This research examines high-elevation biocrusts on volcanic tephra in Haleakalā Crater, Maui, Hawai′i; geomorphic, ecological, and pedological processes are discussed, in order to provide an integrated geoecological view of linkages that have influenced biocrust genesis. The study considers four spatial scales: (i) the landscape scale; (ii) the site scale; (iii) the miniature scale and, (iv) the microscopic scale.
Non-vascular plants such as mosses, lichens and especially microalgae are widespread in terrestrial ecosystems, but their contribution in the nutrient cycling and energy budget of soil food webs is generally neglected. Despite a relatively low total biomass, soil microalgae can be very productive and contribute to the diet of many soil decomposers such as Collembola. Using 15N/14N ratios we showed that phycophagy is of particular importance for Collembola in extreme habitats like rock surfaces, or seasonally during the wintertime.