlands, and an obvious contrast between the microbiotic crusts and the different species of plant communities forms. The development and differentiation of microbiotic crusts at the different positions of dunes are the ecological appearance and the natural selection of synthetic adaptability of the different microbiotic crust species to the local environmental conditions, and are closely related to the ecological conditions, such as the physiochemical properties of soils and stability of topsoil texture.

  8. Roles of biology, chemistry, and physics in soil macroaggregate formation and stabilization (United States)

    Soil functions or ecosystem services depend on the distribution of macro- (= 0.25 mm) and micro- (< 0.25 mm) aggregates and open space between aggregates. It is the arrangement of the aggregates and pore space which allows air and water movement in and out of soil; reduces compaction; and stimulates...

  9. Biological soil quality from biomass to biodiversity - importance and resilience to management stress and disturbance

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brussaard, L.; Kuyper, T.W.; Didden, W.A.M.; Goede, de R.G.M.; Bloem, J.


    Various aspects of the soil biota react sensitively to changes in the environment, including agricultural management. Changes in soil biodiversity cannot easily observed directly (measured in terms of community structure of microbes and nematodes, giving early warnings of long-term changes in organi

  10. Short-term effect of vermicompost application on biological properties of an alkaline soil with high lime content from Mediterranean region of Turkey. (United States)

    Uz, Ilker; Tavali, Ismail Emrah


    This study was conducted to investigate direct short-term impact of vermicompost on some soil biological properties by monitoring changes after addition of vermicompost as compared to farmyard manure in an alkaline soil with high lime content from semiarid Mediterranean region of Turkey. For this purpose, mixtures of soil and organic fertilizers in different doses were incubated under greenhouse condition. Soil samples collected in regular intervals were analyzed for biological parameters including dehydrogenase, β-glucosidase, urease, alkaline phosphatase activities, and total number of aerobic mesophilic bacteria. Even though soil dehydrogenase activity appeared to be dose-independent based on overall evaluation, organic amendments were found to elevate dehydrogenase activity when sampling periods are evaluated individually. β-glucosidase, urease, alkaline phosphatase activity, and aerobic mesophilic bacterial numbers in vermicompost treatments fluctuated but remained significantly above the control. A slight but statistically significant difference was detected between organic amendments in terms of urease activity. Vermicompost appeared to more significantly increase bacterial number in soil. Clearly, vermicompost has a potential to be used as an alternative to farmyard manure to improve and maintain soil biological activity in alkaline calcareous soils from the Mediterranean region of Turkey. Further studies are needed to assess its full potential for these soils.

  11. Statistics of Magnetar Crusts Magnetoemission (United States)

    Kondratyev, V. N.; Korovina, Yu. V.


    Soft repeating gamma-ray (SGR) bursts are considered as magnetoemission of crusts of magnetars (ultranamagnetized neutron stars). It is shown that all the SGR burst observations can be described and systematized within randomly jumping interacting moments model including quantum fluctuations and internuclear magnetic interaction in an inhomogeneous crusty nuclear matter.

  12. Statistics of Magnetar Crusts Magnetoemission

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kondratyev V. N.


    Full Text Available Soft repeating gamma-ray (SGR bursts are considered as magnetoemission of crusts of magnetars (ultranamagnetized neutron stars. It is shown that all the SGR burst observations can be described and systematized within randomly jumping interacting moments model including quantum fluctuations and internuclear magnetic interaction in an inhomogeneous crusty nuclear matter.

  13. Damping zone in the biological reserve serra dos toledos (Itajubá-MG and its effect on soil quality

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olivia de Lima; Rogério Melloni


    Full Text Available Areas that comprise "damping zones" are important in minimizing the effects of impacts on the environment as they can affect the conservation unit, and in helping to maintain its natural resources. However, they are not protected and many are handled improperly, compromising the sustainability of the conservation units they should protect. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of human disturbance in the damping zone on the soil quality inside the Biological Reserve Serra dos Toledos, Itajubá-MG. For this, there were selected three areas under different activities in the damping zone (pasture, agriculture, and native forest and three areas sided to those, within the Reserve. They were characterized according to various physical, chemical, microbiological, and visual soil quality procedures. Areas that had the worst physical, visual, and microbiological conditions were those located in the damping zone under agriculture and pasture. The microbiological attributes were sensitive to the different areas, due to the direct relation between negative impact of agriculture practiced in the damping zone and the soil quality within the Biological Reserve studied.

  14. A plea to better feed African soils (United States)

    Stroosnijder, Leo


    Most African cropping system are rainfed. Rain is distributed at the soil surface over infiltration and runoff. The infiltrated water is stored in the rootable soil layer and the excess drains below that layer into the groundwater. The stored water is partly lost as evaporation to the atmosphere and partly used as transpiration for plant growth. In African cropping system the green water use efficiency (GWUE: fraction transpiration over rainfall) is as low as 15%. This low value is due to the often poor soil quality (physical, chemical and biological) of African soils. The poor physical state causes a weak soil structure resulting in crust formation with low infiltration and high runoff as consequences. The water holding capacity of the rootable soil layer is also poor, causing quite some water lost into deeper layers. African soils are poor due to long time soil mining. Soil life depends on soil organic matter (SOM) which is decreasing everywhere at an average rate of 2% per year. It is common sense that an improved soil quality is essential for improved food security. The key that triggers a sustainable improvement in soil quality is a system's approach that focus on the management of organic resources. Soil is a living organism, and it feeds on SOM. This feed is continuously consumed but a living soil makes new SOM out of fresh organic matter. In order to keep our soils alive we need cropping systems that feed our soils with fresh organic matter in the form of crop residues in the right mix of quality and quantity. The tendency to breed crops with a high harvest index (hence low straw) and the many other uses of crop residues (competing claims) with it recent use for bio-ethanol fabrication is disastrous for our living soils. If we continue to allow SOM to decrease, soil crusting and hard setting will increase with less end less water available for the production of green biomass. Lower available water will trigger a negative spiral with lower food security and

  15. Iron isotopes in a soil chronosequence: evidence of fractionation due to biological lifting of iron (United States)

    Schulz, M. S.; Bullen, T. D.; White, A. F.; Fitzpatrick, J.


    The evolution of iron distribution with landform exposure time was studied in a marine terrace chronosequence northwest of Santa Cruz, California. The abundance of soil Fe increases with terrace age on the five terraces studied (65 to 226 Ka). Mass change calculations for Fe, indicate that not only is iron concentrated near the surface but, it is also depleted at depths >1.5m. The surficial Fe concentration cannot be fully accounted for by weathering and compaction of the soil profile or by the addition of iron content through eolian deposition to the soils. The terrace regoliths were generally unsaturated and aerobic, thus lateral movement of large amounts of dissolved reduced iron is unlikely. We propose that plant roots and symbiotic fungi (mycorrhizae) have transported iron from deep within the regolith to the shallow soil through the process of biolifting. Iron is a plant micronutrient; and unlike other mineral nutrients, it is relatively insoluble in aerobic soil solutions. Once Fe is released from decaying organic matter, the Fe-oxides are incorporated into the shallow soil. The Fe content of the current grassland vegetation was measured and yearly biomass Fe uptake calculated. The yearly cycling of plant-utilized Fe in above ground biomass multiplied by the age of the terrace is roughly equivalent to the shallow iron content of these soils. It has been shown that plants which use the strategy I Fe uptake process fractionate light Fe (Guelke and Von Blankenburg, ES&T, p1896; 2007). To test the biolifting hypothesis, Fe isotope ratios were determined for bulk soil samples from several soil depths of terraces 1 through 3 and terrace 5. The shallow soils generally have increasingly lighter δ56/54Fe with terrace age. The δ 56/54Fe values at 10cm soil depth are: 0.546, 0.628 0.381 and 0.182. The deep soil samples (>3 m) have a relatively constant isotopic composition ranging from 0.595 to 0.678 δ 56/54Fe. The deep sample ratios are between the values of the

  16. Exometabolite niche partitioning among sympatric soil bacteria (United States)

    Baran, Richard; Brodie, Eoin L.; Mayberry-Lewis, Jazmine; Hummel, Eric; Da Rocha, Ulisses Nunes; Chakraborty, Romy; Bowen, Benjamin P.; Karaoz, Ulas; Cadillo-Quiroz, Hinsby; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Northen, Trent R.


    Soils are arguably the most microbially diverse ecosystems. Physicochemical properties have been associated with the maintenance of this diversity. Yet, the role of microbial substrate specialization is largely unexplored since substrate utilization studies have focused on simple substrates, not the complex mixtures representative of the soil environment. Here we examine the exometabolite composition of desert biological soil crusts (biocrusts) and the substrate preferences of seven biocrust isolates. The biocrust's main primary producer releases a diverse array of metabolites, and isolates of physically associated taxa use unique subsets of the complex metabolite pool. Individual isolates use only 13−26% of available metabolites, with only 2 out of 470 used by all and 40% not used by any. An extension of this approach to a mesophilic soil environment also reveals high levels of microbial substrate specialization. These results suggest that exometabolite niche partitioning may be an important factor in the maintenance of microbial diversity. PMID:26392107

  17. Soil nematode assemblages indicate the potential for biological regulation of pest species (United States)

    Steel, Hanne; Ferris, Howard


    In concept, regulation or suppression of target nematode pest species should be enhanced when an abundance of predator species is supported by ample availability of bacterial- fungal- and non-damaging plant-feeding prey species. We selected soils from natural and managed environments that represented different levels of resource availability and disturbance. In microcosm chambers of each soil, in its natural state or after heat defaunation, we introduced test prey species not already resident in the soils (Meloidogyne incognita and Steinernema feltiae). Survival of the test prey was determined after a 5-day bioassay exposure. Across the soils tested, predator abundance and biomass were greater in undisturbed soils with plentiful resources and lower in soils from agricultural sites. Suppressiveness to the two introduced species increased with both numerical abundance and metabolic footprint of the predator assemblages. The magnitude of the increase in suppressiveness was greater at low numbers of predators then dampened to an asymptotic level at greater predator abundance, possibly determined by temporal and spatial aspects of the bioassay system and/or satiation of the predators. The more resource-limited the predators were and the higher the metabolic predator footprint, the greater the suppressiveness. The applied implications of this study are that soil suppressiveness to pest species may be enhanced by increasing resources to predators, removing chemical and physical constraints to their survival and increase, and altering management practices so that predators and target prey are co-located in time and space.

