Greg Goldsmith will serve as the national program chair for the Ecological Society of America's annual meeting in 2024. The meeting will be held in Long Beach, California and is expected to attract more than 3000 ecologists from all over the world. Goldsmith is an early career fellow of the ESA.
We have published a new German-language summary of our research on processes and patterns of forest water use in the Swiss Journal of Forestry. We have been working on the project now for seven years and we've begun to generate an interesting and diverse set of results:
Goldsmith, G.R., S.T. Allen, S. Braun, R.T.W. Siegwolf, & J.W. Kirchner. 2022. Climatic influences on summer use of winter precipitation by trees. Geophysical Research Letters 49: e2022GL098323 4
Allen, S.T., J. von Freyberg, M. Weiler, G.R. Goldsmith & J.W. Kirchner. 2019. The seasonal origins of streamwater in Switzerland. Geophysical Research Letters 46: 1-28.
Allen, S.T., S. Jasechko, W.R. Berghuijs, J.M. Welker, G.R. Goldsmith & J.W. Kirchner. 2019. Global sinusoidal seasonality in precipitation isotopes. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 23: 3423-3436.
Allen, S.T., J.W. Kirchner, S. Braun, R.T.W. Siegwolf, & G.R. Goldsmith. 2019. Seasonal origins of water used by trees. Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences 23:
G.R Goldsmith, S.T. Allen, S. Braun, N. Engbersen, C. Romero González-Quijano, J.W. Kirchner, & R.T.W. Siegwolf. 2019. Spatial variation in throughfall, soil and plant water isotopes in a temperate forest. Ecohydrology 12: e2059
Allen, S.T., J.W. Kirchner, & G.R. Goldsmith. 2018. Predicting spatial patterns in precipitation isotope (18-O and 2-H) seasonality using sinusoidal isoscapes. Geophysical Research Letters 45: 4859-4868.
Fixing the Plight of the Postdoc
I have a new editorial out in the Editor's Blog of Science. You can read some additional thoughts in the Twitter Feed below.
Andrew Felton, who is currently a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellow studying rangeland sensitivity to drought, will leave us this fall to join the faculty in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University.
His lab will focus on understanding how climate change impacts the functioning of western US dryland and agricultural systems, with an emphasis on the consequences of ongoing intensification of the water cycle (e.g., drought). He'll be looking for graduate students and postdoctoral associates - what a great opportunity.
We are so excited for Andrew and could not be more excited to continue collaborating far in the future!
From the International Space Station, An Unprecedented Look At Plant Resilience To Drought
Orange, Calif. — A new instrument on the International Space Station (ISS) is helping scientists understand the inner workings of plant life here on Earth by showing how different plants balance the tradeoffs between growth and water use. A team of scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Chapman University has now undertaken a major global study of these tradeoffs, described as plant water-use efficiency, among 9 different plant types in 11 ecosystems around the world using tens of millions of observations.
In this first-of-its kind study, “Convergence in water use efficiency within plant functional types across contrasting climates,” published on April 14th in the prestigious journal Nature Plants, the authors found that plants of the same type (such as deciduous broadleaf and evergreen needleleaf trees, tall or low shrubs, herbs and non-herbaceous grasses, etc.) often had very similar water-use efficiency regardless of where they grew. Interestingly, the results indicate that it is the type of plants, rather than the climate in which they are growing, that dictates the water-use efficiency. The results also indicate that plant types with longer lifespans, such as shrubs and trees, have higher water-use efficiency than plant types like grasses, which have shorter lifespans. These findings provide important insights into how global climate change will shape the future of plant communities and the ecosystem services they provide.
Plants use and lose water when they take up carbon dioxide to photosynthesize and grow. Plant species capable of growing more while using less water may be more resilient to the increasing frequency, intensity and duration of drought events projected to occur with global climate change. The study also reveals connections in how environmental conditions can shape current and future plant community characteristics, key for understanding the future of plant biodiversity. Knowing how different plant types optimize the tradeoffs between growth and water use, the so-called plant water-use efficiency, can inform plans to mitigate and adapt to a warmer and drier future.
This type of analysis was enabled by the data collected from the ISS instrument, known as ECOSTRESS, which provides the most detailed temperature images of Earth’s surface ever acquired from space. These temperature images indicate evapotranspiration and photosynthesis rates. Previously, the low-resolution of available data and disagreements among different land surface models led to wildly varying measurements of water-use efficiency.
“ECOSTRESS revealed patterns that we could not observe with previous satellite instruments and that would be impossible to measure on the ground,” said lead JPL author Ms. Savannah Cooley. For instance, using ECOSTRESS images from the Brazilian Amazon, the study demonstrated significant variation in water-use efficiency by plant type over the scale of just a few miles of seemingly similar tropical rainforest, as well as abrupt changes where forests had been converted to pasture.
