PI: Susan Brantley

My lab has had active projects in the Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (http://www.czo.psu.edu/). In one project, we have been focusing on how trees influence the water cycle and soil formation. Katie Gaines, PhD candidate in Ecology, is working on questions related to estimating depth of water use of trees by examining natural abundance of isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen, rates of water use by trees using sap flux sensors and temporal variation in leaf area and soil moisture. We have also begun a new project exploring the role of deep roots on ecosystem processes. In this project, we will explore how root traits such as root morphology, anatomy, architecture, exudation, respiration, and mycorrhizal fungal symbionts, differ between deep and surface roots. These traits will then be used to explore how deep roots may affect ecosystem processes in the critical zone.

Katie Gaines tree Climbing Sap Flux Sensors

Left - Katie Gaines tree climbing to collect branch samples.
Right - Sap flux sensors used to estimate transpiration.