  18. [Biological toxicity effect of petroleum contaminated soil before and after physicochemical remediation]. (United States)

    Lian, Jing-Yan; Ha, Ying; Huang, Lei; Ju, Yi; Shi, Shuo; Liu, Lei; Zhang, Rui-Ling; Sui, Hong; Li, Xin-Gang


    Toxicity analysis was studied from using seed germination as an ecological indicator, and the earthworm was considered as a suitable biomonitor animal to determine the ecological hazard of polluted soil. The main results are as follows: These crop seeds have significantly different responses to petroleum pollution. Compared with those plants in clean soil, the germination of most crop seeds planted in contaminated soils is obviously inhabited. Soybean, horse bean and maize are the crop affected most adversely. Fortunately, strong endurance is observed for green soybean under 4 different levels of petroleum pollution, and the seed germination rate are all above 90%. When exposed to pollutants, earthworms could be changed obviously on the level of physiology. That might affect the survival and growth capacity of earthworms, and changed population finally. In high petroleum contaminated soil (concentration of petroleum > 30 000 mg/kg) earthworms can only survive about 5 days. The results suggest that petroleum pollution has great poison to earthworms and can kill earthworms finally. Because pollutants make them dehydrate. Even on the low pollution level, the survival time of earthworm is still very short (3 d or so) in the treated petroleum-contaminated soil. Because after a petroleum ether-treated, the nutrients of soil are disposed with the oil, and the organic matter and other nutrients of the soil have a great impact on the survival of earthworms.

  19. Ion selective electrode for determination of chloride ion in biological materials, food products, soils and waste water. (United States)

    Sekerka, I; Lechner, J F


    The chloride ion selective electrode is used for a rapid, simple, and reliable determination of chloride ion in biological materials (blood serum, urine, fish, and plant tissues), food products (milk, beef extract, nutrient broth and orange, tomato, and grapefruit juices), soils, and waste water (industrial and municipal). The method consists of treating the samples with perchloric acid (pH 1) and potassium peroxydisulfate and determining the chloride content either by a calibration curve or by known addition or analyte addition, using the chloride ion selective electrode. Such sample treatment eliminates most of the interferences occurring in the samples, including iodide, complexing and reducing compounds, and macromolecular and surface-active species. The method is suitable for a wide range of chloride concentration, e.g., 5010 ppm Cl- in nutrient broth and 4890 ppm in beef extract and as low as 12 and 80 ppm in soil extracts.

  20. Chemico-biological treatment of polluted soils by polychorinated biphenyls; Tratamiento integrado quimico-biologico de suelos contaminados por bifenilos policlorados

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Manzano Quinones, M. A.


    In this work a study of biological and chemical treatment of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in soil has been done. The experiments have been carried out in pilot scale reactors and the results obtained showed 98% elimination and a high mineralization of PCBs employing a Integrated Chemical-Biological Treatment. (Author) 12 refs.

  1. [Effects of bio-fertilizer on organically cultured cucumber growth and soil biological characteristics]. (United States)

    Cao, Dan; Zong, Liang-gang; Xiao, Jun; Zhang, Qian; Zhao, Yan


    Field trials of organic farming were conducted to examine the effects of different bio-fertilizers on the organically cultured cucumber growth, soil enzyme activities, and soil microbial biomass. Four treatments were installed, i. e., organic fertilizer only (CK), bio-fertilizer "Zhonghe" combined with organic fertilizer (ZHH), bio-fertilizer "NST" combined with organic fertilizer (NST), and bio-fertilizer "Bio" combined with organic fertilizer (BIO). Bio-fertilizers combined with organic fertilizer increased the cucumber yield significantly, and improved the root growth and leaf chlorophyll content. Comparing with that in CK, the cucumber yield in treatments ZHH, NST, and BIO was increased by 10.4%, 12.4%, and 29.2%, respectively. At the seedling stage, early flowering stage, and picking time of cucumber, the soil microbial biomass C and N in treatments ZHH, NST, and BIO were significantly higher than that in CK, and the activities of soil urease, acid phosphatase, and catalase were also higher.

  2. Hydrological behaviour of microbiotic crusts on sand dunes of NW China: Experimental evidences and numerical simulations (United States)

    Wang, Xin Ping; Tedeschi, Anna; Orefice, Nadia; de Mascellis, Roberto; Menenti, Massimo


    Large ecological engineering projects were established to reduce and combat the hazards of sandstorms and desertification in northern China. An experiment to evaluate the effects of dunes stabilization by vegetation was carried out at Shapotou in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region at the southeast edge of the Tengger Desert using xerophyte shrubs (Caragana korshinskii, Hedysarum scoparium and Artemisia ordosica) planted in straw checkerboard plots in 1956, 1964, 1981, 1987, 1998, and 2002. The fixed sand surface led to the formation of biotic soil crusts. Biotic crusts formed at the soil surface in the interspaces between shrubs and contribute to stabilization of soil surfaces. Previous results on the area have showed that: i) straw checkerboards enhance the capacity of the dune system to trap dust, leading to the accumulation of soil organic matter and nutrients; ii) the longer the period of dune stabilization, the greater the soil clay content in the shallow soil profile (0-5 cm), and greater the fractal dimension of soil particle size distribution. Benefit apart, one should be aware that the formation of a crusted layer at the soil surface is generally characterized by an altered pore-size distribution, with a frequent decrease of hydraulic conductivity which can induce changes of the water regime of the whole soil profile. Accordingly, the main objective of the paper is to evaluate the equivalent (from a hydraulic point of view) geometry of the crusted layer and to verify if the specific characteristics of the crusted soil layer, although local by nature, affect the hydrological behaviour of the whole soil profile. In fact, it is expected that, due to the formation of an upper, impeding soil layer, the lower soil layers do not reach saturation. Such behaviour has important consequences on both water flow and storages in soils. The final aim will be to understand how the crust at the surface of the artificially stabilized sand dune affects the infiltration capacity

  3. Biologic

    CERN Document Server

    Kauffman, L H


    In this paper we explore the boundary between biology and the study of formal systems (logic). In the end, we arrive at a summary formalism, a chapter in "boundary mathematics" where there are not only containers but also extainers ><, entities open to interaction and distinguishing the space that they are not. The boundary algebra of containers and extainers is to biologic what boolean algebra is to classical logic. We show how this formalism encompasses significant parts of the logic of DNA replication, the Dirac formalism for quantum mechanics, formalisms for protein folding and the basic structure of the Temperley Lieb algebra at the foundations of topological invariants of knots and links.

  4. Soil Biological Changes for a Natural Forest and Two Plantations in Subtropical China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    CHEN Guang-Shui; YANG Yu-Sheng; XIE Jin-Sheng; LI Ling; GAO Ren


    Conversion of natural forests into pure plantation forests is a common management practice in subtropical China.To evaluate the effects of forest conversion on soil fertility, microbe numbers and enzyme activities in topsoils (0-10 cm)were quantified in two 33-year-old monoculture plantations of Castanopsis kawakamii Hayata (CK) and Cunninghamia lanceolata Lamb. (Chinese fir) (CF), and compared to a neighboring relict natural C. kawakamii forest (NF), in Sanming,Fujian. Five soil samples were collected once each in January, April, July, September and November in 2000 in each forest for laboratory analysis. Over the sampling year, there were significant differences for bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes between forests and between seasons (P < 0.05). The largest bacteria and fungi populations were in NF, while CF contained the greatest number of actinomycetes. There were also significant differences (P < 0.05) with microbial respiration for forests and seasons. Additionally, compared with NF, urease and acid phosphatase were significantly lower (P < 0.05)in CK and CF. Also, the correlations of soil hydrolysable N and available P to soil microbial and enzymatic activities were highly significant (P < 0.01). Thus, to alter the traditional Chinese fir monoculture so as to mimic the natural forest conditions, managing mixed stands of Chinese fir and broadleaf trees or conducting crop rotation of conifers and broadleaf trees as well as minimizing forest disturbances like clear-cutting, slash burning and soil preparing, could be utilized.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. Parthasarathi, M. Balamurugan, L. S. Ranganathan


    Full Text Available Field experiments were conducted during 2002-2003 on clay loam, sandy loam and red loam soil at Sivapuri, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, to evaluate the efficacy of vermicompost on the physico-chemical and biological characteristics of the soils and on the yield and nutrient content of blackgram - Vigna mungo, in comparison to inorganic fertilizers nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium. Vermicompost had increased the pore space, reduced particle and bulk density, increased water holding capacity, cation exchange capacity, reduced pH and electrical conductivity, increased organic carbon content, available nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and microbial population and activity in all the soil types, particularly clay loam. The yield and quality (protein and sugar content in seed of blackgram was enhanced in soils, particularly clay loam soil. On the contrary, the application of inorganic fertilizers has resulted in reduced porosity, compaction of soil, reduced carbon and reduced microbial activity.

  6. The distribution of iron in a soil chronosequence: the result of biological lifting and surficial accumulation (United States)

    Schulz, M. S.; White, A. F.; Fitzpatrick, J.


