tag: biocrust

Microbial transport and soil integrity in drylands

Dryland soils are particularly vulnerable to erosion because of low plant cover and low organic matter which is linked with water availability and biological constraints. It is increasingly recognised that dryland soils can be managed to minimise erosion, which has benefits such as increasing soil fertility, carbon storage, and prevention …

Pastoralism and soil quality in the Kalahari

Land use change in the rangelands of Botswana is affecting soil properties. Pastoralism is the only viable livelihood for many rural poor in Botswana, and privatization of communal land is reducing the area of grazing available to those without land tenure. This has elevated stocking densities in communal areas, increasing …

Soil microbes of the Kalahari and the Pennines

Soil is a non-renewable resource which sustains life and delivers countless beneficial ecosystem services that we need and take for granted. The microbial diversity of soil dwarfs above-ground plant diversity, but is intimately linked with it. Whilst macroscopic ecology is a well-developed discipline that supports our efforts to manage and …

Reproducible research

The statistical analyses for our recent paper on the bacterial communities of biological soil crusts in the Kalahari can be fully examined and reproduced via code and data I have deposited on GitHub. The analysis relies heavily on the phyloseq package for R. The phyloseq paper and associated documentation were really an inspiration, and …

Niche partitioning of bacterial communities in biological crusts and soils under grasses, shrubs and trees in the Kalahari

The Kalahari of southern Africa is characterised by sparse vegetation interspersed with microbe-dominated biological soil crusts (BSC) which deliver a range of ecosystem services including soil stabilisation and carbon fixation. We characterised the bacterial communities of BSCs (0–1 cm depth) and the subsurface soil (1–2 cm depth) in an area typical of …

Microbial community composition of biological soil crusts and subsoil in the Kalahari

The Kalahari of southern Africa is characterised by sparse vegetation interspersed with biological soil crusts which deliver a range of ecosystem services including soil stabilisation and carbon fixation. The crusts vary in morphology from barely aggregated sand grains, to strongly aggregated thick crusts with dark pigmentation. Crust morphology and development …

Bio-physical competition for pore space and the micro-environment in BSC covered Kalahari Sand soils: Modelling soil thermal, hydraulic and gas efflux behaviour

Soil pore and particle matrices both facilitate and constrain soil-atmosphere exchange of heat, moisture and gas. Further, in soils covered by Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs), soil structure differs in the BSC (<1cm) and near surface layers. Soil-atmosphere gas exchange occurs primarily by diffusion, moisture flow by capillarity and hydrostatic pressure, …