Head in the Clouds: Advancing Our Understanding of How Fog and Dew Affect Plants in Ecosystems Around the World
Wednesday, August 12, 2015: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
340, Baltimore Convention Center
Nathan C. Emery
Z. Carter Berry
Z. Carter Berry
Water is an essential component to any ecosystem and for much of the terrestrial world, the majority of water needed for survival is supplied from rain and snow. However, recent advances across ecosystems suggest that many plants are relying on fog and dew as a critical water source. Only recently have scientists begun to understand that fog and dew contribute significantly to global hydrological cycles, climate, and plant water and carbon relations from tropical cloud forests to arid deserts. Research in the last twenty years has utilized new methods and creative approaches to examine how fog and dew affect ecosystems. Within many types of ecosystems, fog and dew alter the abiotic environment by providing an additional moisture resource, reducing the vapor pressure gradient from the leaf to the air, thereby ameliorating extreme sunlight, temperatures, and thus water loss. The relative contribution of this water subsidy can vary across seasons and ecosystems and in many instances serves as the primary water source for entire ecosystems.
In an era when there is a growing concern as to how plant communities will respond to changes in precipitation, there is still much to learn about the influence of fog and condensation in ecology. The scientists in this session are conducting cutting-edge research that examine how species and communities interact with this ambient vapor, how important it is to the ecosystem, and what happens when fog or dew inputs are altered or taken out of the equation. This session brings together scientists working at multiple scales from water vapor nucleation at the leaf level to ecosystem modelling of fog patterns. Additionally, the speakers conduct their research in many different ecosystems providing a more holistic perspective on the relative influences of fog and dew. This session will provide new connections, conversations, insights, and ideas to our current state of knowledge about how fog and dew interact with organisms and their environment.