Variations in cyanobacterial and algal communities and soil characteristics under biocrust development under similar environmental conditions
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Cyanobacterial and algal communities have a large effect on biocrust formation and development. Biocrust species and abundance vary spatially and temporally due to different environmental factors. The relationships among cyanobacterial and algal communities, and biocrust function have been studied extensively. Lacking, however, are studies of temporal changes in a similar landscape where environmental conditions are similar, but where biocrust formation is different.
Biocrusts of different ages were located in the Loess Plateau in an area that had experienced a landslide. We examined changes in cyanobacterial and algal communities, carbon, nutrients, and the composition of dissolved organic matter in the topsoil, and the relationships among the community and soil characteristics using redundancy analysis.
Phormidium tenue (Cyanophyta) dominated in all biocrusts, and co-dominated in a newly formed crust with Euglena sp. (Euglenophyta). Oscillatoria sp. (Cyanophyta) increased with biocrust age. Oscillatoria was positively correlated with carbon fixation and nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) accumulation in topsoils.
While incubation of Phormidium tenue and Euglena sp. is suggested for rapid biocrust formation at an early stage, increasing the abundance of Phormidium tenue and Oscillatoria sp. can promote carbon fixation and nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) accumulation, thereby accelerating biocrusts into a later stage.
KeywordsBiocrust Dissolved organic carbon EEM-PARAFAC Spectroscopic characteristics
Dissolved organic matter
Dissolved organic carbon
Parallel factor analysis
The authors acknowledge financial support from the scientific research and service platform fund of Henan Province (2016151), the funding from scientific and technological innovation team of water ecological security for Water Source Region of Mid-line of South-to-North Diversion Project of Henan Province, the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities (Northwest A&F University, Grant No. 2452015049; 2452015354) and the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC, Project No. 41601324). We would also like to express great appreciation to the anonymous reviewers and the editor for thoughtful and professional comments and suggestions.
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