Wednesday November 1, 2023

Science Magazine

On the evening of 4 December 2017, a small patch of brush caught fire near Santa Paula, California. The blaze soon grew into one of the largest wildfires the state had ever experienced. By the time firefighters contained what became known as the Thomas Fire, it had devoured more than 1000 square kilometers of coastal woodland, killed two people, and left hundreds of homes in ruins.

The catastrophe wreaked havoc on land, but it also might have enabled coastal ecosystems to flourish, suggests research published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. As the ash plume created by the fire billowed across the Pacific Ocean, it deposited a variety of chemical compounds, creating a veritable buffet for marine microbes.

The findings “demonstrate the interconnectedness of ecosystems not just locally, but regionally,” says Camille Stevens-Rumann, a fire ecologist at Colorado State University who wasn’t involved with the study.

Read more >

Link copied successfully