    The abundance of iron increases with soil age in a marine terrace chronosequence (5 terraces aged from 65 to 226 Ka) located northwest of Santa Cruz, California. The iron has two distinct morphologies in the soils. At depths less than 1m on all terraces hard nodules are formed by Fe-oxides cementing and replacing sediment grains. At depths greater than 1m in the youngest terrace (T1), disseminated Fe forms coatings on sediment grains. In terraces 2 through 5 (depths greater than 1m) the disseminated iron becomes increasingly concentrated in mottles within the argillic horizon. Iron nodules do not occur at depths greater than 1m in any of the soils. Iron mineralogy of the nodules is generally goethite with a subset of nodules that are maghemite. Mass change calculations, reveal Fe concentration near the surface and Fe depletion at depth that cannot be accounted for by weathering and compaction of the profile or by the Fe content of eolian additions to the soils. The terrace regoliths are generally unsaturated and aerobic; thus lateral movement of large amounts of reduced Fe is unlikely. Iron as a plant nutrient, unlike other mineral nutrients, is relatively insoluble in aerobic soil solutions. We propose that plant roots and symbiotic fungi (mycorrhizae) transport Fe from deeper in the regolith through the process of biolifting. When released through plant decay, the Fe forms immobile oxides at shallow depths. Iron content of the current grassland vegetation was measured and yearly biomass input of Fe was calculated. The above ground cycling of plant iron when multiplied by the age of the terrace can account for the shallow Fe accumulation in these soils.

  7. Continental crust generated in oceanic arcs (United States)

    Gazel, Esteban; Hayes, Jorden L.; Hoernle, Kaj; Kelemen, Peter; Everson, Erik; Holbrook, W. Steven; Hauff, Folkmar; van den Bogaard, Paul; Vance, Eric A.; Chu, Shuyu; Calvert, Andrew J.; Carr, Michael J.; Yogodzinski, Gene M.


    Thin oceanic crust is formed by decompression melting of the upper mantle at mid-ocean ridges, but the origin of the thick and buoyant continental crust is enigmatic. Juvenile continental crust may form from magmas erupted above intra-oceanic subduction zones, where oceanic lithosphere subducts beneath other oceanic lithosphere. However, it is unclear why the subduction of dominantly basaltic oceanic crust would result in the formation of andesitic continental crust at the surface. Here we use geochemical and geophysical data to reconstruct the evolution of the Central American land bridge, which formed above an intra-oceanic subduction system over the past 70 Myr. We find that the geochemical signature of erupted lavas evolved from basaltic to andesitic about 10 Myr ago--coincident with the onset of subduction of more oceanic crust that originally formed above the Galápagos mantle plume. We also find that seismic P-waves travel through the crust at velocities intermediate between those typically observed for oceanic and continental crust. We develop a continentality index to quantitatively correlate geochemical composition with the average P-wave velocity of arc crust globally. We conclude that although the formation and evolution of continents may involve many processes, melting enriched oceanic crust within a subduction zone--a process probably more common in the Archaean--can produce juvenile continental crust.

  8. Biological Caharacteristics of Methane Emission of Oryza sativa,Pancium crus—galli and Cyperus difformis Grown on Paddy Soil

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)



    Biological characteristics of methane emission were compared among Oryza sativa,Panicum crus-galli and Cyperus difformis grown on paddy soil.The order of the amounts of methane emitted was P.crus-galli>O.sativa>C.difformis,with the former two 11 and 8 times as much as that of the latter,respectively.And it was just opposite to that of the methane-forming activities of roots of the three plants.The diurnal changes of methane emission of the three plants were relatively consistent with valleys during 11:00-14:00 and midnight and peaks during 8:00-11:00,14:00-20:00 and about 5:00 early morning.The methanogeic activites in rhizospheric soils were higher than those in nonrhizospheric soils with P.crus-galli and O.sativa,but not with C.difformis.The pathways of methane release of P.crus-galli and O.sativa were probably through the top gaps near the junctions of nodal plate and leaf sheath;how ever in C.difformis top gaps from which methanc could escape into atmosphere were not found.

  9. Mass Transport within Soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    McKone, Thomas E.


    Contaminants in soil can impact human health and the environment through a complex web of interactions. Soils exist where the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere converge. Soil is the thin outer zone of the earth's crust that supports rooted plants and is the product of climate and living organisms acting on rock. A true soil is a mixture of air, water, mineral, and organic components. The relative proportions of these components determine the value of the soil for agricultural and for other human uses. These proportions also determine, to a large extent, how a substance added to soil is transported and/or transformed within the soil (Spositio, 2004). In mass-balance models, soil compartments play a major role, functioning both as reservoirs and as the principal media for transport among air, vegetation, surface water, deeper soil, and ground water (Mackay, 2001). Quantifying the mass transport of chemicals within soil and between soil and atmosphere is important for understanding the role soil plays in controlling fate, transport, and exposure to multimedia pollutants. Soils are characteristically heterogeneous. A trench dug into soil typically reveals several horizontal layers having different colors and textures. As illustrated in Figure 1, these multiple layers are often divided into three major horizons: (1) the A horizon, which encompasses the root zone and contains a high concentration of organic matter; (2) the B horizon, which is unsaturated, lies below the roots of most plants, and contains a much lower organic carbon content; and (3) the C horizon, which is the unsaturated zone of weathered parent rock consisting of bedrock, alluvial material, glacial material, and/or soil of an earlier geological period. Below these three horizons lies the saturated zone - a zone that encompasses the area below ground surface in which all interconnected openings within the geologic media are completely filled with water. Similarly to the unsaturated

  10. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in water, sediment, soil, and biological samples from different industrial areas in Zhejiang, China

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wang, Junxia; Lin, Zhenkun [Zhejiang Provincial Key Lab for Technology and Application of Model Organisms, Institute of Watershed Science and Environmental Ecology, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou 325035 (China); Lin, Kuangfei [School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology/State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Environmental Risk Assessment and Control on Chemical Process, Shanghai 200237 (China); Wang, Chunyan [Zhejiang Provincial Key Lab for Technology and Application of Model Organisms, Institute of Watershed Science and Environmental Ecology, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou 325035 (China); Zhang, Wei [School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology/State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Environmental Risk Assessment and Control on Chemical Process, Shanghai 200237 (China); Cui, Changyuan [Zhejiang Provincial Key Lab for Technology and Application of Model Organisms, Institute of Watershed Science and Environmental Ecology, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou 325035 (China); Lin, Junda [Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL 32901 (United States); Dong, Qiaoxiang, E-mail: [Zhejiang Provincial Key Lab for Technology and Application of Model Organisms, Institute of Watershed Science and Environmental Ecology, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou 325035 (China); Huang, Changjiang, E-mail: [Zhejiang Provincial Key Lab for Technology and Application of Model Organisms, Institute of Watershed Science and Environmental Ecology, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou 325035 (China)


    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer We examined PBDE concentrations in various matrices from different industrial areas. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Elevated PBDE levels were found in areas with low-voltage electrical manufactures. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Areas with e-waste recycling activities also had higher PBDE concentrations. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer PBDE content and composition in water samples varied from one area to another. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer PBDE composition in sediment/soil and biological samples was predominated by BDE-209. - Abstract: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been used extensively in electrical and electronic products, but little is known about their distribution in the environment surrounding the manufacturing factories. This study reports PBDE contamination in various matrices from the location (Liushi, Zhejiang province) that produces more than 70% of the low-voltage electrical appliances in China. Additionally, PBDE contamination was compared with other industries such as the e-waste recycling business (Fengjiang) in the same region. Specifically, we measured seven PBDE congeners (BDEs - 47, 99, 100, 153, 154, 183, and 209) in water, sediment, soil, plant, and animal tissues from four different areas in this region. The present study revealed elevated PBDE concentrations in all matrices collected from Liushi and Fengjiang in comparison with highly industrialized areas without significant PBDE contamination sources. In water samples, there were large variations of PBDE content and composition across different areas. In sediment/soil and biological samples, BDE-209 was the predominant congener and this could be due to the abundant usage of deca-BDE mixtures in China. Our findings provide the very first data on PBDE contamination in the local environments surrounding the electronics industry, and also reveal widespread PBDE contamination in highly industrialized coastal regions of China.

  11. Biological nitrogen fixation of soybean in acid soils of Sumatra, Indonesia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Waluyo, S.H.


    The aim of this study is to improve soybean cultivation in transmigration areas, especially in Sitiung, West Sumatra. However, these soils are very acid, and have a high P-fixing capacity. To reduce the amounts of fertilisers, normally 5 - 7 ton lime ha -1 and 100 kg P as TSP, seed, pelle

  12. Insight into anaerobic soil disinfestation through the lense of molecular biology (United States)

    Previous research has shown that application of anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) controls soilborne plant pathogens as effectively as methyl bromide (MeBr) fumigation. Vegetable yields from ASD-treated fields were comparable or exceeded those from fields treated with MeBr in two field trials. Th...

  13. Bulk soil and rhizosphere bacterial community PCR-DGGE profiles and beta-galactosidase activity as indicators of biological quality in soils contaminated by heavy metals and cultivated with Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke. (United States)

    Martínez-Iñigo, M J; Pérez-Sanz, A; Ortiz, I; Alonso, J; Alarcón, R; García, P; Lobo, M C


    The biological quality of two heavy metal contaminated soils (soil C: Typic Calcixerept, pH 8.3 and soil H: Typic Haploxeraf, pH 7.3) was investigated after growing the metal-tolerant plant Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke for two vegetative periods. The activity of the enzyme beta-galactosidase, which is sensitive to the presence of contaminants in soil, and the polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) profiles of 16S rRNA gene fragments of culturable bacteria from bulk soil and rhizosphere were determined. The microbial enzymatic activity was higher in planted soils than in bare soils at the contamination level of 600 mg of total heavy metals kg(-1) soil. After growing S. vulgaris, beta-galactosidase activity was almost recovered in the calcareous soil. In this soil new bands appeared in the PCR-DGGE profiles of the rhizosphere bacterial community as a response to the exposure to heavy metals.

