Fog Water Use in Coastal California Shrub Species

Monday, 15 December 2014
Nathan Emery and Carla M. D'Antonio, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
Fog strongly influences plant communities along the California coast. Chaparral and California Sage Scrub are no exception. This study identified fog water use in five shrub species from the Santa Barbara region. The authors collected fog, rain and groundwater from several field sites for three years (2011-2013) to establish the source water isotopic signatures. Plant stem tissue was collected periodically throughout the summer months and water was extracted for stable isotope analysis. To account for soil evaporative fractionation, the authors collected soil samples from the field and constructed local evaporative correction lines. Preliminary mixing model analysis suggests fog water use in several shrub species while others utilized rain and groundwater during the late summer. This additional water may buffer the effects of summer drought in only some of the species that live in the shrub-dominated communities along the California coast.