Dream Team Of Enviro-Scientists Unfurling Riddle Of The Rings – August 20, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Top scientists and conservationists listen as other members explain information gleaned from the redwoods. Left to right: Ruskin Hartley, Allyson Carroll, Anthony Ambrose and Steve Sillett. Photo by Kym Kemp

Kym Kemp

Eye Correspondent

HUMBOLDT – Assembled to decode the silent redwoods is a unique team composed of top scientists partnering their expertise from HSU and UC Berkeley:

• Stephen C. Sillett, Ph.D., who holds the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University, has recently captivated television audiences as well as readers of National Geographic with his pioneering work among the tops of the giant trees.

• Robert Van Pelt, Ph.D., an Adjunct Professor and Research Scientist for the Institute for Redwood Ecology at HSU, is known as “the most successful big tree hunter in the National Register.” He repeatedly finds, documents and exquisitely draws some of the largest trees known to man.

• Todd Dawson, Ph.D., a Professor at, and the Director of, the Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, was one of the main authors of a pioneering study on fog in the redwoods which stunned researchers with the realization that up to 40 percent of precipitation that these trees gather comes in the form of fog — fog that has declined over the last 50 years by almost one quarter.

• Anthony Ambrose, Ph.D.,  a Research Scientist at the Department of Integrative Biology and Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry at UC Berkeley, recently discovered that drought can cause redwood saplings to assimilate around 75 percent less carbon which can have drastic effects on our environment.

• Allyson Carroll, one of Professor Sillett’s research associates and a graduate student, assembled the first 1,000-year tree ring chronology for our coast redwoods! This allowed the dream team to very accurately date tree life spans and to calculate how much wood is manufactured by each tree over time.

Beyond scientists, the team consists of philanthropists (such as Ken Fisher, a former Humboldt State student of forestry) who is offering a $500,000 matching grant to help fund the endeavor) and conservationists such as Ruskin Hartley of the Save the Redwoods League.

Tags: , ,