Great Basin Naturalist


The soil algae in the Tintic Mountains, Juab County, Utah, was studied over a one-year period in 1982 and 1983. Fluorescence microscopy was used to measure algal density in samples directly from the field. A total of 30 algal taxa was observed, blue-green algae being most abundant both in terms of density and number of species. Algal density showed peaks in late fall and late spring. Minima were present in September 1982 and July 1983. Several weak correlations between algal density and climatic data existed. In general algae correlated positively with precipitation and negatively with temperature. A combination of low precipitation and hot temperatures was likely responsible for the low density observed in July. The Chrysophyta followed slightly different trends than the other algal groups, having minima in early October 1982 and late August 1983. Field observations indicated that the degree of algal crusting varied noticeably over a period of one year, with highest abundance of hummocking in spring. Heavy summer thunderstorms destroyed algal crusting during July and August of 1983, though absolute density of algae increased during this time in response to the extra moisture.