Skip to main content
Log in

Coastal fog during summer drought improves the water status of sapling trees more than adult trees in a California pine forest

  • Population ecology – original research
  • Published:
Oecologia Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Fog water inputs can offset seasonal drought in the Mediterranean climate of coastal California and may be critical to the persistence of many endemic plant species. The ability to predict plant species response to potential changes in the fog regime hinges on understanding the ways that fog can impact plant physiological function across life stages. Our study uses a direct metric of water status, namely plant water potential, to understand differential responses of adult versus sapling trees to seasonal drought and fog water inputs. We place these measurements within a water balance framework that incorporates the varying climatic and soil property impacts on water budgets and deficit. We conducted our study at a coastal and an inland site within the largest stand of the regionally endemic bishop pine (Pinus muricata D. Don) on Santa Cruz Island. Our results show conclusively that summer drought negatively affects the water status of sapling more than adult trees and that sapling trees are also more responsive to changes in shallow soil moisture inputs from fog water deposition. Moreover, between the beginning and end of a large, late-season fog drip event, water status increased more for saplings than for adults. Relative to non-foggy conditions, we found that fog water reduces modeled peak water deficit by 80 and 70 % at the inland and coastal sites, respectively. Results from our study inform mechanistically based predictions of how population dynamics of this and other coastal species may be affected by a warmer, drier, and potentially less foggy future.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Alvarado-Barrientos MS, Holwerda F, Asbjornsen H, Dawson TE, Bruijnzeel LA (2014) Suppression of transpiration due to cloud immersion in a seasonally dry Mexican weeping pine plantation. Agric For Meteorol 186:12–25. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2013.11.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Axelrod DI (1967) Geologic history of the California insular flora. In: Philbrick RN (ed) Proceedings of the symposium on the biology of the California Islands. Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, pp 267–315

  • Baguskas SA, Peterson SH, Bookhagen B, Still CJ (2014) Evaluating spatial patterns of drought-induced tree mortality in a coastal California pine forest. For Ecol Manage 315:43–53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berry ZC, Smith WK (2012) Cloud pattern and water relations in Picea rubens and Abies fraseri, southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Agric For Meteorol 162–163:27–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berry ZC, Hughes NM, Smith WK (2014) Cloud immersion: an important water source for spruce and fir saplings in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Oecologia 174:319–326. doi:10.1007/s00442-013-2770-0

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bhaskar R, Ackerly DD (2006) Ecological relevance of minimum seasonal water potentials. Physiol Plant 127:353–359. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3054.2006.00718.x

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Burgess SSO, Dawson TE (2004) The contribution of fog to the water status of Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don): foliar uptake and prevention of dehydration. Plant Cell Environ 27:1023–1034. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3040.2004.01207.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carbone MS, Still CJ, Ambrose AR, Dawson TE, Williams AP, Boot CM, Schaeffer SM, Schimel JP (2011) Seasonal and episodic moisture controls on plant and microbial contributions to soil respiration. Oecologia 167:265–278. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-1975-3

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Carbone MS, Williams AP, Ambrose AR, Boot CM, Bradley ES, Dawson TE, Schaffer SM, Schimel JP, Still CJ (2012) Cloud shading and fog drip influence the metabolism of a coastal pine ecosystem. Glob Chang Biol 19:484–497. doi:10.1111/gcb.12054

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cavender-Bares J, Bazzaz FA (2000) Changes in drought response strategies with ontogeny in Quercus rubra: implications for scaling from seedlings to mature trees. Oecologia 124:8–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Choat B, Jansen S, Brodribb TJ, Cochard H, Delzon S, Bhaskar R, Bucci SJ, Field TS, Gleason SM, Hacke UE, Jacobsen AL, Lens F, Maherali H, Martinez-Vilalta J, Mayr S, Mencuccini M, Mitchell PJ, Nardini A, Pittermann J, Pratt RB, Sperry JS, Westoby M, Wright IJ, Zanne AE (2012) Global convergence in the vulnerability of forests to drought. Nature 491:752–755. doi:10.1038/nature11688

