Faculty Advisor

Crusberg, Theodore C.


Biological soil crust is the main component in desert areas; constituted by a mixture of cyanobacteria, bacteria and lichens and is responsible for stabilizing and protecting the soil surface from erosive mechanisms. Three different kinds of cyanobacteria found in the desert southwest were plated (Nostoc, Scytonema and Microcoleus) and several emulations of the soil crusts were grown in a laboratory setting. The samples were analyzed using epifluorescence microscopy and out of the three cyanobacteria Scytonema was the one found on the surface of the crusts, and demonstrating that it was the most resistant to UV light.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2007


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology