Nat and Jason headed out to the Mojave National Preserve to meet up with Erik Hom and his StudyUSA class from Univ of Mississippi. We started at the Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center which is one of 39 Natural Reserves in the University of California. We were there to teach a bit about cryptogamic crusts, show the Kelso dunes off, and explore some more of the desert crust sampling sites that our collaborator Nicole Pietrasiak (@drylandalgae) and Paul De Ley have collected from. Nothing like seeing sites that previously I only knew from pictures or tubes of soil!
A few pictures from our visit.
Crusts symbioses of algae and cyanobacteria with fungi, bacteria, and many uncounted single celled organisms.
Colorful lichens found on the granite faces. On closer looks, these are often 3 or more species competing for space on the same surface.