Cryptobiotic Soil

Cryptobiotic Soil

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Credit: Phil Degginger/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cryptobiotic Soil, Canyonlands, Utah. Biological soil crusts are important components of desert ecosystems. They are a mix of organisms and their metabolic by-products, including cyanobacteria, bacteria, liverworts, green and brown algaes, lichens and fungi. They help plants by stabilizing sand and dirt, preventing erosion, retaining water, and fixing atmospheric nitrogen.

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Keywords: algae, american southwest, arid, bacteria, biological, biology, biome, canyonlands, crust, cryptobiotic, cryptogamic, cyanobacteria, desert, ecological, ecology, ecosystem, green algae, lichen, liverworts, microfungi, microphytic, moss, mosses, nature, soil, soil community, soil lichens, surface, utah

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