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Biological factors impacting hydrological processes: Pecularities of plants and biological soil crusts

Biological factors impacting hydrological processes: Pecularities of plants and biological soil... J. Hydrol. Hydromech., 69, 2021, 4, 357–359 ©2021. This is an open access article distributed DOI: 10.2478/johh-2021-0031 under the Creative Commons Attribution ISSN 1338-4333 NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License Biological factors impacting hydrological processes: Pecularities of plants and biological soil crusts 1 2 3 Giora J. Kidron , Maik Veste , Ľubomír Lichner Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram Campus, 91904 Jerusalem, Israel. E-mail: kidron@mail.huji.ac.il Institute of Environmental Sciences, Soil Protection and Recultivation, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Konrad-Wachsmann-Allee 6, 03046 Cottbus, Germany. E-mail: maik.veste@b-tu.de Institute of Hydrology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, 84104 Bratislava, Slovakia. E-mail: lichner@uh.savba.sk The effects of biological factors on the water cycle and sub- cycle following climate change (Vereecken et al., 2016), the sequently on hydrological processes have wide and profound effects of biocrusts on the hydrological processes are not in consequences on ecosystem structure, function and manage- consensus, triggering ongoing discussions. The small-size ment. A profound understanding of their effects is of prime organisms that constitute the crusts along with the close cell- importance especially in light of climate change projection. soil association exert extra difficulties in clearly pinpointing at Whether regarding water infiltration or release (via evapo- the exact hydrological mechanism. Not only that disagreement transpiration), the water cycle is central for the assessment of exists regarding some of the mechanisms, but even regarding ecosystem services provided by soil (Vereecken et al., 2016). the values involved, with reported differences of up to two With soil being a home to about 25% of all living species on orders of magnitude also from the very same research site, as is Earth (Turbé et al., 2010), the interrelationship soil-biota has the case with dew. large consequences, beyond the obvious effects on the hydrolo- Among the controversial issues are the use of dew as a pos- gy, pedology or ecology. Geologists for instance believe that sible water source for biocrusts and the effects of biocrusts on the biota is involved in the formation of 2/3 of about 4300 infiltration, runoff and evaporation. As far as dew is concerned, known minerals (Hazen et al., 2008). The biota, especially the reported values that presumably are available for biocrusts plants and microorganisms, plays a central role in geomorpho- are of a wide range, even for the same research site, such as for logical processes, a field currently termed biogeomorphology the Hallamish dunefield in the Negev (Littmann and Veste, (Corenblit et al., 2011). Among the microorganisms and small 2008). While one group of researchers reported daily values of organisms that may fundamentally affect the water dynamics up to 0.5 mm (Heusinkveld et al., 2006), another group reported are biological soil crusts, also known as biocrusts, which are maximum daily values of 0.1–0.3 mm (Veste et al., 2008), composed of variable proportions of autotrophs (cyanobacteria, while a third group reported substantially lower values with an green algae, lichens, mosses, liverworts) accompanied by average value of only 0.034 mm (Kidron et al., 2002). As far as heterotrophs such as fungi, bacteria and archaea (Belnap and evaporation is concerned, while some researchers maintain that Lange, 2003). biocrusts impede evaporation, therefore playing a positive role As far as plants are concerned, water consumption facilitates upon plant growth (Eldridge et al., 2020), other maintain the photosynthesis and growth, as well as evapotranspiration, along opposite, i.e., an increase in evaporation and subsequently a with numerous biochemical reactions. Water provides the nec- decrease in soil moisture, resulting in a negative effect of bi- essary turgor and facilitates the mechanism whereby leaf cool- ocrusts on the soil water regime and hence on