Close-up of biocrust - lichen
Biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, are lichens, mosses, and cyanobacteria that grow on the soil surface and are common in the spaces between native plants in arid and semi-arid systems. Biocrusts reduce soil erosion, contribute to nutrient and water cycling, and reduce evaporation and invasion by exotic plants. The green-red plants with flower bud stalks are likely Collinsia parviflora, or Blue-eyed Mary. The whitish with black spot speckles are lichen.