Great Basin Naturalist


Microbial spatial heterogeneity and bacterial composition of homogeneous surface soils showing evident microbiotic crust development located under Utah juniper canopies in Colorado National Monument were studied. Four distinct homogeneous sampling sites positioned along a 12-m transect were compared on the basis of bacterial density and taxa composition.

Bacterial densities showed a range differing by several orders of magnitude. In comparisons of adjacent soil samples or samples taken from two different sampling sites within close proximity, adjacent samples showed no more similarity to each other on the basis of bacterial density or taxa composition than did more widely separated samples. The bacterial composition of these soils included members of the genera Bacillus, Micrococcus, and Arthrobacter. Actinomycetes were also prevalent.