category: Research

Long-term effects of air pollution on microbial communities of moorland peat

Upland peatlands receive the majority of their ecosystem inputs through precipitation, which delivers not only moisture but also atmospheric gases and particulates. Pristine peatlands are characterised by nutrient limitation, leading to the establishment of oligotrophic organism communities both above- and below-ground. Sphagnum mosses in particular thrive, and their presence promotes …

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 …

Diverse mycorrhizal representation and bacterial-fungal interactions in an upland peatland vegetation mosaic undergoing restoration

Peatlands are under threat from land management, anthropogenic pollution and climate change. These factors are implicated in severe degradation of peatlands in the southern Pennines of northern England. Significant areas of unconsolidated bare peat are both highly vulnerable to peat erosion and resistant to natural re-vegetation. Restoration efforts during the …

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 …