Charismatic Microflora: The Ecology and Management of Biological Soil Crusts
February 20-23, 2020
Biocrust Workshop at the 15th Biennial Conference of Science & Management on the Colorado Plateau & Southwest Region
Northern Arizona University (NAU) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) 3D Mossers led a full day education & outreach workshop at the 15th Biennial Conference of Science & Management on the Colorado Plateau & Southwest Region at NAU.
Check out the photo album for a taste of workshop activities! Theresa Clark of Llo Stark’s lab at UNLV led a biocrust organism microscope session. Cristina Rengifo of Matt Bowker’s lab at NAU demonstrated seed retention by mossy crusts with a hair dryer. Anita Antoninka, also of NAU, highlighted a learning activity about climate change that she developed with a 6th grade teacher. And finally, Matt Bowker gave a Biocrust 101 lecture and a module titled ‘Holding the Place in Place’ where he demonstrated how to make a low tech experiment on the role of biocrusts in erosion resistance using a Herrick’s soil aggregate stability kit. Many workshop participants were from the Sonoran McDowell preserve, a city funded nature reserve near Phoenix and all participated enthusiastically and seemed to enjoy the workshop!
The Living Skin of the Earth at Expanding Your Horizons Youth STEM Conference
Jenna & fellow Mishler Lab grad student Ixchel Gonzalez led a workshop at the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) workshop. EYH is a STEM conference for middle-school girls in the Bay Area. They attend a full day conference complete with keynote speakers and hands-on science, technology, engineering, & mathematics workshops.
The workshop was called “The Living Skin of the Earth.” In it the girls learned about the importance of biocrust communities, learned to recognize major organisms in them, and experimented to test the soil aggregate stability of different biocrust samples. They tested the hypothesis that increasing functional group diversity in biocrust communities results in increasing soil aggregate stability.
Biological Soil Crusts of Joshua Tree National Park, CA
March 17-18, 2018
- Participants studied the secret life of these microscopic organisms as they demystify this thin layer of soil.
- We dissected and observed biocrust mosses, lichens, and algae under the microscope and saw their beauty firsthand!
- Participants learned why these organisms are important to biodiversity and ecological function in arid lands!
No experience in biology was necessary!
Biocrust Ecology and Diversity Workshop, Argentina
August 23-25, 2017
A 3-day workshop was held at the CONICET-IANIGLA (Instituto Argentino de Nivología, Glaciología, y Ciencias Ambientales) research institute in Mendoza, Argentina. Between 10 and 20 participants (students and faculty) attended lectures, two field-forays, and microscope activities focused on learning the roles & basic identification for common genera and species of semi-arid biocrust mosses, lichens, green algae, cyanobacteria, and microarthropods.
Introduction to Bryophytes, Berkeley
March 4-5, 2017
PI Mishler (UCB) co-instructed a basic bryophyte biology and systematics workshop, emphasizing the biology of poikilohydry and desiccation tolerance for 20 participants. Powerpoints and handouts provided.
Biocrust Ecology in Joshua Tree National Park, CA
March 18-19, 2017
A fun-filled 2-day workshop on biocrust ecology and identification with lab and field sessions in the park for twelve participants ranging from ecology students to retired naturalists. A biocrust field guide (by Clark) and powerpoint (co-created by all instructors) were provided to participants.