Gypsum in the world
Gypsum outcrops extend over 100 million ha throughout the globe, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas. Together with the arid conditions, gypsum soils show a suite of physical and chemical characteristics that render them particularly restrictive for plant life. Surprisingly, in spite of their limiting nature, they host a highly diversified and specialized flora that constitutes a global conservation priority. Despite their relevance, and difference to other “special” substrates like saline or serpentine soils, gypsum soils have received little attention in the past, and the mechanisms displayed by organisms to live on them remain largely unknown.