plant growth and ing takes place (Ehlers and Goss, 2003). Plants may have also fecundity (Kidron, 2019). indirect effects. Thus, by water (whether rain or dew and fog) While research on species-specific effects of biocrusts is still interception (Miralles et al., 2010; Simonin et al., 2009), or in its infancy, efforts are made to characterize the variable their impact on infiltration, whether by increasing infiltration effects of the different crust types, mainly cyanobacterial, li- (Lange et al., 2009) or partially hindering it through water repel- chen- and moss-dominated crusts, which, may be considered as lency (WR) (Doerr et al., 2000; Lichner et al., 2010). Plants may keystone groups for the biocrust microcosm. Similarly to the affect runoff, thus hindering runoff generation and flow (Cerdà, main species of vascular plants that disproportionally to their 1997). They may also affect the water cycle by impacting the distribution primarily control the structure and function of the microclimate (e.g. Gillner et al., 2015; Kidron, 2009). ecosystem, these keystone groups may largely determine nu- As far as the microorganisms are concerned, they may in- merous processes of the biocrust microcosm and among them crease surface temperatures (Harper and Marble, 1988), the hydrological processes. water-holding capacity (Chenu, 1993), aggregation and subse- During the current special issue, papers devoted to elucidate quently infiltration (Or et al., 2007), but also hinder infiltration the impact of biological factors on the hydrological processes due to WR (Lichner et al., 2013) or pore clogging (Kidron et are presented. The papers include the effects of humans al., 1999). As for plants, while most processes are in consensus (1 paper), plants (3 papers) and biocrusts (6 papers). As for the and the research nowadays mainly focuses on the study of effect of humans, Balashov et al. (2021) checked the possible species-specific process-dependent rates (Callaway, 1998; effect of adding two types of biochars to soil on the soil mois- Klanderud, 2008), the possible effects of climate change (Root ture and N O emission of two soil types, reporting differences et al., 2003), and the development of models aiming to increase in accordance with the biochar type and quantity and in accord- our understanding in future anticipation of the hydrological ance with soil type. 357 Giora J. Kidron, Maik Veste, Ľubomír Lichner As for the effect of plants, Zabret and Šraj (2021) and Jančo regions. While WR was found to play an important role in et al. (2021) examined the effect of trees on rainfall intercep- temperate humid regions, the author claims that no conclusive tion. Examining birch and pine trees in Slovenia, Jančo et al. data were yet reported on the involvement of WR in runoff in (2021) found that rain duration and intensity largely control the arid and semiarid regions. Other wide-spread views that ex- interception, as well as the phenoseason, i.e., whether or not plained runoff over biocrusts such as structure, texture, surface leaves are present on the tree canopy. Examining spruce trees in roughness are also challenged, claiming that they cannot ex- Slovakia, Jančo et al. (2021) measured the magnitude of the plain runoff initiation which succeeds surface saturation, and is rain interception in relation to the crown architecture, i.e., the responsible in turn to infiltration-excess overland flow (also central crown zone near the stem, the crown periphery and the known as Hortonian overland flow, HOF). Extracellular poly- canopy gap. Leelamanie et al. (2021) examined the hydropho- meric substances (EPS) are suggested to play a major role in bic effect of three types of trees (Eucalyptus, Pine, Casuarina) partial surface clogging and subsequently in runoff initiation - a planted in Sri Lanka. All granted high hydrophobicity to the prerequisite factor for HOF. soils, especially during the summer. All the above-mentioned The combined efforts by ecologists and hydrologists, as papers have important consequences on infiltration and runoff. manifested in this thematic issue, may help to increase our Most of the special issue is devoted to research on biocrusts. understanding regarding the interrelations between plants, While Muselli and Beysens (2021) focused on the occurrence biocrusts and