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Barren deserts can host complex ecosystems in their soils

Phys.org/news (DECEMBER 22, 2014 )

Titre : Barren deserts can host complex ecosystems in their soils

Phys.org/news (DECEMBER 22, 2014 )

Présentation
"Biological soil crusts" don’t look like much. In fact, people often trample right over these dark, or green-tinted, sometimes raised patches in the desert soil. But these scruffy stretches can house delicate ecosystems as varied and complexly interwoven as that of a lush, tropical rainforest. Life forms including bacteria, algae, fungi and lichens, as well as plants such as mosses and liverworts, can band together to create biological soil crusts in dry, nutrient-starved environments. Scientists are just beginning to document the diversity of species that call biological soil crusts home

Although the Moab Desert is hot and dry, the biggest challenge for life in its biological soil crusts, as in other such places, is obtaining nutrients—food, essentially. The new studies reveal the array of adaptive tools the microbes possess for ensnaring scarce, vital nutrients and preventing them from leaching away into the environment.

Source  : Adam Hadhazy, Astrobio.net, Astrobio.net

Annonce (Phys.org/news)

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