While many of us go into nature to see flashy, furry animals, it is often the smallest organisms out there that really make ecosystems work. This certainly is true in deserts, where the tiny components of biological soil crusts do most of the heavy lifting. They keep soils from eroding, thus preventing dust from degrading our snowpack and keeping sediment out of streams. In addition, these microorganisms keep soils fertile by contributing nutrients and carbon, which enhances plant growth and makes them more nutritious for animals. Join Dr. Jayne Belnap to learn the fascinating story of how such tiny things can be a central organizing force in 40% of the Earth’s land surface.
Ecosystems of the Colorado Plateau: What Does the Future Hold?
Jayne Belnap, Ph.D., United States Geological Survey
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