hydrological processes. Obviously, as also mani- of dew, all other five papers dealt with the effects of biocrusts fested during this special volume, there are still issues in on surface hydrology. Using meteorological parameters, dispute and not in consensus. Bringing them to the forefront is a Muselli and Beysens (2021) used an energy balance model prerequisite step which may trigger additional research focus- developed by Beysens (2016) aiming to calculate dew yield. ing on 'open' non-consensus issues, and may thus advance our The authors used data gathered from 18 meteorological stations understanding in ecosystem structure, function and manage- scattered throughout southern Africa to construct a map with ment. dew distribution. By comparing the calculated dew data to rain precipitation, the authors proposed that dew yield may compen- REFERENCES sate for the decline in rain precipitation during the last decade (2010–2020), and may therefore explain the fact that no Balashov, E., Buchkina, N.P., Šimanský, V., Horák, J., 2021. decrease in biocrust cover was reported following the decrease Effects of slow and fast pyrolysis biochar on N O emissions in rain precipitation. and water availability of two soils with high water-filled Under greenhouse conditions, Thielen et al. (2021) investi- pore space. J. Hydrol. Hydromech., 69, 4, 467–474. gated the effect of 5 species of mosses taken from forests of Belnap, J., Lange, O.L. (Eds.), 2003. Biological Soil Crusts: central Europe on the maximum water storage and evaporation. Structure, Function, and Management. Revised 2nd Printing. Moss structure was found to affect water storage and all mosses Springer Publisher, Berlin. were found to retard evaporation. Factors that may affect infil- Beysens, D., 2016. Estimating dew yield worldwide from a few tration and runoff were studied by Drahorad et al. (2021) and meteo data. Atmos. Res., 167, 146–155. Guan and Liu (2021). Drahorad et al. (2021) investigated pos- Callaway, R.M., 1998. Are positive interactions species- sible factors that may determine WR. The authors compared specific? Oikos, 82, 202–207. biocrusts from a temperate region in Slovakia and an arid re- Cerdà, A., 1997. The effect of patchy distribution of Stipa gion in the Negev. With mosses exhibiting higher WR than tenacissima L. on runoff and erosion. J. Arid Environ., 36, cyanobacterial crusts and the dunes in Slovakia exhibiting 37–51. higher WR than that of the Negev, the authors conclude that Chenu, C., 1993. Clay- or sand- polysaccharide associations as WR is triggered by organic matter while diminishing by the models for the interface between micro-organisms and soil: higher amounts of calcium carbonate, dust, and subsequently water related properties and microstructure. Geoderma, 56, higher pH of the Negev dunes. Moss-dominated biocrusts not 143–156. only increase WR as found by these authors, but also increase Corenblit, D., Baas, A.C.W., Bornette, G., Darrozes, J., water-holding capacity and subsequently decrease infiltration, Delmotte, S., Francis, R.A., Gurnell, A.M., Julien, F., as found by Guan and Liu (2021) in the Mu Us Desert in China. Naiman, R.J., Streiger, J., 2011. Feedbacks between By using disc infiltrometer, Guan and Liu conducted infiltration geomorphology and biota controlling Earth surface experiments evaluating the various hydrological parameters processes and landforms: A review of foundation concepts which were found to be substantially affected by crust devel- and current understanding. Earth-Sci. Rev., 106, 307–331. opment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.03.002 The effect of different crust types on the flow length of run- Doerr, S.H., Shakesby, R.A., Walsh, R.P.D., 2000. Soil water off was studied by Lázaro et al. (2021) in the Tabernas Desert repellency: its causes, characteristics and in Spain. Aiming to quantify the minimum runoff length hydrogeomorphological significance. Earth-Sci. Rev., 51, (mRL), i.e., the effective contributing area in which runoff 33–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0012-8252(00)00011-8 coefficient equals 1 of three crust types, cyanobacterial, early Drahorad, S.L., Felde, V.J.M.N.L., Ellerbrock, R.H., Henss, A., successional and late successional lichen crusts, the authors 2021. Water repellency decreases with increasing carbonate report on interesting results. Proposing that mRL may serve a content and pH for different biocrust types on sand dunes. J. proxy for RL, the authors found that while mRL was up to 3.3– Hydrol. Hydromech., 69, 4, 369–377. 