  14. Amendments and mulches improve the biological quality of soils degraded by mining activities in SE Spain (United States)

    Luna Ramos, Lourdes; Miralles Mellado, Isabel; Hernández Fernández, María Teresa; García Izquierdo, Carlos; Solé Benet, Albert


    Mining and quarrying activities generate negative visual impacts in the landscape and a loss of environmental quality. Substrate properties at the end of mining are in general not suitable for plant growth, even native ones. In an experimental soil restoration in limestone quarries from Sierra de Gádor (Almería), SE Spain, the effect of organic amendment (sewage sludge, compost from the organic fraction of domestic waste or non-amendment) combined or not with two different kind of mulches (fine gravel, chopped forest residue) was tested by triplicate in 5 x 5 m plots with the aim to improve soil/substrate properties and to reduce evaporation and erosion. In each experimental plot 75 native plants (Stipa tenacissima, Anthyllis terniflora and Anthyllis cytisoides) were planted. Effects of adding organic amendments and mulches on some soil microbiological and biochemical parameters (microbial biomass carbon, basal respiration and different enzymatic activities, such as dehydrogenase, phosphatase, β-glucosidase and urease) were analyzed 5 years after the start of the experiment. Vegetation growth was also monitored. The two-way ANOVA, using as factors amendment and mulch, showed a significant positive influence of organic amendments on microbial biomass (Cmic), basal respiration and some enzymatic activities related to the cycles of C and N. The highest values of these parameters were obtained with compost. The influence of the mulch factor and its interactions with the amendment factor on the measured variables did not follow a clear trend with respect the measured parameters. Mulching did not improved significantly (pcontrol, but it is remarkable that the mulch type "forest chopped residue" had a negative effect on vegetation growth. The addition of organic amendments, especially compost from the organic fraction of domestic wastes, is beneficial to restore degraded or man-made soils from quarrying areas because they stimulate microbial growth and activity

  15. Biological Treatment of Textile Effluent Using Candida zeylanoides and Saccharomyces cerevisiae Isolated from Soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. P. Abioye


    Full Text Available This study evaluates the efficacy of yeasts isolated from soil in the treatment of textile wastewater. Two yeast species were isolated from soil; they were identified as Candida zeylanoides and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The yeasts were inoculated into flask containing effluent and incubated for 15 days. Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed the most significant treatment capacity with a 66% reduction in BOD; this was followed closely by Candida zeylanoides with 57.3% reduction in BOD and a consortium of the two species showed the least remediation potential of 36.9%. The use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida zeylanoides in treatment of textile wastewater will help to limit the adverse environmental and health implications associated with disposal of untreated effluent into water bodies.

  16. Isolation and characterization of soil Streptomyces species as potential biological control agents against fungal plant pathogens. (United States)

    Evangelista-Martínez, Zahaed


    The use of antagonist microorganisms against fungal plant pathogens is an attractive and ecologically alternative to the use of chemical pesticides. Streptomyces are beneficial soil bacteria and potential candidates for biocontrol agents. This study reports the isolation, characterization and antagonist activity of soil streptomycetes from the Los Petenes Biosphere Reserve, a Natural protected area in Campeche, Mexico. The results showed morphological, physiological and biochemical characterization of six actinomycetes and their inhibitory activity against Curvularia sp., Aspergillus niger, Helminthosporium sp. and Fusarium sp. One isolate, identified as Streptomyces sp. CACIS-1.16CA showed the potential to inhibit additional pathogens as Alternaria sp., Phytophthora capsici, Colletotrichum sp. and Rhizoctonia sp. with percentages ranging from 47 to 90 %. This study identified a streptomycete strain with a broad antagonist activity that could be used for biocontrol of plant pathogenic fungi.

  17. The role of macrosymbiont genotypes and earthworms in the enrichment of soil with biological nitrogen (United States)

    Nazaryuk, V. M.; Kalimullina, F. R.; Klenova, M. I.


    The specific features of the symbiotic apparatus and the accumulation of the plant biomass under the influence of different genotypes of peas ( Pisum sativum L.) on gray forest soils were studied in field conditions. With the alternation of legume and grass cultures, the genotypes of plants with supernodulation were found to affect the microbial nitrogen content in the soil to a greater extent than the concentration of ammonium and nitrate nitrogen. For the growing period, the N content in the microbial biomass increased, on the average, by 1.3 to 1.5 times. The consumption of nitrogen by the plants of the supernodular mutant K-301a was found to be 2.6 and 3.0 times greater than that by the pea plants of the Ramonskii-77 variety and of the K-562a line, respectively. During the after effect of the symbiotically bound air nitrogen, a significant uptake of this element was observed only by the oat plants grown after the K-56 2a. The nitrogen fixation by these plants was 1.3 times more active than that by the peas of the Ramonskii-77 variety. The importance of earthworms (Lumbricidae) and plant residues of different genotypes for the processes of mineralization of organic compounds and accumulation of ammonium, nitrate, and microbial nitrogen in the soils under optimal hydrothermal conditions was revealed. In the experiment, two maximums of the CO2 emission were recorded; they may be related to the periodic production of organic mass by the earthworms and the creation of favorable conditions for microbial activity by them. The accumulation of nitrate nitrogen (up to 150 mg/kg) in the soil was the greatest owing to the interaction between the earthworms and the residues of the supernodular K-301a mutant.

  18. Secondary successions of biota in oil-polluted peat soil upon different biological remediation methods (United States)

    Melekhina, E. N.; Markarova, M. Yu.; Shchemelinina, T. N.; Anchugova, E. M.; Kanev, V. A.


    The effects of different bioremediation methods on restoration of the oil-polluted peat soil (Histosol) in the northernmost taiga subzone of European Russia was studied. The population dynamics of microorganisms belonging to different trophic groups (hydrocarbon-oxidizing, ammonifying, nitrifying, and oligonitrophilic) were analyzed together with data on the soil enzyme (catalase and dehydrogenase) activities, population densities of soil microfauna groups, their structures, and states of phytocenoses during a sevenyear-long succession. The remediation with biopreparations Roder composed of oil-oxidizing microorganisms-Roder with Rhodococcus rubber and R. erythropolis and Universal with Rhodotorula glutinis and Rhodococcus sp.-was more efficient than the agrochemical and technical remediation. It was concluded that the biopreparations activate microbiological oil destruction, thereby accelerating restoration succession of phytocenosis and zoocenosis. The succession of dominant microfauna groups was observed: the dipteran larvae and Mesostigmata mites predominant at the early stages were replaced by collembolans at later stages. The pioneer oribatid mite species were Tectocepheus velatus, Oppiella nova, Liochthonius sellnicki, Oribatula tibialis, and Eupelops sp.

  19. 干旱半干旱地区藓结皮人工培养研究进展%A Review on the Studies of Moss Crust Artificial Cultivation in Arid and Semi-arid Region

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王显蓉; 赵允格; 王媛


    In arid and semi-arid areas,moss crust play important ecological roles,such as improving soil resistance to wind and water erosion and enhancing soil fertility.In recent years,many studies have focused on artificial culture of moss crusts and its application in desertification control.This paper reviewed the research status and achievements on artificial moss crust cultivation in recent decades from the the aspects of reproductive biology,characteristics of growth and development of mosses,factors that affect the formation of moss crust and maintenance ability.Researches demonstrated that moss crusts could be successfully constructed in indoor and outdoor environment.However,this kind of moss crust performs poorly in maintenance ability.The majority of research for factors that affect the formation of moss crust was conducted in indoor environment,the influence mechanism in outdoor was not entirely clear.The research should be focused on how to combine the indoor training methods with the field methods,and to cultivate the moss crusts successfully in a fast and effective way.%在干旱半干旱地区,以藓类植物为优势物种的生物结皮,在抗风蚀、水蚀及增强土壤肥力等方面发挥着重要的作用.近年来随着人们对干旱半干旱地区生态环境的重视,藓结皮人工培养及其在土壤沙漠化防控方面的应用备受关注.从藓类植物的繁殖生物学、生长发育特点、藓结皮形成的影响因素及后期维持能力等方面综述了藓结皮人工培养的研究现状及主要进展,研究表明在室内和野外环境可成功构建藓结皮,然而其后期维持能力较差;藓结皮形成影响因素的研究多于室内环境下完成,野外环境下影响因素研究少见.将室内和野外培养方法相互结合,快速有效的培养藓结皮,是未来研究的重点.

  20. The microbiology of arable soil surfaces


    Jeffery, Simon


    Whilst much is known about the physics and erosion of soil surfaces on a millimetre scale, little is known about the associated microbiology, particularly in temperate arable systems. The vast majority of research regarding microbial interactions at soil surfaces has concerned microbiotic crusts. However, such surface crusts take many years to form and then only in relatively undisturbed soil systems. Arable soil surfaces are subject to relatively extreme environmental conditio...

  1. Pulsar glitches: The crust is not enough

    CERN Document Server

    Andersson, N; Ho, W C G; Espinoza, C M


    Pulsar glitches are traditionally viewed as a manifestation of vortex dynamics associated with a neutron superfluid reservoir confined to the inner crust of the star. In this Letter we show that the non-dissipative entrainment coupling between the neutron superfluid and the nuclear lattice leads to a less mobile crust superfluid, effectively reducing the moment of inertia associated with the angular momentum reservoir. Combining the latest observational data for prolific glitching pulsars with theoretical results for the crust entrainment we find that the required superfluid reservoir exceeds that available in the crust. This challenges our understanding of the glitch phenomenon, and we discuss possible resolutions to the problem.

  2. Impact of organic and mineral inputs onto soil biological and metabolic activities under a long-term rice-wheat cropping system in sub-tropical Indian Inceptisols. (United States)

    Basak, Nirmalendu; Datta, Ashim; Mitran, Tarik; Mandal, Biswapati; Mani, P K


    Long-term use of organic and mineral inputs has an overriding impact on soil biological and metabolic activities and crop management. Farm yard manure (FYM), paddy straw (PS) and green manure (GM, Sesbania sesban L.) were used for 24- years old rice (Oyza sativa L.) -wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cropping system in sub-tropical India to predict whether the screened soil biological and metabolic activities are correlated with system yield. The integrated approaches viz., NPK + FYM, NPK + PS and NPK + GM significantly increased both rice and wheat yield together by 67.5, 44.4 and 55.4%, respectively over control. However, for a few exceptions both soil microbial activity and metabolic activity were remarkably enhanced under integrated treatment NPK + FYM followed by NPK + PS, and NPK + GM, respectively. Among the studied attributes fluorescein diacetate hydrolyzing, dehydrogenase, β-glucosidase activity (β-glu) and microbial biomass C (C(mic)) were screened through principal component (PCA) and discriminate analysis (DA) that explained nearly 89% of total variations of the entire data set. Among the four identified attributes, only β-glu assay value could predict system yield (R2 = 0.65). Further, estimation of β-glu activity in soil can predict other soil biological properties (R2 = 0.96).

