NS  Vol.3 No.6 , June 2011
Indices to monitor biological soil crust growth rate - lab and field experiments
Abstract: The aim of this work was to identify test meth-ods for accelerating growth of biological soil crust (BSC). The BSC in the Yamin Plateau in the north-east of the Negev Desert is composed of cyanobacteria such as microcoleus spp. nostoc spp. and others. Cyanobacteria are well adapted to dry environments, owing to their ability to survive desiccation, high temperatures and solar radiation. Since the BSC is a live component in the ecosystem, it can repair itself in the event of failures such as environmental disturbances by living things. In the lab, we used five different treatments and mediums: natural BSC, pure sand as reference, pure sand with spores and propagules, pure sand with whey, and pure sand with spores and propa-gules and whey. The spores were collected from specified collecting areas in the field. Each Petri dish was irrigated daily with 10 mL of double- distilled water. The testing period ran for 4.5 months with 10 samples taken from each treatment at 1.5 month intervals. The analyses criteria were: NDVI for chlorophyll content by remote sensing techniques, polysaccharide content, infiltration rate through the crust, pro-tein and organic content. The results showed that NDVI, polysaccharides and infiltration rates are good indicators for showing growth accel-eration of the crust; while protein and organic content were found to be less indicative. The treatments using whey for preliminary crust failed in the lab since cracks were observed, but succeeded in the field experiments. In the field, we measured only the chlorophyll content with a time interval of 20 months. The methodology of how to accelerate the growth of BSC was found to be effective.
Cite this paper: Dody, A. , Hakmon, R. , Asaf, B. and Zaady, E. (2011) Indices to monitor biological soil crust growth rate - lab and field experiments. Natural Science, 3, 478-483. doi: 10.4236/ns.2011.36066.

[1]   IAEA. (1999) Near Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste. SR, No. WS-R-1, 29 p.

[2]   West, N. E. (1990) Structure and function of microphytic soil crusts in wildland ecosystems of arid to semi-arid regions. Advances in Ecological Research, 20, 179-223. doi:10.1016/S0065-2504(08)60055-0

[3]   Johansen, J. R. (1993) Minireview: Cryptogamic crusts of semiarid and arid lands of North America. Journal of Phycology, 29,140-147. doi:10.1111/j.0022-3646.1993.00140.x

[4]   Belnap, J. and Lange, O.L. (2001) Biological soil crusts: structure, function, and management. Ecological Studies. Springer-Verlage, Berlin, 503.

[5]   Zaady, E., Gutterman, Y. and Boeken, B. (1997) The germination effects of cyanobacterial soil crust on mucilaginous seeds of three desert plants: Plantago coronopus, Reboudia pinnata and Carrichtera annua. Plant and Soil, 190, 247-252. doi:10.1023/A:1004269031844

[6]   Zaady, E., Karnieli, A., Shachak, M. (2007) Applying a field spectroscopy technique for assessing successional trends of biological soil crusts in a semi-arid environment. Journal of Arid Environments, 70, 463-477. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2007.01.004

[7]   Eldridge D.J. and Leys, J.F. (2003) Exploring some relationships between biological soil crusts, soil aggregation and wind erosion. Journal of Arid Environments, 53, 457-466. doi:10.1006/jare.2002.1068

[8]   Hua, C., Liua, Y., Paulsenb, B.S., Petersenc, D. and Klavenessd, D. (2003) Extracellular carbohydrate polymers from five desert soil algae with different cohesion in the stabilization of fine sand grain. Carbohydrate Polymers, 54, 33-42. doi:10.1016/S0144-8617(03)00135-8

[9]   De-Philipis, R., Margheri, M. C., Pelosi, E. and Ventura, S. (1993) Exopolysacchride production by a unicellular cyanobacterium isolated from a hypersaline habitat. Journal of Applied Phycology, 5, 387-394. doi:10.1007/BF02182731

[10]   Belnap, J. and Gillette D.A. (1998) Vulnerability of desert biological soil crusts to wind erosion: the influences of crust development, soil texture, and disturbance. Journal of Arid Environments, 39, 133-142. doi:10.1006/jare.1998.0388

[11]   Belnap, J., Phillips, S.L., Witwickia, D.L. and Miller, M.E. (2004) Visually assessing the level of development and soil surface stability of cyanobacterially dominated biological soil crusts. Journal of Arid Environments, 72, 1257-1264. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2008.02.019

[12]   Yair, A. (1990) Runoff generation in a sandy area-the Nizzana sands, Western Negev, Israel Earth Surface Proceedings, 15, 597-609.

