Friday, November 27, 2015

Future of Northern Arizona's Lanscape Panel Discussion, Dec. 3 6:30 PM, Coconino Center for the Arts

Please come out to the Future of Northern Arizona Landscapes event next week. Three NAU School of Forestry professors will be presenting short talks and taking questions, along with 2 other speakers from NAU and the Grand Canyon Trust. For my part, I will focus on ways to assist migration of plants by co-migrating soil organisms. The event is sponsored by The Flagstaff Climate March and is one of a series of events coinciding with the COP 21 (UN Climate talks) meeting in Paris. Read more about it here

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Publication backlog post….three from earlier this year

The Spanish post-doctoral power trio is at it again. Somebody hire these men! Santi & Manu have published the results of our fun and productive road trip across the Colorado Plateau back in summer of 2012 (?), part of a global drylands dataset dreamed up by Fernando Maestre. Raul has published some more work from his N-deposition study using an array of study sites across Spain.

Soliveres S., Maestre F.T., Ulrich W., Manning P., Boch S., Bowker M.A., Prati D., Delgado-Baquerizo M., Quero J.L., Schoning I., Gallardo A., Weisser W., Muller J., Socher S.A., Garcia-Gomez M., Ochoa V., Schulze E.D., Fischer M., Allan E. 2015. Intransitive competition is widespread in plant communities and maintains their species richness. Ecology Letters 18:790-798.

Ochoa-Hueso R, Delgado-Baquerizo M, Gallardo A., Bowker M.A., Maestre F.T. Climatic conditions, soil fertility and atmospheric nitrogen deposition largely determine the structure and functioning of microbial communities in biocrust-dominated Mediterranean drylands. Plant and Soil doi:10.1007/s11104-015-2695y.

Delgado-Baquerizo M. Maestre F.T., Eldridge D.J., Bowker M.A., Ochoa V., Val J., Singh B.K. 2015. Biocrust-forming mosses mitigate the negative impacts of increasing aridity on ecosystem multifunctionality in drylands. New Phytologist doi:10.1111/nph.13688. 
(See also Research Highlight in Nature Plants Article Number 15177-15181).

Sunday, November 15, 2015

CRC Features our Biocrust Restoration work

This fall we set up two experiments at the Canyonlands Research Center. In the first, we transplanted intact biocrusts to three "home" or "away" locations from 1200, 1600 and 2000m to determine if biocrusts are best adapted to their home environment, and thus need to be locally sourced for restoration. In a second experiment, we are testing method to successfully establish greenhouse-cultivated biocrusts to the field to maximize success for future restoration efforts.

You can read the Fall 2015 CRC newsletter, the Sundial, which highlights our work along with others doing important work on biocrust and vascular plant restoration:

A rainbow over our newly-established biocrust common garden. Light rains welcome the biocrust transplants to their new home.

In a full-factorial experiment, we are testing methods to ease the transition of greenhouse cultivated biocrusts to the field to maximize establishment. Methods tested here include: hardening of inoculum, jute addition, and water addition for 2 weeks following introduction to the field.

Straw checkerboards show promise in stabilizing soils, and providing good habitat for biocrust establishment. We are testing it's effectiveness with no inoculum, greenhouse cultivated inoculum, or greenhouse cultivated and hardened inoculum.

Rooftop Mosscaping Project Begins on the Pods of the ARD Building at NAU

Today NAU grounds personnel and representatives from the Bowker Lab kicked off the first installation of biocrust mosses on a campus building roof.  The objective of the project is to create a zero maintenance and zero water input green space that can both sequester carbon and beautify the campus.

Much of the roof of the ARD building's Pods was already colonized by pioneer species of mosses including Bryum argenteum and Funari hygrometrica. These moss species, in addition to other species local to the greater Flagstaff area, were transplanted in a dense mosaic within view from the second floor of the building. This is the first of multiple efforts to develop the Pod roof, which will include native vascular plant species as well.

While mosses have been incorporated into green roof architecture globally, this concept has not been developed in the Southwestern US or other arid regions. The effort is the first of its kind, bringing biocrust restoration techniques developed at the Bowker lab to an urban context. We would like to thank NAU grounds for collaborating with University researchers to explore sustainable, climate conscious, landscaping.