  3. Accumulation of heavy metals in oil-contaminated peat soils (United States)

    Vodyanitskii, Yu. N.; Savichev, A. T.; Trofimov, S. Ya.; Shishkonakova, E. A.


    X-ray fluorescence and X-ray radiometry represent easy and simple methods to determine concentrations of heavy metals in the ash of peat soils contaminated with oil and can be applied for soil monitoring purposes. Oil spills on peat bogs produce two contamination zones differing in the composition of heavy metals. In the zone of primary contamination, the peat surface is covered by a bitumen crust with V, Ni, Sr, Ba, Ce, and La accumulating there. This zone adjoins the zone of secondary peat contamination, where heavy alkaline-earth metals (Sr, Ba) and lanthanides (Ce and La) are accumulated to a lesser extent. Biological preparations recommended for remediation of oil-contaminated peat soils should be tolerant to high concentrations of heavy metals, particularly, V, Ni, and Ba that are present in the oil contaminated soils in relatively high amounts.

  4. Engineering assessment and feasibility study of Chattanooga Shale as a future source of uranium. [Preliminary mining; data on soils, meteorology, water resources, and biological resources

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)


    This volume contains five appendixes: Chattanooga Shale preliminary mining study, soils data, meteorologic data, water resources data, and biological resource data. The area around DeKalb County in Tennessee is the most likely site for commercial development for recovery of uranium. (DLC)

  5. Research progress on algae of the microbial crusts in arid and semiarid regions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    HU Chunxiang; ZHANG Delu; LIU Yongding


    Microbial crusts are attracting much interest in view of their possible uses in environmental conservation and ecological restoration of the arid and semiarid regions.Because algae play an irreplaceable important role in the early formation and the strengthening of microbial crusts,they are paid much more attention to than other cryptogams.In this paper,an overview of the current knowledge on the fine structure and development of microbial crust,focusing on the algal biomass,vertical distribution,succession,influential factors on algae,cohesion of soil stabilization,cementing mechanism for soil particles and the microalgal extracellular polymers is given,with particular emphasis on the authors' researches,and some prospects are put forward as well.

  6. A Study of Soil Line Simulation from Landsat Images in Mixed Grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xulin Guo


    Full Text Available The mixed grassland in Canada is characterized by low to medium green vegetation cover, with a large amount of canopy background, such as non-photosynthetic vegetation residuals (litter, bare soil, and ground level biological crust. It is a challenge to extract the canopy information from satellite images because of the influence of canopy background. Therefore, this study aims to extract a soil line, a representation of bare soil with litter and soil crust in the surface, from Landsat images to reduce the background effect. Field work was conducted in the West Block of Grasslands National Park (GNP in Canada, which represents the northern mixed grassland from late June to early July 2005. Six TM images with either no or only a small amount of cloud content were collected in 2005. In this study, soil lines were extracted directly from images by quantile regression and the (R, NIRmin method. The results show that, (1 both cloud and cloud shadow have obvious influence on simulating soil line automatically from images; (2 green up and late senescence seasons are relatively better for soil line simulation; (3 the (R, NIRmin method is better for soil line simulation than quantile regression to extract green biomass or green cover information.

  7. Water Uptake Mechanism in Crispy Bread Crust

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nieuwenhuijzen, van N.H.; Meinders, M.B.J.; Tromp, R.H.; Hamer, R.J.; Vliet, van T.


    Crispness is an important quality characteristic of dry solid food products such as crispy rolls. Its retention is directly related to the kinetics of water uptake by the crust. In this study, a method for the evaluation of the water sorption kinetics in bread crust is proposed. Two different sorpti

  8. Impact of long-term forest enrichment planting on the biological status of soil in a deforested dipterocarp forest in Perak, Malaysia. (United States)

    Karam, D S; Arifin, A; Radziah, O; Shamshuddin, J; Majid, N M; Hazandy, A H; Zahari, I; Nor Halizah, A H; Rui, T X


    Deforestation leads to the deterioration of soil fertility which occurs rapidly under tropical climates. Forest rehabilitation is one of the approaches to restore soil fertility and increase the productivity of degraded areas. The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare soil biological properties under enrichment planting and secondary forests at Tapah Hill Forest Reserve, Perak after 42 years of planting. Both areas were excessively logged in the 1950s and left idle without any appropriate forest management until 1968 when rehabilitation program was initiated. Six subplots (20 m × 20 m) were established within each enrichment planting (F1) and secondary forest (F2) plots, after which soil was sampled at depths of 0-15 cm (topsoil) and 15-30 cm (subsoil). Results showed that total mean microbial enzymatic activity, as well as biomass C and N content, was significantly higher in F1 compared to F2. The results, despite sample variability, suggest that the rehabilitation program improves the soil biological activities where high rate of soil organic matter, organic C, N, suitable soil acidity range, and abundance of forest litter is believed to be the predisposing factor promoting higher population of microbial in F1 as compared to F2. In conclusion total microbial enzymatic activity, biomass C and biomass N evaluation were higher in enrichment planting plot compared to secondary forest. After 42 years of planting, rehabilitation or enrichment planting helps to restore the productivity of planted forest in terms of biological parameters.

  9. Impact of Long-Term Forest Enrichment Planting on the Biological Status of Soil in a Deforested Dipterocarp Forest in Perak, Malaysia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. S. Karam


    Full Text Available Deforestation leads to the deterioration of soil fertility which occurs rapidly under tropical climates. Forest rehabilitation is one of the approaches to restore soil fertility and increase the productivity of degraded areas. The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare soil biological properties under enrichment planting and secondary forests at Tapah Hill Forest Reserve, Perak after 42 years of planting. Both areas were excessively logged in the 1950s and left idle without any appropriate forest management until 1968 when rehabilitation program was initiated. Six subplots (20 m × 20 m were established within each enrichment planting (F1 and secondary forest (F2 plots, after which soil was sampled at depths of 0–15 cm (topsoil and 15–30 cm (subsoil. Results showed that total mean microbial enzymatic activity, as well as biomass C and N content, was significantly higher in F1 compared to F2. The results, despite sample variability, suggest that the rehabilitation program improves the soil biological activities where high rate of soil organic matter, organic C, N, suitable soil acidity range, and abundance of forest litter is believed to be the predisposing factor promoting higher population of microbial in F1 as compared to F2. In conclusion total microbial enzymatic activity, biomass C and biomass N evaluation were higher in enrichment planting plot compared to secondary forest. After 42 years of planting, rehabilitation or enrichment planting helps to restore the productivity of planted forest in terms of biological parameters.

  10. Microbial community on oceanic ferro-manganese crusts from Takuyo-Daigo Seamount and Ryusei Seamount (United States)

    Nitahara, S.; Kato, S.; Yamagishi, A.


    Background and Purpose Iron and manganese oxide deposits are often found on deep seafloor. Rocks covered with these oxides are called ferro-manganese crusts (Mn crusts), and are ubiquitously distributed on deep seafloor (Rona 2003). Because Mn crusts contain rare metals such as Co, Pt and rare earth element, it can be resources in the future. Mn crusts and microbes on Mn crusts may contribute to material, especially carbon and nitrogen circulation between hydrosphere and lithosphere. Mechanism of Mn crust formation is not completely understood. Wang et al. propose a model that microorganisms associate with initial Mn mineral deposition (Wang et al., 2011). There is a possibility that microbes may contribute to formation of Mn crust relying on their ability to oxidize Fe and Mn. However, there is limited information about diversity, spatial distribution and abundance of microbes on Mn crust surface. Our purpose is to clarify microbial community composition, spatial distribution, diversity and abundance of microbes on Mn crusts collected from Takuyo-Daigo seamount and Ryusei seamount. Method We collected Mn crusts, sediments and ambient seawater from Takuyo-Daigo seamount at the depth of 1200 m, 1419 m, 2209 m and 2991 m during NT09-02 cruise in Feb 2009 and Ryusei seamount at the depth of 1194 m, 2079 m during KY11-02 in Feb 2011 with remotely operated vehicle Hyper-Dolphin (JAMSTEC). Genomic DNA was extracted from each sample using Fast DNA kit for soil (Qbiogene). Partial 16S rRNA gene and amoA gene were amplified by PCR with prokaryote-universal primer set (Uni516F-Uni1407R) and bacterial and archaeal amoA specific primer sets. PCR products were cloned. The nucleotide sequences of randomly selected clones were determined. We performed phylogenetic and statistical analysis to determine microbial community compositions, and estimated diversity indices. We also estimated the copy numbers of 16S rRNA and amoA genes of Bacteria and Archaea by quantitative PCR. Results

  11. Biological responses of wheat (Triticum aestivum) plants to the herbicide simetryne in soils. (United States)

    Jiang, Lei; Yang, Yi; Jia, Lin Xian; Lin, Jing Ling; Liu, Ying; Pan, Bo; Lin, Yong


    The rotation of rice and wheat is widely used and highly endorsed, and simetryne (s-triazine herbicide) is one of the principal herbicides widely used in this rotation for weed and grass control. However, little is known regarding the mechanism of the ecological and physiological effects of simetryne on wheat crops. In this study, we performed a comprehensive investigation of crop response to simetryne to elucidate the accumulation and phytotoxicity of the herbicide in wheat crops. Wheat plants exposed to 0.8 to 8.0mgkg(-1) simetryne for 7 d exhibited suppressed growth and decreased chlorophyll content. With simetryne concentration in the soil varied from 0.8mgkg(-1) to 8.0mgkg(-1), simetryne was progressively accumulated by the wheat plants. The accumulation of simetryne in the wheat plants not only induced the over production of ROS and injured the membrane lipids but also stimulated the production of antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione S-transferase (GST). A test of enzymatic activity and gene expression illustrated that the wheat plants were wise enough to motivate the antioxidant enzymes through both molecular and physiological mechanisms to alleviate the simetryne-induced stress. This study offers an illuminating insight into the effective adaptive response of the wheat plants to the simetryne stress.

