Allison Nunes

Allison Nunes, California State University, Monterey Bay

Allison next to the fog catcher she designed and built

Project: Fog effects on soil moisture in California Coastal Prairies 

Advisor: Kathleen Kay

California Coastal Prairie is an ecosystem that relies on fog as an essential water source. With fog decreasing in the face of climate change, it is important to understand how much this ecosystem relies on maritime influence of fog. My summer research was studying fog effects on Coastal Prairies, by testing if there is a positive relationship between fog and soil moisture. I compared two Coastal Prairie species, Stipa pulchra and Achillea millefolium, in soil moisture alteration near their roots during fog events. I hypothesized that fog would decrease as distance from coast increases, and A. millefolium would have moister soil after fog events than S. pulchra, due to its shallower roots. In order to test this relationship I put three fog collectors and two sets of soil probes out in two different sites proceeding further from the coast. Fog events were found to be larger closer to the coast. A significant relationship was found in soil getting moister during fog events underneath coastal species Achillea millefolium (p-value= 0.01).