The Biology of Arid Soils

Blaire Steven
Published in: Bibliographic information published
Release Year: 2017
ISBN: 978-3-11-041904-7
Pages: 197
Edition: 1st
File Size: 5 MB
File Type: pdf
Language: English

Description of Engineering Principles in Biotechnology

When Dr. Dirk Wagner asked me to edit an edition in the series “Life in Extreme Environments” on the topic of arid soils, I was a little surprised. Other books in the series discussed life in the deep ocean, caves, and Earth’s thermal vents. Studies where scientists require large field campaigns, submersible vehicles, and potential personal risk to collect samples. In contrast, many people could collect a sample of arid soil in a brisk walk from wherever they may be reading this. In this regard, arid soils did not seem to be such an “extreme” of an environment. Yet, arid soils are united by a common characteristic, namely water scarcity, which limits the diversity and productivity of these systems. Furthermore, arid ecosystems also occur in both the hottest and coldest regions of the planet and therefore may experience a multitude of other severe environmental conditions. So, in many respects arid soils may be as harsh of an environment as more treacherous locals.
Soil has been described as one of nature’s most complex ecosystems. Thus, any scientist that takes on the study of soil biology faces a daunting task. By the virtue of arid soil organisms existing at the low water availability to support life, these communities tend to be simplified compared to more temperate soils. The collection of papers in this volume highlight the work of researchers that are employing arid soils to understand the limits of life under low water availability, the functioning of soil ecosystems, and predicting how these systems will respond to an altered climate. In putting together this volume I called in favors from collaborators, met new colleagues, and learned more about arid soils than I knew before. 
I was also able to include photographs taken by my father on his various travels. He has always been a hobbyist, but can know say he is a published photographer. Congratulations dad. The list of contributing authors to this volume highlights the international scope of arid land research and the broad disciplines involved. Like any good work of science I hope this work raises as may questions for future research as it answers for those with the curiosity to read it.
Similar Books