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Biological Soil Crusts of JTNP*                  

(Biologyx412.28 1.0 unit)

Date/Time: Saturday, March 14, 9 am – 5 pm Sunday, March 15, 9 am - 4 pm
Meet at: Oasis Visitor Center
Fee: $110 JTNPA/PINE member, $120 non member
Credit Fee: $160 JTNPA/PINE member, $170 non member
Instructors: Nicole Pietrasiak Ph.D., Kerry Knudsen, curator of the Lichen Herbarium, UCR and Theresa Clark, M.S., Ph.D student, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 Hike Level: Easy to Moderate
The desert floor may look like dirt and sand but it is full of living small and microscopic organisms vital to the park’s ecosystem. Many of these organisms live in biological highly active soil crusts that cover the first inch of the desert soil surface. In this field class Nicole Pietrasiak and Kerry Knudsen will introduce crypto-biotic soil crusts with an emphasis on soil algae and lichens. Participants will study the secret life of these microscopic organisms as they demystify this thin layer of soil. Nicole and Kerry will discuss the components of crusts such as cyanobacteria (one of the oldest known life forms on earth), green algae, diatoms, bacteria, fungi, and lichens.  Theresa Clark will provide taxonomic and eco-physiological information on the common soil crust mosses of Joshua Tree National Park. The instructors will also discuss why these organisms are important to biodiversity and ecological function in arid lands. During the lab session, participants will see the biodiversity of the park’s crusts up close through two different types of microscopes. On the second day, the class will go into the field to identify and assess the condition of several types of algal and lichen soil crust communities found in JTNP..  Click here for a Lichen Flora Inventory of JTNP by Kerry Knudsen.
Please review this pdf package that contains pertinent information about your class, the Joshua Tree National Park, camping reservations and lodging in the area around the park:  enrollment attachments.

If you are a member of JTNPA/PINE you will get a $10 discount off every Desert Institute class. If you are not a member you can become one here.

Please take the time to review our General Class Information and Fitness Levels before registering.

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