Great Basin Naturalist


Effects of rangefire on soil algae in sagebrush steppe in the Lower Columbia Basin were studied. Dynamics of recovery of the soil algal community in the first two years following the fire were also documented. The study site was on the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve managed by Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory. Fire decreased the numbers of algae by more than an order of magnitude. Species composition in burned plots was similar to that in unburned plots, although some cyanophyte algae, particularly Nostoc commune, were decimated by the fire. Algal recovery took place in the winter months of the second year. Ninety taxa of algae were identified during the course of the study, over half of which were chlorophytes. Seasonal changes in the algal flora were also noted.