  12. Biological dinitrogen fixation by selected soil cyanobacteria as affected by strain origin, morphotype, and light conditions. (United States)

    Hrčková, K; Simek, M; Hrouzek, P; Lukešová, A


    The potential for N(2) fixation by heterocystous cyanobacteria isolated from soils of different geographical areas was determined as nitrogenase activity (NA) using the acetylene reduction assay. Morphology of cyanobacteria had the largest influence on NA determined under light conditions. NA was generally higher in species lacking thick slime sheaths. The highest value (1446 nmol/h C(2)H(4) per g fresh biomass) was found in the strain of branched cyanobacterium Hassalia (A Has1) from the polar region. A quadratic relationship between NA and biomass was detected in the Tolypothrix group under light conditions. The decline of NA in dark relative to light conditions ranged from 37 to 100 % and differed among strains from distinct geographical areas. Unlike the NA of temperate and tropical strains, whose decline in dark relative to light was 24 and 17 %, respectively, the NA of polar strains declined to 1 % in the dark. This difference was explained by adaptation to different light conditions in temperate, tropical, and polar habitats. NA was not related to the frequency of heterocysts in strains of the colony-forming cyanobacterium Nostoc. Colony morphology and life cycle are therefore more important for NA then heterocyst frequency. NA values probably reflect the environmental conditions where the cyanobacterium was isolated and the physiological and morphological state of the strain.

  13. Ecosystems Biology Approaches To Determine Key Fitness Traits of Soil Microorganisms (United States)

    Brodie, E.; Zhalnina, K.; Karaoz, U.; Cho, H.; Nuccio, E. E.; Shi, S.; Lipton, M. S.; Zhou, J.; Pett-Ridge, J.; Northen, T.; Firestone, M.


    The application of theoretical approaches such as trait-based modeling represent powerful tools to explain and perhaps predict complex patterns in microbial distribution and function across environmental gradients in space and time. These models are mostly deterministic and where available are built upon a detailed understanding of microbial physiology and response to environmental factors. However as most soil microorganisms have not been cultivated, for the majority our understanding is limited to insights from environmental 'omic information. Information gleaned from 'omic studies of complex systems should be regarded as providing hypotheses, and these hypotheses should be tested under controlled laboratory conditions if they are to be propagated into deterministic models. In a semi-arid Mediterranean grassland system we are attempting to dissect microbial communities into functional guilds with defined physiological traits and are using a range of 'omics approaches to characterize their metabolic potential and niche preference. Initially, two physiologically relevant time points (peak plant activity and prior to wet-up) were sampled and metagenomes sequenced deeply (600-900 Gbp). Following assembly, differential coverage and nucleotide frequency binning were carried out to yield draft genomes. In addition, using a range of cultivation media we have isolated a broad range of bacteria representing abundant bacterial genotypes and with genome sequences of almost 40 isolates are testing genomic predictions regarding growth rate, temperature and substrate utilization in vitro. This presentation will discuss the opportunities and challenges in parameterizing microbial functional guilds from environmental 'omic information for use in trait-based models.

  14. Antibiotic pigment from desert soil actinomycetes; biological activity, purification and chemical screening

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Selvameenal L


    Full Text Available An actinomycete strain, Streptomyces hygroscopicus subsp. ossamyceticus (strain D10 was isolated from Thar Desert soil, Rajasthan during the year 2006 and found to produce a yellow color pigment with antibiotic activity. Crude pigment was produced from strain D10 by solid state fermentation using wheat bran medium followed by extraction with ethyl acetate. The antimicrobial activity of the crude pigment was evaluated against drug resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, extended spectrum b-lactamase producing cultures of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella sp. About 420 mg of crude pigment was produced per 10 g of wheat bran medium. In the disc diffusion method the crude ethyl acetate extract showed a minimum of 10 mm inhibition against Klebsiella sp. and maximum of 19 mm of inhibition against Escherichia coli. The crude pigment was partially purified using thin layer chromatography with the solvent system chloroform:methanol (30:70 and the Rf value was calculated as 0.768. Antimicrobial activity of the partially purified compound from thin layer chromatography was determined using the bioautography method. The purified pigment showed minimum of 15 mm inhibition against Klebsiella sp. and a maximum of 23 mm of inhibition against vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the disc diffusion method. Based on the results of chemical screening, the pigment was tentatively identified as group of sugar containing molecules.

  15. Accumulation of carbon and nitrogen in vegetation and soils of deglaciated area in Ellesmere Island, high-Arctic Canada (United States)

    Osono, Takashi; Mori, Akira S.; Uchida, Masaki; Kanda, Hiroshi


    The amount of biomass, carbon (C), and nitrogen (N) in vegetation and soil were measured at two spatial scales in the high Arctic. At the scale of proglacial landscape, the amount of C and N in aboveground and belowground parts of vegetation, surface litter, and soil were significantly affected by the habitat (moraines vs hummocks), the relative age of the terrain after the deglaciation, and/or the vegetation. At another scale, we focused on mudboils as an agent of local disturbance in the vegetation and soil of the glacier foreland. The biomass and the amount of C and N in aboveground vegetation, surface litter, biological soil crust, and soil were generally increased with the stage of mudboils' inactivation. Biomass, C, and N in aboveground vegetation and surface litter were generally greater at moraine than at hummock, whereas those in biological soil crust and soil were greater at hummock. Principal component analysis identified two pathways, xeric and mesic ones on moraines and hummocks, respectively, of C and N accumulation both at the two spatial scales. These results suggested that the C and N accumulation was not linearly related to the time since deglaciation and that moisture condition, vegetation, and mudboil activity were locally important.

  16. Cemented Volcanic Soils, Martian Spectra and Implications for the Martian Climate (United States)

    Bishop, J. L.; Schiffman, P.; Drief, A.; Southard, R. J.


    Cemented volcanic crusts are studied to learn about their composition, formation processes, and implications for climate interactions with the surface on Mars. Such carbonate, sulfate and opal crusts may be present in cemented soil units on Mars.

  17. Making continental crust: The sanukitoid connection

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Yoshiyuki TATSUMI


    The average continental crust possesses intermediate compositions that typify arc magmatism and as a result it is believed to have been created at ancient convergent plate boundaries. One possible mechanism for intermediate continental crust formation is the direct production of andesitic melts in the upper mantle. Sanukitoids, which characterize the Setouchi volcanic belt, SW Japan, include unusually high-Mg andesites (HMA). They were generated by slab melting and subsequent melt-mantle interactions under unusual tectonic settings such as where warm lithosphere subducts into hot upper mantle. Such conditions would have existed in the Archean. Hydrous HMA magmas are likely to have solidified within the crust to form HMA plutons, which were then remelted to produce differentiated sanukitoids. At present, generation and differentiation of HMA magmas may be taking place in the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc-trench system (IBM), because (1) HMA magmatism characterizes the initial stages of the iBM evolution and (2) the IBM middle crust exhibits Vp identical to that of the bulk continental crust. Vp estimates for plutonic rocks with HMA compositions support this. However tonalitic composition for middle-crust-forming rocks cannot be ruled out, suggesting an alternative possibility that the continental crust has been created by differentiation of mantle-derived basaltic magmas.

  18. The effectiveness of spent coffee grounds and its biochar on the amelioration of heavy metals-contaminated water and soil using chemical and biological assessments. (United States)

    Kim, Min-Suk; Min, Hyun-Gi; Koo, Namin; Park, Jeongsik; Lee, Sang-Hwan; Bak, Gwan-In; Kim, Jeong-Gyu


    Spent coffee grounds (SCG) and charred spent coffee grounds (SCG-char) have been widely used to adsorb or to amend heavy metals that contaminate water or soil and their success is usually assessed by chemical analysis. In this work, the effects of SCG and SCG-char on metal-contaminated water and soil were evaluated using chemical and biological assessments; a phytotoxicity test using bok choy (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis Jusl.) was conducted for the biological assessment. When SCG and SCG-char were applied to acid mine drainage, the heavy metal concentrations were decreased and the pH was increased. However, for SCG, the phytotoxicity increased because a massive amount of dissolved organic carbon was released from SCG. In contrast, SCG-char did not exhibit this phenomenon because any easily released organic matter was removed during pyrolysis. While the bioavailable heavy metal content decreased in soils treated with SCG or SCG-char, the phytotoxicity only rose after SCG treatment. According to our statistical methodology, bioavailable Pb, Cu and As, as well as the electrical conductivity representing an increase in organic content, affected the phytotoxicity of soil. Therefore, applying SCG during environment remediation requires careful biological assessments and evaluations of the efficiency of this remediation technology.

  19. A numerical model (MISER) for the simulation of coupled physical, chemical and biological processes in soil vapor extraction and bioventing systems (United States)

    Rathfelder, Klaus M.; Lang, John R.; Abriola, Linda M.


    The efficiency and effectiveness of soil vapor extraction (SVE) and bioventing (BV) systems for remediation of unsaturated zone soils is controlled by a complex combination of physical, chemical and biological factors. The Michigan soil vapor extraction remediation (MISER) model, a two-dimensional numerical simulator, is developed to advance our ability to investigate the performance of field scale SVE and BV systems by integrating processes of multiphase flow, multicomponent compositional transport with nonequilibrium interphase mass transfer, and aerobic biodegradation. Subsequent to the model presentation, example simulations of single well SVE and BV systems are used to illustrate the interplay between physical, chemical and biological processes and their potential influence on remediation efficiency and the pathways of contaminant removal. Simulations of SVE reveal that removal efficiency is controlled primarily by the ability to engineer gas flow through regions of organic liquid contaminated soil and by interphase mass transfer limitations. Biodegradation is found to play a minor role in mass removal for the examined SVE scenarios. Simulations of BV systems suggest that the effective supply of oxygen may not be the sole criterion for efficient BV performance. The efficiency and contaminant removal pathways in these systems can be significantly influenced by interdependent dynamics involving biological growth factors, interphase mass transfer rates, and air injection rates. Simulation results emphasize the need for the continued refinement and validation of predictive interphase mass transfer models applicable under a variety of conditions and for the continued elucidation and quantification of microbial processes under unsaturated field conditions.

