Microbial colonization and controls in dryland systems

Nature Reviews Microbiology
By:  and 



Drylands constitute the most extensive terrestrial biome, covering more than one-third of the Earth's continental surface. In these environments, stress limits animal and plant life, so life forms that can survive desiccation and then resume growth following subsequent wetting assume the foremost role in ecosystem processes. In this Review, we describe how these organisms assemble in unique soil- and rock-surface communities to form a thin veneer of mostly microbial biomass across hot and cold deserts. These communities mediate inputs and outputs of gases, nutrients and water from desert surfaces, as well as regulating weathering, soil stability, and hydrological and nutrient cycles. The magnitude of regional and global desert-related environmental impacts is affected by these surface communities; here, we also discuss the challenges for incorporating the consideration of these communities and their effects into the management of dryland resources.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Microbial colonization and controls in dryland systems
Series title Nature Reviews Microbiology
DOI 10.1038/nrmicro2854
Volume 10
Issue 8
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Publisher location London, U.K.
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Nature Reviews Microbiology
First page 551
Last page 562
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