Thursday, February 18, 2016

Picturing biocrusts during the wintertime

The conditions in Moab, UT have been pretty ideal for crusts this winter.  6+ inches of snow stuck around for a while, then slowly melted, leaving north facing slopes with wet soil surfaces while the sun is shining. These conditions have resulted in some of the most robust looking crusts I have ever see.  Robust crusts like these, and the 2015 Biogeochemistry paper by Anthony Darrouzet-Nardi et al. which observed substantial net photosynthesis rates underneath snow, seem to suggest there is exciting work to be done about seasonality of biocrust growth and the importance of winter snow cover to these systems. Enjoy the pretty pictures of crusts!
Note the sporophytes emerging! 

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