Bacteria and Non-lichenized Fungi Within Biological Soil Crusts

  • Stefanie Maier
  • Lucia Muggia
  • Cheryl R. Kuske
  • Martin GrubeEmail author
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 226)


Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are found in a broad range of climatic zones as components of open vegetation. In addition to photosynthetically active and N-fixing Cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria and fungi are integral components of biocrusts. In this chapter, we present an overview of the diversity and interactions of fungi and bacteria. Both can occur “free-living” or in tight associations. Lichen symbioses, which frequently form a dominating aspect of biocrusts, tend to be a particular hotspot of complex bacterial and fungal interactions. Biocrust lichens can be colonized by other fungi or by other lichens, and they represent a particularly rich habitat for bacterial communities as shown by recent research results. Nevertheless, metabolic details and the regulatory principle of fungal and bacterial dynamics remain largely unclear and are in need of refined analysis. According to present data, biocrust bacteria and fungi seem to be widespread, diverse, and capable of withstanding the harsh and fluctuating conditions of biocrust habitats as long as stability of soil is warranted.


Bacterial Community Fungal Community Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Soil Crust Biological Soil Crust 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Maier
    • 1
  • Lucia Muggia
    • 2
  • Cheryl R. Kuske
    • 3
  • Martin Grube
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Plant SciencesUniversity of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Department of Life ScienceUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly
  3. 3.Bioscience DivisionLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA

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