Bishop Pine Forest

Moisture inputs drive carbon dynamics in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. In the Mediterranean climate of California, moisture inputs are almost exclusively derived from wintertime rain. However, Santa Cruz Researchin some coastal California ecosystems, warm dry summers may be ameliorated to some extent by fog water inputs. We are working at 2 field sites located in Bishop Pine stands that have been shown to differ in the amount of fog water inputs (Fischer et al. 2007). Despite the often months-long enhancement of soil moisture from fog, it is unclear (1) whether the additional fog-derived moisture stimulates summertime photosynthesis and stem and root growth by the conifer trees, or (2) whether it influences soil C cycling through effects on microbial dynamics, decomposition, and root respiration. The study aims to understand how these summertime fog inputs versus wintertime rain inputs influence ecosystem C cycling and overall ecosystem function. This work includes automated, near-continuous measurements of soil respiration and evaporation, soil pore space CO2 concentrations, and sap flow, along with monthly measurements of microbial biomass, soil nutrient availability, and isotopes of water and C.

We are working closely with Mariah Carbone, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Geography here at UCSB, on this project. Please see her webpage at the following link for a more detailed description and pictures: http://www.icess.ucsb.edu/~mcarbone/Fog.html