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Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
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  • Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
  • 333 Broadway SE. Suite 115
  • Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497
  • 505-724-3660
  • 505-724-3688 (fax)
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Biodiversity of the Terrestrial Cyanobacteria of the Atacama Desert, Chile

Project Title

Biodiversity of the Terrestrial Cyanobacteria of the Atacama Desert, Chile

Abstract

The primary objective of the project is to discover, describe and inventory the terrestrial cyanobacteria of the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Atacama is the driest desert in the world, receiving as little as 0.6 mm of precipitation annually, and represents one of the harshest environments on the planet. As part of the study we will determine the distribution of the various species present on gradients of moisture and soil physico-chemical parameters. We expect to find and describe species new to science. A secondary objective is to advance the field of microbial taxonomy and systematics by demonstrating the utility of modern species concepts (e.g. phylogenetic species concept) in cyanobaceria.

Approximately 16, west-to-east transects will be established at 100 km intervals from the north to the south. Soil samples will be collected along each transect at approximately 20 km intervals from the coast to the foothills of the Andes mountains. The soil samples will be taken to the laboratory where the cyanobacteria will be isolated and identified. New taxa will be described when they meet the criteria of the phylogenetic species concept.

GSD Principal Investigators

Warren, Steven D    Disturbance Ecologist    801-356-5128

Cooperators and Sponsors

Jeff Johansen, John Carroll University

National Science Foundation