Navigation Links
Cloud forest trees drink water through their leaves
Date:12/13/2012

Tropical montane cloud forest trees use more than their roots to take up water. They also drink water from clouds directly through their leaves, University of California, Berkeley, scientists have discovered.

While this is an essential survival strategy in foggy but otherwise dry areas, the scientists say that the clouds the trees depend on are now disappearing due to climate change.

"The study highlights the vulnerability of this rare and already endangered ecosystem to climate change," said Todd Dawson, senior author of the study and UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. Changes in cloud cover have already been correlated to declines and disappearances of cloud forest animal populations, such as frogs and salamanders.

The new study will be published next year in the journal Ecology Letters and is available online this month.

In tropical montane cloud forests, leaves are constantly bathed in clouds, making them wet. The leaves of the most common cloud forest trees drink this cloud water when water from the soil just isn't enough, said Greg Goldsmith, lead author of the study and a graduate student in Dawson's lab.

"Many cloud forests experience an annual dry season when the primary water source isn't rain, but rather, the moisture from the clouds," he said. "This is when the trees are most likely to draw water in through their leaves."

Working in Monteverde, Costa Rica, the researchers studied patterns of leaf wetness caused by the clouds by setting up small plastic "leaves" that use changes in the voltage of an embedded electrical circuit to detect wetness. Then, they installed miniature sensors on the branches of cloud forest plants to see whether or not water was entering leaves when they were wet.

"The textbooks teach us that water enters roots, moves up the trunk and into the branches, then finally exits the leaves. That's true, but it's not the whole story," Goldsmith said. "With our sensors, we observed water entering the leaves and actually moving back down the branches toward the trunk."

The research builds on previous work by Dawson, who demonstrated a similar phenomenon in California redwoods.

However, the study found that not all trees can drink the same amount of cloud water.

"The trees that are drinking the most water through their leaves may be more vulnerable to decreases in cloud cover resulting from rising temperatures," said Goldsmith, who received funding from a National Geographic Society Young Explorers Grant to conduct the research.

"The study provides a clear demonstration of the interactions between clouds and cloud forest plants and will serve as a cornerstone for future research on the effects of climate change on tropical montane cloud forest ecosystems," Dawson added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New bird species discovered in cloud forest of Peru
2. 500 international cloud researchers meet in Leipzig
3. UI researchers develop technique to help pollution forecasters see past clouds
4. Pollution teams with thunderclouds to warm atmosphere
5. New insights into cloud formation
6. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Launches Wake Forest Innovations
7. New study shows how climate change could affect entire forest ecosystems
8. Wake Forest Baptist Marks 20th Anniversary of Star Lighting at Annual Ceremony
9. Feature package of Congo Basin forest photos, stories & videos
10. Preserve the services of mangroves -- Earths invaluable coastal forests, experts urge
11. Louisiana Tech University professor earns national honor from Society of American Foresters
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cloud forest trees drink water through their leaves
(Date:7/20/2017)... , July 20, 2017 Delta (NYSE: DAL ) ... any Delta aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board ... Delta,s biometric boarding ... Club is now integrated into the boarding process to allow eligible ...
(Date:6/14/2017)...  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative ... to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place ... the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have ... France is one ... a 30 percent increase in the number of startups created ...
(Date:5/16/2017)...   Bridge Patient Portal , an enterprise ... EMR Systems , an electronic medical record solutions ... established a partnership to build an interface between ... Centricity™ products, including Centricity Practice Solution (CPS), Centricity ... new integrations will allow healthcare delivery networks using ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal ... growth period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CRUZ, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 ... grant from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), ... kit for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single ... Analysis Program highlights the need to accelerate development of ... "New techniques for measuring ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North ... in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ... winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel ... three scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank ... in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped ... the structural biology community. The winners worked with ... now routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: