We're excited about two new projects that are starting in 2018. The first is an NSF project funded through the Geo Directorate, "Collaborative Research: Impacts of Dynamic, Climate-Driven Water Availability on Tree Water Use and Health in Mediterranean Riparian Forests". This project - a collaboration between WAVES lab, Michael Singer, and John Stella - aims to build new understanding of the ecohydrological links between water availability and forest health by employing an interdisciplinary set of research methods. Over the coming three years, our team will combine: 1) field-based measurements of climate and hydrology and laboratory analysis of oxygen isotopes from all potential tree water sources; (2) contemporary and retrospective analysis of oxygen and carbon isotopes in annual tree-rings to investigate recent climate-driven fluctuations in tree water use and water use efficiency; (3) seasonal (intra-annual) analysis of oxygen isotopes via high-resolution "micro-slicing" of annual tree rings to assess seasonal fluctuations in tree water source use; and 4) improvement and application of a climate-driven numerical ecohydrology model that includes dynamic water fluxes into the floodplain, isotopic fractionation/mixing, and tree water uptake. It will compare the ecohydrologic responses to climate in water availability at forest sites along a strong climatic gradient.
The second project is being funded by the Department of Defense's "Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program" (SERDP). Our proposal, "Understanding and Assessing Riparian Habitat Vulnerability to Drought-prone Climate Regimes on Department of Defense Bases in the Southwestern USA", will provide a toolkit and quantitative support for land/water conservation management plans that promote the sustainability and resilience of riparian forest ecosystems in arid and semi-arid landscapes. The four-year project, also led by Michael Singer, is a collaboration between WAVES Lab, John Stella, and Dar Roberts.
These two awards were recently featured in the UCSB Current.