  20. Soil formation.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Breemen, van N.; Buurman, P.


    Soil Formation deals with qualitative and quantitative aspects of soil formation (or pedogenesis) and the underlying chemical, biological, and physical processes. The starting point of the text is the process - and not soil classification. Effects of weathering and new formation of minerals, mobilis

  1. Crust rheology, slab detachment and topography (United States)

    Duretz, T.; Gerya, T. V.


    The collision between continents following the closure of an ocean can lead to the subduction of continental crust. The introduction of buoyant crust within subduction zones triggers the development of extensional stresses in slabs which eventually result in their detachment. The dynamic consequences of slab detachment affects the development of topography, the exhumation of high-pressure rocks and the geodynamic evolution of collision zones. We employ two-dimensional thermo-mechanical modelling in order to study the importance of crustal rheology on the evolution of spontaneous subduction-collision systems and the occurrence of slab detachment. The modelling results indicate that varying the rheological structure of the crust can results in a broad range of collisional evolutions involving slab detachment, delamination (associated to slab rollback), or the combination of both mechanisms. By enhancing mechanical coupling at the Moho, a strong crust leads to the deep subduction of the crust (180 km). These collisions are subjected to slab detachment and subsequent coherent exhumation of the crust accommodated by eduction (inversion of subduction sense) and thrusting. In these conditions, slab detachment promotes the development of a high (> 4.5 km) and narrow (delamination of the lithosphere, preventing slab detachment to occur. Further shortening leads to buckling and thickening of the crust resulting in the development of topographic bulging on the lower plate. Collisions involving rheologically layered crust are characterised by a decoupling level at mid-crustal depths. These initial condition favours the delamination of the upper crust as well as the deep subduction of the lower crust. These collisions are thus successively affected by delamination and slab detachment and both processes contribute to the exhumation of the subducted crust. A wide (> 200 km) topographic plateau develops as the results of the buoyant extrusion of the upper crust onto the foreland

  2. Biogenic crust dynamics on sand dunes

    CERN Document Server

    Kinast, Shai; Yizhaq, Hezi; Ashkenazy, Yosef


    Sand dunes are often covered by vegetation and biogenic crusts. Despite their significant role in dune stabilization, biogenic crusts have rarely been considered in studies of dune dynamics. Using a simple model, we study the existence and stability ranges of different dune-cover states along gradients of rainfall and wind power. Two ranges of alternative stable states are identified: fixed crusted dunes and fixed vegetated dunes at low wind power, and fixed vegetated dunes and active dunes at high wind power. These results suggest a cross-over between two different forms of desertification.

  3. Microphytic crusts: 'topsoil' of the desert (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne


    Deserts throughout the world are the home of microphytic, or cryptogamic, crusts. These crusts are dominated by cyanobacteria, previously called blue-green algae, and also include lichens, mosses, green algae, microfungi and bacteria. They are critical components of desert ecosystems, significantly modifying the surfaces on which they occur. In the cold deserts of the Colorado Plateau (including parts of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico), these crusts are extraordinarily well-developed, and may represent 70-80% of the living ground cover.

  4. Eocene deep crust at Ama Drime, Tibet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kellett, Dawn; Cottle, John; Smit, Matthijs Arjen


    for burial of the lower Indian crust beneath Tibet reported from the central-eastern Himalaya. Granulite-facies overprinting followed at ca. 15–13 Ma, as indicated by U-Pb zircon ages. Unlike ultrahigh-pressure eclogites of the northwest Himalaya, the Ama Drime eclogites are not characteristic of rapid...... burial and exhumation of a cold subducted slab. The rocks instead resulted from crustal thickening during the early stages of continental collision, and resided in the lower-middle crust for >20 m.y. before they were exhumed and reheated. These new data provide solid evidence for the Indian crust having...

  5. Preliminary Study on Biological Characteristics of Degraded Soil Ecosystems in Dry Hot Valley of the Jinsha River

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    Distribution characteristics of soil animals, microorganisms and enzymatic activity were studied in thedry red soil and Vertisol ecosystems with different degradation degrees in the Yuanmou dry hot valley of theJinsha River, China. Results showed that Hymenoptera, Araneae and Collembola were the dominant groupsof soil animals in the plots studied. The numbers of groups and individuals and density of soil animals in thedry red soil series were higher than those in the Vertisol series, and the numbers of individuals and density ofsoil animals decreased with the degree of soil degradation. Bacteria dominated microbiocoenosis not only inthe dry red soils but also in the Vertisols. Microbial numbers of the dry red soil series were higher than thoseof Vertisol series, and decreased with the degree of soil degradation. The activities of catalase, invertase,urease and alkaline phosphatase declined with the degradation degree and showed a significant decline withdepth in the profiles of both the dry red soils and the Vertisols, but activities of polyphenol oxidase andacid and neutral phosphatase showed the same tendencies only in the Vertisols. It was concluded that thecharacteristics of soil animals, microorganisms and enzymatic activity could be used as the bio-indicators toshow the degradation degree of the dry red soils and Vertisols. Correlation among these soil bio-indicatorswas highly significant.

  6. Variations in the fate and biological effects of sulfamethoxazole, norfloxacin and doxycycline in different vegetable-soil systems following manure application. (United States)

    Wang, Jianmei; Lin, Hui; Sun, Wanchun; Xia, Yun; Ma, Junwei; Fu, Jianrong; Zhang, Zulin; Wu, Huizhen; Qian, Mingrong


    The fate of sulfamethoxazole (SMZ), norfloxacin (NOR) and doxycycline (DOX) and their biological effects in radish and pakchoi culture systems were investigated. DOX dissipated more rapidly than SMZ and NOR, while radish and pakchoi cultivation increased the removal of residual DOX in soils. Dissipation of NOR was accelerated in radish soils but was slowed down slightly in pakchoi soils. Vegetable cultivation exerted an insignificant effect on SMZ removal. Investigation of antibiotic bioaccumulation showed that the uptake of DOX by radish and pakchoi was undetectable, but the radish accumulated more SMZ and NOR than pakchoi. Among the three antibiotics, only SMZ use exhibited an apparent suspension of plant seed germination, up-ground plant growth and soil microbial diversity. Pakchoi responded more sensitively to SMZ than did the radish. Principal component analysis (PCA) based on MicroRESP™ indicated that the sampling time and antibiotic treatments could influence the soil microbial community. Only in the pakchoi soils did antibiotic application exert a more robust effect on the microbial community than the sampling time; SMZ treatments and DOX treatments could be clearly discriminated from the control treatments. These results are crucial for an assessment of the potential risks of antibiotics to culture system practices and suggest that good agricultural practices help to limit or even reduce antibiotic pollution.

  7. Temperature distribution in magnetized neutron star crusts

    CERN Document Server

    Geppert, U; Page, D


    We investigate the influence of different magnetic field configurations on the temperature distribution in neutron star crusts. We consider axisymmetric dipolar fields which are either restricted to the stellar crust, ``crustal fields'', or allowed to penetrate the core, ``core fields''. By integrating the two-dimensional heat transport equation in the crust, taking into account the classical (Larmor) anisotropy of the heat conductivity, we obtain the crustal temperature distribution, assuming an isothermal core. Including quantum magnetic field effects in the envelope as a boundary condition, we deduce the corresponding surface temperature distributions. We find that core fields result in practically isothermal crusts unless the surface field strength is well above $10^{15}$ G while for crustal fields with surface strength above a few times $10^{12}$ G significant deviations from isothermality occur at core temperatures inferior or equal to $10^8$ K. At the stellar surface, the cold equatorial region produce...

  8. Neutron Star Crust and Molecular Dynamics Simulation

    CERN Document Server

    Horowitz, C J; Schneider, A; Berry, D K


    In this book chapter we review plasma crystals in the laboratory, in the interior of white dwarf stars, and in the crust of neutron stars. We describe a molecular dynamics formalism and show results for many neutron star crust properties including phase separation upon freezing, diffusion, breaking strain, shear viscosity and dynamics response of nuclear pasta. We end with a summary and discuss open questions and challenges for the future.

  9. Early formation of evolved asteroidal crust. (United States)

    Day, James M D; Ash, Richard D; Liu, Yang; Bellucci, Jeremy J; Rumble, Douglas; McDonough, William F; Walker, Richard J; Taylor, Lawrence A


    Mechanisms for the formation of crust on planetary bodies remain poorly understood. It is generally accepted that Earth's andesitic continental crust is the product of plate tectonics, whereas the Moon acquired its feldspar-rich crust by way of plagioclase flotation in a magma ocean. Basaltic meteorites provide evidence that, like the terrestrial planets, some asteroids generated crust and underwent large-scale differentiation processes. Until now, however, no evolved felsic asteroidal crust has been sampled or observed. Here we report age and compositional data for the newly discovered, paired and differentiated meteorites Graves Nunatak (GRA) 06128 and GRA 06129. These meteorites are feldspar-rich, with andesite bulk compositions. Their age of 4.52 +/- 0.06 Gyr demonstrates formation early in Solar System history. The isotopic and elemental compositions, degree of metamorphic re-equilibration and sulphide-rich nature of the meteorites are most consistent with an origin as partial melts from a volatile-rich, oxidized asteroid. GRA 06128 and 06129 are the result of a newly recognized style of evolved crust formation, bearing witness to incomplete differentiation of their parent asteroid and to previously unrecognized diversity of early-formed materials in the Solar System.

