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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #309769

Title: Microbiology of Wind-eroded Sediments: Current Knowledge and Future Research Directions

item Acosta-Martinez, Veronica
item Van Pelt, Robert - Scott
item MOORE-KUCERA, JENNIFER - Texas Tech University
item BADDOCK, MATTHEW - Loughborough University
item Zobeck, Teddy

Submitted to: Aeolian Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/3/2015
Publication Date: 9/1/2015
Citation: Acosta Martinez, V., Van Pelt, R.S., Moore-Kucera, J., Baddock, M., Zobeck, T.M. 2015. Microbiology of Wind-eroded Sediments: Current Knowledge and Future Research Directions. Aeolian Research. 18:99-113.

Interpretive Summary: Wind erosion is a threat to sustainability and soil productivity by producing tons of soil loss and redistribution globally each year. Microorganisms carried in dust affects local, regional, and global processes due to the potential redistribution of beneficial microorganisms essential in soil functions. Although there is more information on the microorganisms traveling across continents, there is no comprehensive review of the information available on the microbial communities traveling in dust within smaller scales including across regions within a continent and/or away from agricultural fields. There has also been a lack of consensus on the techniques used to characterize the microbial communities traveling in dust, with little knowledge about the factors that influence these communities. Here we provide an overview of methods that can be used to better understand the microbial characteristics of wind eroded sediments and discuss studies on the microbiology of dust focused on local fields, across regions and across continents. The review will also provide our perspective of potential future research avenues with a focus on knowledge available for agroecosystems and the inclusion of the fungal component.

Technical Abstract: Wind erosion is a threat to the sustainability and productivity of soils that takes place at local, regional, and global scales. Current estimates of cost of wind erosion have not included the costs associated with the loss of soil biodiversity and reduced ecosystem functions. Microorganisms carried in dust are responsible for numerous critical ecosystem processes including biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, carbon storage, soil aggregation and transformation of toxic compounds in the source soil. Currently, much of the information on microbial transport in dust has been collected at continental scales, with no comprehensive review regarding the microbial communities, particularly those associated with agricultural systems, redistributed by wind erosion processes at smalles scales including regional or field scales. Agricultural systems can contribute significantly to atmospheric dust loading and loss or redistribution of soil microorganisms are impacted in three interactive ways: 1) differential loss of certain microbial taxa depending on particle size and wind conditions, 2) through the destabilization of soil aggregates and reduction of available surfaces, and 3) through the reduction of organic matter and substrates for the remaining community. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of dust sampling technologies, methods for microbial extraction from dust, and how abiotic, environmental, and management factors influence the dust microbiome within and among agroecosystems. The review also offers a perspective on important potential future research avenues with a focus on agroecosystems and the inclusion of the fungal component.