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What are the exact physiological mechanisms that lead to tree death during prolonged drought and rising temperatures?
These are the questions that scientists are trying to answer at a Los Alamos National Laboratory research project called SUMO. SUMO stands for SUrvival/MOrtality study; it’s a plot of land on the lab’s southern border that features 18 climate controlled tree study chambers and a large drought structure that limits rain and snowfall.
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting vegetation mortality during drought or periods of high temperatures is rising both locally and globally.
Resolving these questions is essential to improve global climate models and to improving our understanding and modeling of climate-terrestrial impacts and feedbacks.
Nate McDowell, a staff scientist in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory will share his research methods and results with the community at 7 p.m. today at Fuller Lodge.
He was awarded a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at LANL in 2003. McDowell studies the interdependency of plant and ecosystem water and carbon cycles and their response to climate and disturbance.
He was awarded both LANL’s and DOE’s Distinguished Mentor Award for advising undergraduates in 2008 and 2010, respectively, DOE’s Early-Career Award in 2010 and testified before Congress regarding DOE’s climate change research in 2009.