  10. Biological 12C-13C fractionation increases with increasing community-complexity in soil microcosms

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Yang, Weijun; Magid, Jakob; Christensen, Søren


    Isotope fractionation is a ubiquitous phenomenon in natural ecosystems. When chemical elements move through food chains, natural isotope ratios change because biological processes tend to discriminate against heavier isotopes. This effect can be used to trace flows of matter, estimate process......-rates and determine the trophic level of organisms in biological systems. While it is widely accepted that 15N-accumulates in natural food-chains, it is disputed to which extent this is the case for C-13. We constructed sand-microcosms inoculated with a dilution series of soil organisms and amended with glucose...

  11. Study on Biological Degradation of Industrial Organic Waste Residue with surface Soil%土壤有机废渣的生物降解研究

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    齐向阳; 周波


    [ Objective ] The study aimed to discuss the influencing factors and effective measures for the biological degradation of chemicalindustrial waste residue with the soil microbial. [ Method ] In testing area the soil samples were taken from the surface soil in 20cm with quartering method and the burning weightlessness of unit quality was detected resp., and then the different waste residue was applied in the each experimental plot and the their burning weightlessness were determined after taking the samples in the interval of 5 d, thus the degradation data of organic waste residue in each block of soil was acquired. [ Result ] The biological degradation of organic waste residue with the soil microbial was effected by the waste residue property and surface area, soil oxygenation content, soil pH, soil moisture content and soil temperatures. The aerobic degradation of organic matter was much faster and fuller than the anaerobic degradation. As the soil pH affected the microbial activities, it should be maintained at 7~9. Controlling the soil moisture content of 50%~60% was the best condition of microbial activity. When the soil temperature was below zero, the biological degradation stopped basically. [ Conclusion ] In the actual application of industrially processing the organic waste residue, the some soil texture and some kinds of wasted residue still needed for further research so as to control the biodegradation rate and degree and its management measures. texture.%[目的]探讨土壤微生物降解化工废渣的影响因素及有效措施.[方法]在试验区用四分法在地表20cm内取土壤样品,分别测出单位质量的燃烧失重,再向每块试验区施入不同的废渣,每隔5d取样后,测定其燃烧失重,获得各块土壤有机废渣随时间的降解数据.[结果]土壤有机废渣的生物降解受废渣性质、废渣表面积、土壤含氧量、土壤pH、含湿量和土壤温度的影响.有机物的

  12. 生物炭对土壤生态系统影响的研究进展%Research Progress of Impacts of Biological Carbon on Soil Ecosystem

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘骞; 谢修鸿


    狭义地说,生物炭特指生物有机材料在无氧(缺氧)环境下经过高温分解而形成的固体产物。相比一般的“碳产品”而言,其碳含量极高,可以作为能源、还原剂和土壤改良材料,是有效解决土壤退化、环境污染和气候变暖的策略。生物炭在改良土壤生态环境中发挥了显著效果,具有较高的研究价值,本文结合这一课题展开研究,提出合理的观点和建议。%In the narrow sense, biological carbon refers to the solid product formed from biological organic material through pyrolysis in anaerobic ( lack of oxygen) environment, which with its high carbon content can be used as the energy, reducing agent and soil im ̄provement material compared to common carbon products, being an effective solution to soil degradation, environment pollution and cli ̄mate change. Biological carbon plays a significant role in improving soil ecological environment and has a high research value. This arti ̄cle makes a discussion by focusing on the topic and puts forward reasonable opinions and suggestions.

  13. Effect of amended soil and hydraulic load on enhanced biological nitrogen removal in lab-scale SWIS. (United States)

    Zou, J L; Dai, Y; Sun, T H; Li, Y H; Li, G B; Li, Q Y


    To characterize the effect of amended soil on nitrogen removal in subsurface wastewater infiltration system (SWIS), culture, grass carbon, and zeolite were mixed to produce microbial inoculums, and then the optimal microbial inoculums, nutrient substance, cinder, and original soil were mixed to produce the soils through bioaugmentation. Results indicate that the microbial inoculums (culture+50% grass carbon+50% zeolite) and the amended soil (12.5% microbial inoculums+25% nutrient substrate+12.5% cinder+50% original soil) have the optimal biogenic stimulating properties, and the adsorption capacity of the amended soil are 1.216 mg-Pg(-1) and 0.495 mg-Ng(-1). The laboratory soil column experiment indicates that the efficient mode of nitrogen removal in lab-scale SWIS is adsorption-nitrification-denitrification and the nitrification/denitrification can be enhanced by the application of the amended soil. On average, the SWIS filled with amended soil converts 85% of ammonia nitrogen (NH(4)(+)-N) to NO(x)(-)-N and removes 49.8-60.6% of total nitrogen (TN), while the system filled with original soil removes 80% of NH(4)(+)-N and 31.3-43.2% of TN at 4-8 cm day(-1). Two systems are overloads at 10 cm day(-1). It is concluded that the microbial activities and nitrogen removal efficiencies are improved in SWIS after bioaugmentation.

  14. Soil microbial responses to nitrogen addition in arid ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert L Sinsabaugh


    Full Text Available The N cycle of arid ecosystems is influenced by low soil organic matter, high soil pH and extremes in water potential and temperature that lead to open canopies and development of biological soil crusts (biocrusts. We investigated the effects of N amendment on soil microbial dynamics in a Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa shrubland site in southern Nevada USA. Sites were fertilized with a NO3-NH4 mix at 0, 7, and 15 kg ha-1 yr-1 from March 2012 to March 2013. In March 2013, biocrust (0-0.5 cm and bulk soils (0-10 cm were collected beneath Ambrosia canopies and in the interspaces between plants. Biomass responses were assessed as bacterial and fungal SSU rRNA gene copy number and chlorophyll a concentration. Metabolic responses were measured by five ecoenzyme activities (EEA and rates of N transformation. By most measures, nutrient availability, microbial biomass and process rates were greater in soils beneath the shrub canopy compared to the interspace between plants, and greater in the surface biocrust horizon compared to the deeper 10 cm soil profile. Most measures responded positively to experimental N addition. Effect sizes were generally greater for bulk soil than biocrust. Results were incorporated into a meta-analysis of arid ecosystem responses to N.

  15. Changes in physical and biological soil quality indicators in a tropical crop system (Havana, Cuba) in response to different agroecological management practices. (United States)

    Izquierdo, I; Caravaca, F; Alguacil, M M; Roldán, A


    The objective of our study was to assess the response of physical (aggregate stability and bulk density) and biological (enzyme activities and microbial biomass) soil quality indicators to the adoption of agroecological management practices, such as the planting of forage species (forage area) and the rotation of local crops (polycrop area), carried out in a representative tropical pasture on an integrated livestock-crop farm. The pasture system was used as control (pasture area). In all three areas, the values of water-soluble C were higher in the rainy season compared to the dry season. Pasture and forage areas had the highest percentage of stable aggregates in the rainy season, while polycrops developed soils with less stable aggregates. Soil bulk density was lower in the pasture and forage areas than in the polycrop area. In the pasture area, the microbial biomass C values, dehydrogenase, urease, protease-BAA, acid phosphatase, and beta-glucosidase activities were higher than in the forage and polycrop areas, particularly in the dry season. The highest increase in the microbial biomass C in the rainy season, with respect to the dry season, was recorded in the pasture area (about 1.2-fold). In conclusion, the planting of forage species can be considered an effective practice for carrying out sustainable, integrated livestock-crop systems, due to its general maintenance of soil quality, while the adoption of polycrop rotations appears to be less favorable because it decreases soil quality.

  16. Use of organic substrates as electron donors for biological sulfate reduction in gypsiferous mine soils from Nakhon Si Thammarat (Thailand). (United States)

    Kijjanapanich, Pimluck; Annachhatre, Ajit P; Esposito, Giovanni; Lens, Piet N L


    Soils in some mining areas contain a high gypsum content, which can give adverse effects to the environment and may cause many cultivation problems, such as a low water retention capacity and low fertility. The quality of such mine soils can be improved by reducing the soil's gypsum content. This study aims to develop an appropriate in situ bioremediation technology for abbreviating the gypsum content of mine soils by using sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB). The technology was applied to a mine soil from a gypsum mine in the southern part of Thailand which contains a high sulfate content (150 g kg(-1)). Cheap organic substrates with low or no cost, such as rice husk, pig farm wastewater treatment sludge and coconut husk chips were mixed (60:20:20 by volume) and supplied to the soil as electron donors for the SRB. The highest sulfate removal efficiency of 59% was achieved in the soil mixed with 40% organic mixture, corresponding to a reduction of the soil gypsum content from 25% to 7.5%. For economic gains, this treated soil can be further used for agriculture and the produced sulfide can be recovered as the fertilizer elemental sulfur.

  17. Niche Filtering of Bacteria in Soil and Rock Habitats of the Colorado Plateau Desert, Utah, USA (United States)

    Lee, Kevin C.; Archer, Stephen D. J.; Boyle, Rachel H.; Lacap-Bugler, Donnabella C.; Belnap, Jayne; Pointing, Stephen B.


    A common feature of microbial colonization in deserts is biological soil crusts (BSCs), and these comprise a complex community dominated by Cyanobacteria. Rock substrates, particularly sandstone, are also colonized by microbial communities. These are separated by bare sandy soil that also supports microbial colonization. Here we report a high-throughput sequencing study of BSC and cryptoendolith plus adjacent bare soil communities in the Colorado Plateau Desert, Utah, USA. Bare soils supported a community with low levels of recoverable DNA and high evenness, whilst BSC yielded relatively high recoverable DNA, and reduced evenness compared to bare soil due to specialized crust taxa. The cryptoendolithic community displayed the greatest evenness but the lowest diversity, reflecting the highly specialized nature of these communities. A strong substrate-dependent pattern of community assembly was observed, and in particular cyanobacterial taxa were distinct. Soils were virtually devoid of photoautotrophic signatures, BSC was dominated by a closely related group of Microcoleus/Phormidium taxa, whilst cryptoendolithic colonization in sandstone supported almost exclusively a single genus, Chroococcidiopsis. We interpret this as strong evidence for niche filtering of taxa in communities. Local inter-niche recruitment of photoautotrophs may therefore be limited and so communities likely depend s