The data originate from ECOSTRESS, the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station, a mission launched by NASA in 2018 to provide information on global land surface temperature at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. ECOSTRESS was built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and launched into orbit aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft lifted by a Falcon 9 rocket. ECOSTRESS now sends images at a resolution less than that of a football field every 2-3 days.
“ECOSTRESS is remarkable in that it allows us to determine plant water use nearly anywhere on Earth at spatial scales that were unthinkable just a few years ago, all from an instrument that is traveling more than 17,000 miles per hour more than 250 miles above us,” noted study co-author Dr. Joshua Fisher.
The new study was led by Ms. Savannah Cooley, a graduate student at Columbia University and scientist at JPL, in collaboration with Dr. Joshua Fisher and Dr. Gregory Goldsmith at Chapman University. Fisher is a Presidential Fellow of Ecosystem Science in Schmid College of Science and Technology; he was the Science Lead for ECOSTRESS while at JPL prior to joining Chapman. Fisher is the first faculty member in Chapman University’s history to be named a highly cited researcher by Clarivate, placing him in the top 1% of researchers globally. Goldsmith is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Grand Challenges Initiative; he is a member of NASA’s ECOSTRESS Science and Applications Team.
Measurements provided by ECOSTRESS are also useful for detecting wildfires, urban heat waves, volcanic activity, and a number of other applications.
The title of the paper is “Convergence in water use efficiency within plant functional types across contrasting climates,” and is available online at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-022-01131-z. Support was provided by the ECOSTRESS mission and by the NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science grant # 80NSSC20K0216.
Among the great accomplishments of folks in the lab, we're sending Cami Acosta to Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates this summer. She'll be joining the Surendran Lab to study kidney development and disease! Can't wait to see the results!
Recent graduate Sydni Au Hoy has been offered a COMET (Clinical Observation and Medical Transcription Fellowship) at Stanford Medicine. A great next step on her pathway to becoming a doctor!
A big shout out to Andrew Felton, who will begin a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellowship with us on September 1st. Andrew will work on a project entitled: Optimizing rangeland decision making by unraveling geographic variation in the timing of forage sensitivity to weather.
Check out the write-up on the project in Chapman's Newsroom.
A new paper out in the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education in collaboration with the postdoctoral fellows, faculty and staff from the Grand Challenges Initiative:
2019 Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe Award for Outstanding Publication in Ecohydrology
The Goldsmith Lab has been awarded the 2019 Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe award for an outstanding publication from the journal Ecohydrology for their article quantifying the spatial variation in stable isotopes of water in a forest ecosystem. The research establishes best practices for using stable isotopes of water as a tool for understanding the source of water used by different species of trees in forest ecosystems:
Spatial variation in throughfall, soil, and plant water isotopes in a temperate forest
by Gregory R. Goldsmith, Scott T. Allen, Sabine Braun, Nadine Engbersen, Clara R. González‐Quijano, James W. Kirchner, Rolf T.W. Siegwolf
The results are part of a long-term collaboration designed to inform the sustainable management of Switzerland’s forests in the face of unprecedented rates of climate change.
The project was carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Institute for Applied Plant Biology, the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research and ETH Zurich with funding from the Swiss Federal Office of the Environment.
Kendra Ellertson '21 Presents at Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
Meeting AbstractP30-2 Sat Jan 2 Effects of diffuse light on the physiology, growth, and fruit yield of tomato plants Ellertson, K*; Prakash, A; Goldsmith, G; Berry, ZC; Chapman University ; Chapman University ; Chapman University ; Chapman University
Introduction: We routinely study how the quantity of light affects rates of plant photosynthesis. However, what happens to photosynthesis when we change the angle of light? A growing body of research has demonstrated changes in leaf photosynthesis and net ecosystem exchange in diffuse light conditions caused by clouds or other aerosols. However, our understanding of the effects of diffuse light on physiological processes and the concomitant effects on growth and yield remain limited. Methods: We compared the physiology, growth and yield of tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) grown in direct compared to diffuse light conditions. Diffuse light conditions (ca. 50-60% diffuse) were created by a painted glass panel that leads to diffusion of light, but does not significantly reduce the quantity of light. Results: We observed significant differences in photosynthetic function, including water-use efficiency, of plants in diffuse light as compared to direct light conditions. However, there was increased leaf cupping in plants grown in direct light, which may be due to higher temperatures (ca. 3-5 °C) in that treatment. We also observed no differences in initial plant growth (height, leaf number, and stem diameter); however, fruiting in the diffuse light conditions was higher than in direct light conditions. Discussion: Diffuse light conditions may have their greatest impact on plant structure and function by increasing flowering and fruit production. This effect may be mediated not by the light quality, but in this case by the temperature change induced by diffusing the light. As the climate warms, these results suggest that simple modifications to greenhouse structure may benefit fruit yield for key crops.