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Effects of biological soil crusts and drought on emergence and survival of a Patagonian perennial grass in the Monte of Argentina

Abstract

Biological soil crusts are widely distributed in arid and semiarid regions. They have an important ecological role, especially by modifying physical and chemical properties of soils. Biological crusts may also modify seed germination and seedling establishment. The effects vary widely according to the type of crust and the vascular plant species. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of moss-dominated biological soil crusts on the emergence, biomass and survival of Poa ligularis Nees ex Steud. under different irrigation regimes. We collected seeds of P. ligularis and biological soil crusts composed of two species of mosses: Syntrichia princeps (De Not.) Mitt and Ceratodon purpureus (Hedw.) Brid. from an area in the Monte of Argentina. The result showed that seedling emergence of P. ligularis was higher in treatments with bare soil than in soil covered by crusts, and also in those with watering to field capacity. Mean emergence time was higher in treatments with bare soil and watering to field capacity. Seedling biomass also showed significant differences between treatments. These results suggest that biological soil crusts dominated by mosses do not promote P. ligularis emergence, although they would not affect its survival.

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Correspondence to Alejandro Loydi.

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Funk, F.A., Loydi, A. & Peter, G. Effects of biological soil crusts and drought on emergence and survival of a Patagonian perennial grass in the Monte of Argentina. J. Arid Land 6, 735–741 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-014-0022-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-014-0022-8

Keywords

  • drought
  • field capacity
  • recruitment
  • microsites
  • mosses
  • semiarid region
  • Poa ligularis