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National Science Foundation (USA) 2016

Understanding the Environmental Stress Experienced by Desert Lichens

Desert Lichens


Titre : Understanding the Environmental Stress Experienced by Desert Lichens

Organismes NSF : Office Of Internatl Science &Engineering (OISE)

Durée : June 1, 2016 — May 31, 2017

Throughout the world, desert soils are overgrown by microorganisms that hold them in place, forming a biological soil crust. In China, rapid economic development and overgrazing have destroyed much of the crust, contributing to massive dust storms, poor air quality, and the expansion of deserts into previously arable land. They are trying to correct the damage, but the crusts grow slowly, and present many restoration problems. The United States is beginning to develop desert areas more extensively, especially with the rapid growth of the solar industry, and efforts are being made to prevent the issues experienced by China from occurring. While much of the current research focuses on trying varied approaches to see which will enhance success, this project will instead look at specific desert environmental factors to determine which present the greatest challenge to both preservation and restoration. This research will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Zhang Yuanming, a noted desert ecologist and director of the Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, at the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, located in Urumqi, China.
Three major environmental stresses experienced on the desert surface are ultraviolet radiation, oxidation, and desiccation. This project will attempt to determine the limits of adaptation of biological crusts to these extreme conditions. Common lichen species found in both the Mojave Desert in the Southwestern US and the Gurbantunggut Desert in Northwestern China will be exposed to high levels of these stresses, and then be rehydrated while the recovery of chlorophyll fluorescence is monitored. Varying levels of humidity and differing rehydration temperatures will also be tested to determine how these affect recovery.
This award under the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes program supports summer research by a U.S. graduate student and is jointly funded by NSF and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.

Partenaire (s) : Lynda Burns (Principal Investigator)

Financement : $5,400.00

Présentation (National Science Foundation)

Page publiée le 2 mars 2017, mise à jour le 13 octobre 2017