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Research Poster

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In a region where drought is severe, ecological surveys provide insight into the adaptations of organisms living on the edge of survival. In this study, the mechanisms of drought tolerance for eight species of ferns in the Santa Monica Mountains were assessed with a focus on foliar water uptake and resurrection strategies. We find that species are significantly different (P < 0.001) in their ability to absorb water through leaves (assessed gravimetrically) and correlate this to minimum seasonal water potential and hydrophobicity of leaf surfaces. Secondly, we irrigated Pentagramma triangularis in the field and tracked chloroplast recovery. We found possible evidence of embolism reversal. Taken together, this study explored the methods of survival of the most ancient family of vascular plants.

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