Comparative Foliar Water Uptake and Leaf Hydrophobicity in Island versus Mainland Ferns

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Research Poster

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In 2014, Southern California experienced the worst drought in the last 1,200 years. 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 hydrophobicity of frond (leaf) surfaces. We measured gravimetric foliar water uptake and angle of contact for a drop of water on a frond. Seasonal shifts were tracked as a method of following drought response patterns.

Fog is becoming more important due to limited ground water. Fog is far more common on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California than on the mainland mountains such as the coastal Santa Monica Mountains. Thus a comparison of island versus mainland ferns might illuminate the adaptability of ferns to fog and provides insight into the issue of increasing global temperatures and subsequent fog decrease.

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