Cryptobiotic Soil

Cryptobiotic Soil

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Credit: John R. Foster/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The clumpy, patchwork nature of this subalpine slope at 6,000 ft. elevation in Washington's Mt. Rainier National Park is due to cryptobiotic soil. These living soil crusts are communities of lichens, mosses, liverworts, fungi, and some species of algae. Though most commonly associated with desert regions, they are also found in subalpine terrain such as this slope in Washington's Mt. Rainier National Park. It is crucial to the ecology where its found but is extremely fragile.

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Keywords: algae, alpine, arid, biochemical cycling, biomass, bryophyte, carbon cycle, climate change, climate zone, climate zones, cryptobiotic soil, cryptobiotic soil crust, cryptobiotic soil crusts, cryptobiotic soils, cryptogamic soil, cryptogamic soil crust, cryptogamic soil crusts, cryptogamic soils, desert, deserts, ecological, ecology, erosion, erosion control, frost heaving, fungi, grazing, lichen, lichens, liverwort, liverworts, microfungi, microhabitat, microhabitats, microphytic, microphytic soil crusts, moss, mosses, mycrophytic soil crust, mycrophytic soils, nature, photosynthesis, plant communities, plant community, soil, soil albedo, soil stability, soils, subalpine

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