Ferran Garcia-Pichel, a member of the Global Dryland Center's executive committee board, is one of many researchers volunteering to study and resore biocrust in the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. This work was the focus of an article in the Arizona Republic, "How researchers hope to preserve and restore 'biocrust,' the desert's protective skin."
Biocrust stabilizes desert soil and protects it from erosion. "If there is no crust, nothing protects the soil. So with any amount of storm or wind, you'll get anything from sun devils to to big haboobs," Garcia-Pichel said in the article. Read more about biocrust and its importance in the Arizona Republic.