Fog Rolling Through Redwoods is Vital Source of Nitrogen

The Dawson lab has helped reveal the importance of fog for these iconic forests. Meanwhile, fog frequency is falling.

Image: By Abby Tabor | Science Writer at NASA's Ames Research Center

UC Berkeley's Dawson lab and collaborators have published new research identifying an important source of nitrogen for the redwood forests of the California coast: fog. Carrying more than just water, the fog that rolls through, particularly in summer, also brings nitrogen to these trees. Trees on the edge of the forest, especially, gather nitrogen this way, and they seem to do so, in part, directly through their leaves.

These results, obtained by studying nitrogen fluxes and different stable isotopes, reveal the importance of fog for these coastal communities. Other research has shown the frequency of fog declining over the past century and, now, coupled with the ongoing California drought, the resilient redwoods may be at greater risk than anyone believed.

For more information, see the original research article by Templer, et al., in the Journal of Ecology: Fog as a source of nitrogen for redwood trees: evidence from fluxes and stable isotopes

This research was featured as an Editor’s Choice paper and accompanied by a commentary by Amy Austin. 

Image: The Dawson Lab
Fog Rolling Through Redwoods is Vital Source of Nitrogen

Fog Rolling Through Redwoods is Vital Source of Nitrogen

The Dawson lab has helped reveal the importance of fog for these iconic forests. Meanwhile, fog frequency is falling.

UC Berkeley's Dawson lab and collaborators have published new research identifying an important source of nitrogen for the re...

Related Publication

Fog as a Source of Nitrogen for Redwood Trees: evidence from fluxes and stable isotopes

P Templer K Weathers H Ewing Todd Dawson Stefania Mambelli A Lindsey J Webb V Boukili M Firestone

Published in Journal of Landscape Ecology

Todd Dawson

Todd Dawson

Professor, Departments of Integrative Biology (primary) and Environmental Science, Policy, & Management; Director, Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry; Faculty Director, Blue Oak Ranch Reserve
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