4.0 m on a cyanobacterial biocrust, it was 2.2–7.5 m in the early Ehlers, W., Goss, M.J., 2003. Water Dynamics in Plant successional lichen crust and only 1.0–1.5 m on late succes- Production. CABI Publishing. Wallingford, UK. sional lichen crust, generally indicating a decrease in mRL with Eldridge, D.J., Reed, S., Travers, SK., Bowker, M.A., Maestre, an increase in crust biomass. F.T., Ding, J., Havrilla, C., Rodriguez-Caballero, E., Barger, Kidron (2021) presented a mini review that challenged some N., Weber, B., Antoninka, A., Belnap, J., Chaudhary, B., of the wide-spread views concerning the driving factors respon- Faist, A., Ferrenberg, S., Huber-Sannwald, E., Malam Issa, sible for runoff generation over biocrusts in arid and semiarid O., Zhao, Y., 2020. The pervasive and multifacetal influence 358 Biological factors impacting hydrological processes: Pecularities of plants and biological soil crusts of biocrusts on water in the world's drylands. Glob. Change Lichner, L., Hallett, P.D., Drongova, Z., Czachor, H., Kovacik, Biol., 26, 6003–6014. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15232 L., Mataix-Solera, J., Homolák, M., 2013. Algae influence Gillner, S., Vogt, J., Tharang, A., Dettmann, S., Roloff, A., 2015. the hydrophysical parameters of a sand soil. 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Significance of Pachepsky, Y., Padarian, J., Romano, N., Roth, K., Rothfuss, tree roots for preferential infiltration in stagnic soils. Hydrol. Y., Rowe, E.C., Schwen, A., Ŝimůnek, J., Tiktak, A., Van Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 1809–1821. Dam, J., van der Zee, S.E.A.T.M., Vogel, H.J., Vrugt, J.A., Lázaro, R., Calvo-Cases, A., Arnau-Rosalén, E., Rubio, C., Wöhling, T., Young, I.M., 2016. Modeling soil processes: Fuentes, D., López-Canfín, C., 2021. Defining minimum Review, key challenges, and new perspectives. Vadose Zone runoff length allows for discriminating biocrusts and rainfall J., 15, 1–57. https://doi.org/10.2136/vzj2015.09.0131 events. J. Hydrol. Hydromech., 69, 4, 387–399. Veste, M., Heusinkveld, B.G., Berkowicz, S.M., Breckle, S.- Leelamanie, D.A.L., Piyaruwan, H.I.G.S., Jayasinghe, W., Littmann, T., Jacobs, A.F.G., 2008. Dew formation and P.K.S.C., Senevirathne, P.A.N.R., 2021. Hydrophysical activity of biological soil crusts. In: Breckle, S.-W., Yair, characteristics in water-repellent tropical Eucalyptus, Pine, A., Veste, M. (Eds.). Arid Dune Ecosystems: The Nizzana and Casuarina plantation forest soils. J. Hydrol. Sands in The Negev Desert. Ecological Studies 200. Hydromech., 69, 4, 447–455. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany, pp. 305–318. Lichner, L., Hallett, P.D., Orfánus, T., Czachor, H., Rajkai, K., https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-75498-5_21 Šir, M., Tesař, M., 2010. Vegetation impact on the Zabret, K., Šraj, M., 2021. Relation of influencing variables and hydrology of an aeolian sandy soil in a continental climate. weather conditions on the rainfall partitioning by birch and Ecohydrology, 3, 413–420. https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.153 pine trees. J. Hydrol. Hydromech., 69, 4, 456–466. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics de Gruyter

Biological factors impacting hydrological processes: Pecularities of plants and biological soil crusts

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J. Hydrol. Hydromech., 69, 2021, 4, 357–359 ©2021. This is an open access article distributed DOI: 10.2478/johh-2021-0031 under the Creative Commons Attribution ISSN 1338-4333 NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License Biological factors impacting hydrological processes: Pecularities of plants and biological soil crusts 1 2 3 Giora J. Kidron , Maik Veste , Ľubomír Lichner Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram Campus, 91904 Jerusalem, Israel. E-mail: kidron@mail.huji.ac.il Institute of Environmental Sciences, Soil Protection and Recultivation, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Konrad-Wachsmann-Allee 6, 03046 Cottbus, Germany. E-mail: maik.veste@b-tu.de Institute of Hydrology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, 84104 Bratislava, Slovakia. E-mail: lichner@uh.savba.sk The effects of biological factors on the water cycle and sub- cycle following climate change (Vereecken et al., 2016), the sequently on hydrological processes have wide and profound effects of biocrusts on the hydrological processes are not in consequences on ecosystem structure, function and manage- consensus, triggering ongoing discussions. The small-size ment. A profound understanding of their effects is of prime organisms that constitute the crusts along with the close cell- importance especially in light of climate change projection. soil association exert extra difficulties in clearly pinpointing at Whether regarding water infiltration or release (via evapo- the exact hydrological mechanism. Not only that disagreement transpiration), the water cycle is central for the assessment of exists regarding some of the mechanisms, but even regarding ecosystem services provided by soil (Vereecken et al., 2016). the values involved, with reported differences of up to two With soil being a home to about 25% of all living species on orders of magnitude also from the very same research site, as is Earth (Turbé et al., 2010), the interrelationship soil-biota has the case with dew. large consequences, beyond the obvious effects on the hydrolo- Among the controversial issues are the use of dew as a pos- gy, pedology or ecology. Geologists for instance believe that sible water source for biocrusts and the effects of biocrusts on the biota is involved in the formation of 2/3 of about 4300 infiltration, runoff and evaporation. As far as dew is concerned, known minerals (Hazen et al., 2008). The biota, especially the reported values that presumably are available for biocrusts plants and microorganisms, plays a central role in geomorpho- are of a wide range, even for the same research site, such as for logical processes, a field currently termed biogeomorphology the Hallamish dunefield in the Negev (Littmann and Veste, (Corenblit et al., 2011). Among the microorganisms and small 2008). While one group of researchers reported daily values of organisms that may fundamentally affect the water dynamics up to 0.5 mm (Heusinkveld et al., 2006), another group reported are biological soil crusts, also known as biocrusts, which are maximum daily values of 0.1–0.3 mm (Veste et al., 2008), composed of variable proportions of autotrophs (cyanobacteria, while a third group reported substantially lower values with an green algae, lichens, mosses, liverworts) accompanied by average value of only 0.034 mm (Kidron et al., 2002). As far as heterotrophs such as fungi, bacteria and archaea (Belnap and evaporation is concerned, while some researchers maintain that Lange, 2003). biocrusts impede evaporation, therefore playing a positive role As far as plants are concerned, water consumption facilitates upon plant growth (Eldridge et al., 2020), other maintain the photosynthesis and growth, as well as evapotranspiration, along opposite, i.e., an increase in evaporation and subsequently a with numerous biochemical reactions. Water provides the nec- decrease in soil moisture, resulting in a negative effect of bi- essary turgor and facilitates the mechanism whereby leaf cool- ocrusts on the soil water regime and hence on plant growth and ing takes place (Ehlers and Goss, 2003). Plants may have also fecundity (Kidron, 2019). indirect effects. Thus, by water (whether rain or dew and fog) While research on species-specific effects of biocrusts is still interception (Miralles et al., 2010; Simonin et al., 2009), or in its infancy, efforts are made to characterize the variable their impact on infiltration, whether by increasing infiltration effects of the different crust types, mainly cyanobacterial, li- (Lange et al., 2009) or partially hindering it through water repel- chen- and moss-dominated crusts, which, may be considered as lency (WR) (Doerr et al., 2000; Lichner et al., 2010). Plants may keystone groups for the biocrust microcosm. Similarly to the affect runoff, thus hindering runoff generation and flow (Cerdà, main species of vascular plants that disproportionally to their 1997). They may also affect the water cycle by impacting the distribution primarily