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Corbin JD, Thomsen MA, Dawson TE, D’Antonio CM (2005) Summer water use by California coastal prairie grasses: fog, drought, and community composition. Oecologia 145:511–521. doi:10.1007/s00442-005-0152-y

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dawson TE (1996) Determining water use by trees and forests from isotopic, energy balance and transpiration analysis: the roles of tree size and hydraulic lift. Tree Physiol 16:263–272

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dawson TE (1998) Fog in the California redwood forest: ecosystem inputs and use by plants. Oecologia 117:476–485. doi:10.1007/s004420050683

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dawson TE, Ehleringer JR (1993) Gender-specific physiology, carbon isotope discrimination and habitat distribution of boxelder, Acer negundo. Ecology 74:798–815

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Donovan LA, Ehleringer JR (1992) Contrasting patterns among size and life- shrub history classes of a semi-arid shrub. Funct Ecol 6:482–488

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dunne T, Leopold LB (1978) Water in environmental planning. Freeman, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Field TS, Dawson TE (1998) Water sources used by Didymopanax pittieri at different life stages in a tropical cloud forest. Ecology 79:1448–1452

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fischer DT, Still CJ (2007) Evaluating patterns of fog water deposition and isotopic composition on the California Channel Islands. Water Resour Res 43:W04420. doi:10.1029/2006WR005124

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fischer DT, Still CJ, Williams AP (2009) Significance of summer fog and overcast for drought stress and ecological functioning of coastal California endemic plant species. J Biogeogr 36:783–799. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.02025.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goldsmith GR, Matzke NJ, Dawson TE (2013) The incidence and implications of clouds for cloud forest plant water status. Ecol Lett 16:307–314. doi:10.1111/ele.12039

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gotsch SG, Asbjornsen H, Holwerda F, Goldsmith GR, Weintraub AE, Dawson TE (2014) Foggy days and dry nights determine crown-level water balance in a seasonal tropical montane cloud forest. Plant Cell Environ 37:261–272. doi:10.1111/pce.12151

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ingraham NL, Matthews RA (1995) The importance of fog drip water to vegetation: Point Reyes Peninsula, California. J Hydrol 164:269–285. doi:10.1016/0022-1694(94)02538-M

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson DL (1977) The late Quaternary climate of coastal California: evidence for an ice age refugium. Quat Res 8:154–179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Johnstone JA, Dawson TE (2010) Climatic context and ecological implications of summer fog decline in the coast redwood region. PNAS 107(10):4533–4538

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Johnstone JA, Roden JS, Dawson TE (2013) Oxygen and carbon stable isotopes in coast redwood tree rings respond to spring and summer climate signals. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 118:1438–1450. doi:10.1002/jgrg.20111

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kolb TE, Stone JE (2000) Differences in leaf gas exchange and water status among species and tree sizes in an Arizona pine-oak forest. Tree Physiol 20:1–12

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lambers H, Chapin FS, Pons TL (2008) Plant physiological ecology, 2nd edn. Springer, New York. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-78341-3

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Limm EB, Dawson TE (2010) Polystichum munitum (Dryopteridaceae) varies geographically in its capacity to absorb fog water by foliar uptake within the redwood forest ecosystem. Am J Bot 97:1121–1128. doi:10.3732/ajb.1000081

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Limm EB, Simonin KA, Bothman AG, Dawson TE (2009) Foliar water uptake: a common water acquisition strategy for plants of the redwood forest. Oecologia 161:449–459. doi:10.1007/s00442-009-1400-3

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Mahall BE, Tyler CM, Cole SE, Mata C (2009) A comparative study of oak (Quercus, Fagaceae) seedling physiology during summer drought in southern California. Am J Bot 96:751–761. doi:10.3732/ajb.0800247

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Meinzer FC, Woodruff DR, Marias DE, McCulloh KA, Sevanto S (2014) Dynamics of leaf water status components in co-occurring iso- and anisohydric conifer species. Plant Cell Environ 37:2577–2586. doi:10.1111/pce.12327

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Passioura JB (1982) Water in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. In: Physiological plant ecology, vol II. Springer, Berlin, pp 5–33

