Biological Soil Crusts: An Organizing Principle in Drylands

  • Bettina Weber
  • Burkhard Büdel
  • Jayne Belnap

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 226)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Jayne Belnap, Bettina Weber, Burkhard Büdel
      Pages 3-13
  3. Morphology, Composition, and Distribution of Biological Soil Crusts at Different Scales

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 35-35
    2. Hugo Beraldi-Campesi, Gregory J. Retallack
      Pages 37-54
    3. Burkhard Büdel, Tamara Dulić, Tatyana Darienko, Nataliya Rybalka, Thomas Friedl
      Pages 55-80
    4. Stefanie Maier, Lucia Muggia, Cheryl R. Kuske, Martin Grube
      Pages 81-100
    5. Rodney D. Seppelt, Alison J. Downing, Kirsten K. Deane-Coe, Yuanming Zhang, Jing Zhang
      Pages 101-120
    6. Roger Rosentreter, David J. Eldridge, Martin Westberg, Laura Williams, Martin Grube
      Pages 121-138
    7. Brian J. Darby, Deborah A. Neher
      Pages 139-157
    8. Claudia Colesie, Vincent John Martin Noah Linus Felde, Burkhard Büdel
      Pages 159-172
    9. Matthew A. Bowker, Jayne Belnap, Burkhard Büdel, Christophe Sannier, Nicole Pietrasiak, David J. Eldridge et al.
      Pages 173-197
    10. Stephen B. Pointing
      Pages 199-213
    11. Bettina Weber, Joachim Hill
      Pages 215-234
  4. Functional Roles of Biological Soil Crusts

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 235-235
    2. Ferran Garcia-Pichel, Vincent John Martin Noah Linus Felde, Sylvie Laureen Drahorad, Bettina Weber
      Pages 237-255
    3. Nichole N. Barger, Bettina Weber, Ferran Garcia-Pichel, Eli Zaady, Jayne Belnap
      Pages 257-285
    4. Leopoldo G. Sancho, Jayne Belnap, Claudia Colesie, Jose Raggio, Bettina Weber
      Pages 287-304
    5. Jayne Belnap, Burkhard Büdel
      Pages 305-320
    6. Sonia Chamizo, Jayne Belnap, David J. Eldridge, Yolanda Cantón, Oumarou Malam Issa
      Pages 321-346
  5. Interactions Between Biological Soil Crusts and Vascular Plants

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 383-383
    2. Yuanming Zhang, Asa L. Aradottir, Marcelo Serpe, Bertrand Boeken
      Pages 385-406
    3. Fernando T. Maestre, Matthew A. Bowker, David J. Eldridge, Jordi Cortina, Roberto Lázaro, Antonio Gallardo et al.
      Pages 407-425
  6. Threats to Biological Soil Crusts

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 427-427
    2. Eli Zaady, David J. Eldridge, Matthew A. Bowker
      Pages 429-449
    3. Sasha C. Reed, Fernando T. Maestre, Raúl Ochoa-Hueso, Cheryl R. Kuske, Anthony Darrouzet-Nardi, Mel Oliver et al.
      Pages 451-476
  7. Natural and Enhanced Recovery and Management

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 477-477
    2. Bettina Weber, Matt Bowker, Yuanming Zhang, Jayne Belnap
      Pages 479-498
    3. Yunge Zhao, Matthew A. Bowker, Yuanming Zhang, Eli Zaady
      Pages 499-523
  8. Future Research on Biological Soil Crusts

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 525-525
    2. Bettina Weber, Jayne Belnap, Burkhard Büdel
      Pages 527-534
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 535-549

About this book


This volume summarizes our current understanding of biological soil crusts (biocrusts), which are omnipresent in dryland regions. Since they cover the soil surface, they influence, or even control, all surface exchange processes. Being one of the oldest terrestrial communities, biocrusts comprise a high diversity of cyanobacteria, algae, lichens and bryophytes together with uncounted bacteria, and fungi. The authors show that biocrusts are an integral part of dryland ecosystems, stabilizing soils, influencing plant germination and growth, and playing a key role in carbon, nitrogen and water cycling. Initial attempts have been made to use biocrusts as models in ecological theory. On the other hand, biocrusts are endangered by local disruptions and global change, highlighting the need for enhanced recovery methods. This book offers a comprehensive overview of the fascinating field of biocrust research, making it indispensable not only for scientists in this area, but also for land managers, policy makers, and anyone interested in the environment.


Algae Arid areas Erosion Land use Lichens Mosses

Editors and affiliations

  • Bettina Weber
    • 1
  • Burkhard Büdel
    • 2
  • Jayne Belnap
    • 3
  1. 1.Multiphase Chemistry DepartmentMax Plank Institute for ChemistryMainzGermany
  2. 2.Plant Ecology and Systematics, Department of BiologyUniversity of KaiserslauternKaiserslauternGermany
  3. 3.Southwest Biological Science CenterU.S. Geological SurveyMoabUSA

Bibliographic information