Tuesday January 9, 2024

University of California, Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz scientists supported a new global study showing that the effects of extreme short-term drought—which is expected to increase in frequency with climate change—have been greatly underestimated for grasslands and shrublands.

The study was organized and led by Colorado State University (CSU) and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings quantify the impact of extreme short-term drought on grassland and shrubland ecosystems across six continents with a level of detail that was not previously possible. It is the first time an experiment this extensive has been undertaken to generate a baseline understanding of the potential losses of plant productivity in these vital ecosystems.

Melinda Smith, a professor in the Department of Biology at CSU, led the study and is the first author on the paper. Michael Loik, professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz, is a co-author on the paper, a member of the steering committee that designed the experiment, and the lead scientist for three study sites at UC Santa Cruz. 

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