control the structure and function of the microclimate (e.g. Gillner et al., 2015; Kidron, 2009). ecosystem, these keystone groups may largely determine nu- As far as the microorganisms are concerned, they may in- merous processes of the biocrust microcosm and among them crease surface temperatures (Harper and Marble, 1988), the hydrological processes. water-holding capacity (Chenu, 1993), aggregation and subse- During the current special issue, papers devoted to elucidate quently infiltration (Or et al., 2007), but also hinder infiltration the impact of biological factors on the hydrological processes due to WR (Lichner et al., 2013) or pore clogging (Kidron et are presented. The papers include the effects of humans al., 1999). As for plants, while most processes are in consensus (1 paper), plants (3 papers) and biocrusts (6 papers). As for the and the research nowadays mainly focuses on the study of effect of humans, Balashov et al. (2021) checked the possible species-specific process-dependent rates (Callaway, 1998; effect of adding two types of biochars to soil on the soil mois- Klanderud, 2008), the possible effects of climate change (Root ture and N O emission of two soil types, reporting differences et al., 2003), and the development of models aiming to increase in accordance with the biochar type and quantity and in accord- our understanding in future anticipation of the hydrological ance with soil type. 357 Giora J. Kidron, Maik Veste, Ľubomír Lichner As for the effect of plants, Zabret and Šraj (2021) and Jančo regions. While WR was found to play an important role in et al. (2021) examined the effect of trees on rainfall intercep- temperate humid regions, the author claims that no conclusive tion. Examining birch and pine trees in Slovenia, Jančo et al. data were yet reported on the involvement of WR in runoff in (2021) found that rain duration and intensity largely control the arid and semiarid regions. Other wide-spread views that ex- interception, as well as the phenoseason, i.e., whether or not plained runoff over biocrusts such as structure, texture, surface leaves are present on the tree canopy. Examining spruce trees in roughness are also challenged, claiming that they cannot ex- Slovakia, Jančo et al. (2021) measured the magnitude of the plain runoff initiation which succeeds surface saturation, and is rain interception in relation to the crown architecture, i.e., the responsible in turn to infiltration-excess overland flow (also central crown zone near the stem, the crown periphery and the known as Hortonian overland flow, HOF). Extracellular poly- canopy gap. Leelamanie et al. (2021) examined the hydropho- meric substances (EPS) are suggested to play a major role in bic effect of three types of trees (Eucalyptus, Pine, Casuarina) partial surface clogging and subsequently in runoff initiation - a planted in Sri Lanka. All granted high hydrophobicity to the prerequisite factor for HOF. soils, especially during the summer. All the above-mentioned The combined efforts by ecologists and hydrologists, as papers have important consequences on infiltration and runoff. manifested in this thematic issue, may help to increase our Most of the special issue is devoted to research on biocrusts. understanding regarding the interrelations between plants, While Muselli and Beysens (2021) focused on the occurrence biocrusts and hydrological processes. Obviously, as also mani- of dew, all other five papers dealt with the effects of biocrusts fested during this special volume, there are still issues in on surface hydrology. Using meteorological parameters, dispute and not in consensus. Bringing them to the forefront is a Muselli and Beysens (2021) used an energy balance model prerequisite step which may trigger additional research focus- developed by Beysens (2016) aiming to calculate dew yield. ing on 'open' non-consensus issues, and may thus advance our The authors used data gathered from 18 meteorological stations understanding in ecosystem structure, function and manage- scattered throughout southern Africa to construct a map with ment. dew distribution. 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Journal

Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanicsde Gruyter

Published: Dec 1, 2021

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