The Forest Through the Fog

The atmosphere within Northern California’s coast redwood forests is humid, the air pungent and loamy, smelling at once like the sea and earth. This olfactory fusion is appropriate; scientists have discovered that redwood forests thrive on a sea-sourced fog that carries nutrient-rich coastal ocean water. However, uncovering the numerous processes that make it possible for the sea to nourish the trees requires novel approaches and multiple disciplines to uncover.

Thanks to a new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, researchers from seven institutions, including Oregon State University, have formed an interdisciplinary team to study the relationships among upwelling, fog, coast redwood forests and climate change. The Summen Project, named after the indigenous Ohlone word for “redwood,” was awarded $1.75 million over three years through the NSF’s Coastal Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability program. The project aims to unravel the complex ocean-atmosphere-land interactions supporting one of the Earth’s most productive and alluring terrestrial ecosystems and make predictions about how climate change may alter them.

Read the full story at Terra.

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