Rainfall Manipulation Experiment at SMER


We are in the 4th year of an NSF-funded rainfall manipulation experiment at Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, part of SDSU’s Field Station Program. The experiment is investigation the interactive effects of plant functional type (native shrubs vs. exotic annual species) and altered rainfall. This is a collaboration with Dr. Elsa Cleland at UCSD. Our lab is focusing on belowground responses. Exotic annuals, such as the invasive grass, Bromus madritensis, and invasive forbs like Centaurea melitensis and Brassica nigra, are increasing the vulnerability of soil N and C pools to loss during large rain events.


Sherly measures soil water with the TDR probe


Melanie measures soil respiration


Ellen Esch (Ph.D. at student at UCSD) helps Saad Al Jaber (SDSU undergraduate) measure stem water potential.


Sean Doyle, REU student (who mainly worked on Ecosystem Modeling) gets out in the field


Undergraduate researcher, John Bruner, collected leaves from rainfall manipulations plots…


…then John purified cellulose form the leaves for stable isotope 18O analysis


Saad Al Jaber and Kevin Huong, undergraduate researchers, helped out in the field and lab.


Undergraduate, Carldee Soriano, mainly worked in the lab on soil enzyme assays, but we also used him for hard manual labor in the field


The Plant Ecophysiology class visits the rainfall experiment


The Plant Ecology class visits the rainfall experiment

We’ve recruited numerous undergraduate students from classes such as Microbial Ecology, Plant Ecophysiology, and Plant Ecology for independent research projects related to this experiment.


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