Researcher: Ulli Seibt
Summary: Climate change will significantly alter the carbon and water balance of terrestrial ecosystems, and may lead to more intense water stress for plants particularly in semi-arid regions such as California. Currently we have limited datasets on the carbon and water fluxes of coastal ecosystems in California because the traditional method of ecosystem flux monitoring using the eddy covariance technique is not suitable for uneven terrain. So far, all plant measurements at the Stunt Ranch UC Reserve have been done with manual instruments. The resulting datasets are very detailed and of high quality, but contain large gaps. Continuous monitoring of ecosystem carbon and water fluxes is needed to close these gaps. In this project, I will install branch chambers for continuous measurements of carbon and water fluxes and concurrent environmental conditions (temperature, relative humidity, light intensity). We will build a total of 8 chambers, and install them on two individuals of 4 different species with contrasting water use strategies: two drought-deciduous sage species, and two evergreen chaparral species (toyon, scrub oak). Each chamber will be linked wirelessly to a data receiver that uploads all data in real time to a website for data access, analysis, and archiving. The website will also offer the option to display the data in real time to promote our research efforts at Stunt Ranch.