  • R Development Core Team (2012) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org/

  • Raven PH, Axelrod DI (1978) Origin and relationships of the California flora. University of California Press, Berkeley

    Google Scholar 

  • Ritter A, Regalado CM, Aschan G (2009) Fog reduces transpiration in tree species of the Canarian relict heath-laurel cloud forest (Garajonay National Park, Spain). Tree Physiol 29:517–528. doi:10.1093/treephys/tpn043

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Scholl M, Eugster W, Burkard R (2010) Understanding the role of fog in forest hydrology: stable isotopes as tools for determining input and partitioning of cloud water in montane forests. Hydrol Process 25:353–366. doi:10.1002/hyp.7762

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simonin KA, Santiago LS, Dawson TE (2009) Fog interception by Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) crowns decouples physiology from soil water deficit. Plant Cell Environ 32:882–892. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3040.2009.01967.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Snyder RL, Eching S (2004) Landscape Irrigation Management Program—IS005 Quick Answer. University of California, Davis

    Google Scholar 

  • Stephenson NL (1998) Actual evapotranspiration and deficit: biologically meaningful correlates of vegetation distribution across spatial scales. J Biogeogr 25:855–870

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thornthwaite CW, Mather JR (1955) The water balance. Laboratory of Climatology, Centerton

    Google Scholar 

  • Thornthwaite CW, Mather JR (1957) Instructions and tables for computing potential evapotranspiration and the water balance. Laboratory of Climatology, Centerton

    Google Scholar 

  • United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (2014) Forest inventory and analysis national core field guide, volume I. Field data collection procedures for phase 2 plots. Arlington

  • US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (2007) Soil survey of Channel Islands National Park, California. Available at http://soils.usda.gov/survey/printed_surveys/. Accessed 22 October 2012

  • Vasey MC, Loik ME, Parker VT (2012) Influence of summer marine fog and low cloud stratus on water relations of evergreen woody shrubs (Arctostaphylos: Ericaceae) in the chaparral of central California. Oecologia 170(2):325–337

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Walter HS, Taha LA (1999) Regeneration of bishop pine (Pinus muricata) in the absence and presence of fire: a case study from Santa Cruz Island, California. In: Proceedings of the Fifth California Islands Symposium

  • Williams AP (2006) Teasing foggy memories out of pines on the California Channel Islands using tree-ring width and stable isotope approaches. Masters thesis, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

  • Williams AP, Still CJ, Fischer DT, Leavitt SW (2008) The influence of summertime fog and overcast clouds on the growth of a coastal Californian pine: a tree-ring study. Oecologia 156:601–611. doi:10.1007/s00442-008-1025-y

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This project was supported through a grant from the Kearney Foundation for Soil Science to C. J. S. and J. Y. K., a UC-Natural Reserve System Mildred E. Mathias graduate student research grant to S. A. B., an instrumentation grant from Decagon Devices to S. A. B., and a grant from the Save The Redwoods League to C. J. S. and S. A. B. Mariah Carbone provided helpful guidance in the field. We thank A. Park Williams for assisting with micrometeorological data acquisition in the field. We thank Lyndal Laughrin and Brian Guerrero for logistical support at the UC-Natural Reserve System on SCI. Jared Nohra and Sabrina Wuu provided excellent undergraduate field and laboratory assistance.

Author contribution statement

S. A. B., C. J. S., J. Y. K., and C. M. D. conceived and designed the study. S. A. B. conducted field and laboratory work, analyzed data, and wrote the manuscript with input and support from C. J. S. and J. Y. K.; D. T. F. contributed to parameterizing the water balance model, interpreting the results, and writing related sections of the manuscript. All authors edited the manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sara A. Baguskas.

Additional information

Communicated by Miquel Gonzalez-Meler.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 86 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Baguskas, S.A., Still, C.J., Fischer, D.T. et al. Coastal fog during summer drought improves the water status of sapling trees more than adult trees in a California pine forest. Oecologia 181, 137–148 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-016-3556-y

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-016-3556-y

Keywords

Navigation