[13]   Verrecchia E, Yair A., Kidron G.J. and Verrecchia K. (1995) Physical properties of the psammophile cryptogamic crust and their consequences to the water regime of sandy soils, north-western Negev Desert, Israel. Journal of Arid Environments, 29,427-437. doi:10.1016/S0140-1963(95)80015-8

[14]   Shachak, M., Sachs, M. and Moshe, I. (1998) Ecosystem management of desertied shrublands in Israel Ecosystems, 1,475-483. doi:10.1007/s100219900043

[15]   Belnap J. (2006) The potential roles of biological soil crusts in dryland hydrologic cycles. Hydrology Processes, 20, 3159-3178. doi:10.1002/hyp.6325

[16]   Eldridge, D.J., Zaady, E, Shachak, M. (2002) Microphytic crusts, shrub patches and water harvesting in the Negev desert: The shikim system. Landscape Ecology, 17, 587-597. doi:10.1023/A:1021575503284

[17]   Eldridge, D.J., Zaady, E. and Shachak, M. (2000) Infiltration through three contrasting biological soil crusts in patterned landscapes in the Negev, Israel. Catena, 40, 323-336. doi:10.1016/S0341-8162(00)00082-5

[18]   Anderson, D. C., Harper, K. T. and Rushforth, S. R. (1982) Recovery of cryptogamic soil crusts from grazing on Utah winter ranges. Journal of Range Management, 35, 355-359. doi:10.2307/3898317

[19]   Dische, Z. (1962) General color reactions. Methods Carbohydrate Chemistry, 1, 477-479.

[20]   Lowry, O.H., Rosebrough, N.J., Farr, A.L. & Randall, R.J. (1951) Protein measurment with the folin-phenol reagent. Journal of Biology and Chemistry, 193, 265-275.

[21]   Lichtenthaler H. K. and Wellburn A. R. (1983) Determinations of total carotenoids and chlorophyll a and b of leaf extracts in different solvents. Biochemistry Society Tran- sactions, 603, 591-592.

[22]   Ben-Dor, E., Banin, A. (1989) Determination of organic matter content in arid-zone soils using a simple “loss-on- ignition” method. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 20, 1675-1696. doi:10.1080/00103628909368175

[23]   Bannari, A., Morin, D., Bonn, F. and Huete, A.R. (1995) A review of vegetation indices. Remote Sensing Review, 13, 95-120.

[24]   Rouse, J.W., Haas, R.H., Schell, J.A., Deering, D.W., & Harlan, J.C. (1974) Monitoring the Vernal Advancements and Retrogradation (Greenwave Effect) of Natural Vegetation. NASA/GSFC Final Report, NASA, Greenbelt.

[25]   Jelen, P. (1992) Whey: Composition, properties, processing and uses in encyclopedia of food science and technology. In: Hui, Y. H., Ed., Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2835-2845.

[26]   Sokal R.R. and Rohlf, F.J. (1995) Biometry (3rd Edition). Freeman, W. H. and Company, San Francisco.

[27]   Tucker, J.C. (1979) Red and photographic infrared linear combination for monitoring vegetation. Remote Sensing of Environment, 8, 127-150. doi:10.1016/0034-4257(79)90013-0

[28]   Sellers, P.J. (1985) Canopy reflectance, photosynthesis and transpiration. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 6, 1335-1372. doi:10.1080/01431168508948283

[29]   O’Neill, A.L. (1994) Reflectance spectra of microphytic soil crusts in semi-arid Australia. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 15, 675-681. doi:10.1080/01431169408954106

[30]   Karnieli, A. and Tsoar, H. (1995) Satellite spectral reflectance of biogenic crust developed on desert dune sand along the Israel-Egypt border. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 16, 369-374. doi:10.1080/01431169508954403

[31]   Karnieli, A., Shachak, M., Tsoar, H., Zaady, E., Kaufman, Y., Danin, A. and Porter, W. (1996) The effect of microphytes on the specteral reflectance of vegetation in semi- arid regions. Remote Sensing of Environment, 57, 88-96. doi:10.1016/0034-4257(95)00209-X

[32]   Karnieli, A., Kokaly, R., West, N.E. & Clark, R.N., (2001) Remote sensing of biological soil crusts. In: Belnap, J. and Lange, O.L. Eds., Biological Soil Crusts: Structure, Function and Management, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 431- 455.

[33]   Zaady, E., Levacov, R. And Shachak, M. (2004) Application of the herbicide, Simazine, and its effect on soil surface parameters and vegetation in a patchy desert landscape. Arid Land Research and Management, 18, 397- 410. doi:10.1080/15324980490497483