Date of Award:

1975

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Biology

Advisor/Chair:

Donald B. Porcella

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Frederick J. Post

Abstract

Nitrogen fixation, as measured by the acetylene-ethylene assay, in the surface soils of southern Curlew Valley, Utah-Idaho was studied. The removal of nitrogen from the surface soil by precipitation runoff water was also studied, and the role of the soil-algae crust in preventing erosive loss of nitrogen was evaluated.

Nitrogen fixation during the study year was estimated to be less than 10 kg/ha. This level is probably sufficient to maintain steady-state on an annual basis in standing crop nitrogen in this environment.

Well structured, lichenous crusts had improved infiltration of precipitation and lowered erosive loss of nitrogen. Poorly structured and lichen free crusts were more susceptible to erosive nitrogen loss. Precipitation runoff water removal of nitrogen produced no measurable change in total nitrogen in any of the soils studied.

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