Biological Soil Crusts in Citrus Groves
Biological soil crusts (BSCs), or microbial mats, have recently been identified in Southwest Florida groves, thanks to a local grove manager. In desert ecosystems where BSCs are commonly found, these microbial communities of cyanobacteria and fungi fix substantial amounts of nitrogen and stabilize the soil. The presence of BSCs in citrus groves may provide an additional source of carbon and nitrogen to the soil. The Strauss lab, in collaboration with others, is examining the nutrient cycling and composition of these BSCs to determine their impact on citrus groves.