3D Moss project holds an extensive three-day biocrust public workshop in the Mojave Desert
The workshop, entitled “Charismatic Microflora: The Ecology and Management of Biological Soil Crusts,” was held February 20–23, 2020 at the Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx, California, in the Mojave National Preserve.
The workshop was led by crust experts Matt Bowker, Tom Carlberg, Kirsten Fisher, Brent Mishler, and Mandy Slate, and was funded by the NSF grant, with logistical coordination by the Jepson Herbarium (UC Berkeley). The workshop combined classroom lectures with hands-on activities at the microscope, and visits to the field. Basic questions addressed include: What is a biocrust? What are biocrusts composed of? How are biocrust organisms identified? Where are biocrusts found? How do the organisms in biocrusts manage to survive and reproduce in such a seemingly harsh environment? What role do biocrusts play in ecosystems? How can biocrusts be managed?
The diverse group of 32 participants included land managers, consultants, agency botanists, ecologists and amateur plant enthusiasts. Shared meals and evening discussions allowed a wide-ranging exchange of knowledge about both basic science and applications to conservation and restoration of soil biocrusts. Here are a few pictures of group activities and some of the many charismatic crust organisms seen.