About this Research Topic
The nexus of science related to biocrusts and aerobiology strongly suggests that BSCs can become established or reestablished via naturally occurring processes, as BSC propagules are found naturally in the atmosphere, and can be transported very long distances between hemispheres, continents and climates. There remains a gap in understanding the ecological processes surrounding the establishment, re-establishment and development of BSCs in the context of globally heterogeneous biogeographical patterns of the different BSC organisms. A more complete understanding of similarities and dissimilarities in establishment, growth and regeneration of BSCs from different geographical regions is essential in order to fully understand their contribution for ecosystem functioning and services and exploit their potential to improve the health of diverse soils.
The object of this interdisciplinary Research Topic is to bring together the current research on development of biological soil crusts in natural and human disturbed ecosystems across different climatic regions. We will particularly focus on the distribution, structure and functioning of BSCs and related microbial communities from the organismic biology to ecosystem processes. We particularly encourage inter- and multidisciplinary research approaches linking e.g. molecular biology, organisms biology, ecophysiology, soil science and ecological research.
We welcome manuscripts on the following subjects:
(i) Biodiversity of biological soil crusts and associated microbial communities
(ii) Soil forming processes induced by BSC colonization
(iii) Development of ecophysiological processes and carbon and nutrient/element fluxes
(iv) Interplay between photoautotrophic and heterotrophic organisms in BSCs
(v) Feedbacks between BSCs and higher plants in disturbed systems
(iv) Implication of BSC recovery for ecosystem development
Keywords: Ecosystem development, Initial ecosystems, Cyanobacteria, Mosses, Lichens
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