Scientists Anthony Ambrose and Wendy Baxter, from UC Berkeley, are placing equipment in the crowns of five Redwood trees in a small grove at Bug Sur, California. They plan to return to the grove regularly in the coming months to study how the trees are affected by climate conditions.
The equipment they have placed in the trees will monitor light, fog, humidity, temperature, and even the mix of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere around the trees. In addition, it will allow them to track how much water the trees are using, and how the water flows through the trunk.
Redwoods have the unusual capability to absorb water from fog, which helps to sustain the trees during rain-free months. One goal of the study is to understand how much of the trees’ water needs are absorbed from fog, versus drawn from the ground. This is important to predicting how the trees will be affected by climate changes.