Biological Soil Crusts of Joshua Tree National Park

Course Number: BIOL X412.28


1 units

The course lecture introduces biological crusts; crust species diversity focusing on terrestrial cyanobacteria and green algae; introduces functional/morphological groups of crusts; and discusses their importance and contributions to desert ecosystems. In addition, methods of assessing biological soil crusts in the lab (basic microscopy) and field (including the stability test) are presented. Includes a field trip to the Wonderland of Rocks, where one learns to distinguish the main functional crust groups and to conduct the stability test.

Available Sections

Starting Mar 17


Starting Mar 17

Course Fees



Nicole Pietrasiak [ bio ]

close [x] Nicole Pietrasiak, Ph.D., has conducted extensive research on cryptobiotic crusts across the western U.S., and has made major contributions to the study of abundance, distribution, and diversity of cryptobiotic crusts at Joshua Tree National Park. Dr. Pietrasiak's research interests include soil science, botany, algal biodiversity, and desert ecology.


Sat, Sun 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Mar 17 - Mar 18, 2018

2 Meetings

Online Enrollment not available for this course. Please see section notes for instructions on how to enroll.


Joshua Tree National Park Association

[ map ]

Section Notes:

Students are to register through the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park. 760-367-5535, email or visit



No Textbook Required.


No Prerequisites for this course

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