Reference work entry
Communities, cyanobacteria, extremophiles, lithic habitats
Hypoliths are organisms or communities of organisms that live on the underside of rocks or at the rock–soil interface.
In hot and cold deserts, the underside of rocks can provide a refugium for microorganisms, both photosynthetic (cyanobacteria and algae) and non-photosynthetic (Cameron and Blank 1965; Schlesinger et al. 2003). The organisms are referred to as “hypoliths.” The community is termed “hypolithon” (following the terminology for endoliths by Golubic et al. 1981). The photosynthetic components of hypoliths include organisms adapted to extreme rock habitats including Chroococcidiopsis and Gloeocapsaspecies. Hypoliths often display well-defined “bands” of growth on the underside of rocks or in the case of thin rocks, complete colonization of their underside. As photosynthetic microorganisms provide a source of carbon for heterotrophic microorganisms, the hypolithic...
References and Further Reading
- Budel B, Wessels DCJ (1991) Rock inhabiting blue-green algae from hot arid regions. Archiv fur Hydrobiology 92:385–398Google Scholar
- Cameron RE, Blank GB (1965) Soil studies – microflora of desert regions VIII. Distribution and abundance of desert microflora. Space Programs Summary 4:193–202Google Scholar
- Cockell CS, Rettberg P, Horneck G, Scherer K, Stokes DM (2003) Measurements of microbial protection from ultraviolet radiation in polar terrestrial microhabitats. Polar Biol 26:62–69Google Scholar
- Golubic S, Friedmann I, Schneider J (1981) The lithobiontic ecological niche, with special reference to microorganisms. J Sed Petrol 51:0475–0478Google Scholar
- Smith MC, Bowman JP, Scott FJ, Line MA (2000) Sublithic bacteria associated with Antarctic quartz stones. Antarct Sci 12:177–184Google Scholar
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