Andrea Fenner

Andrea Fenner
PhD, Ecology, Graduate

Cohort Level: Cohort - I

Career Goal: My career goals are to further investigate carbon flux in semi-arid shrublands as a research scientist and become a college professor.

Expected Graduation Date: May 22, 2022

Degree: PhD Ecology

Research Title: Effects of drought, fire, and stand-age on CO2 flux in semi-arid chaparral ecosystems.

Research Synopsis: As global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) increases due to human activity, it is vital that we create measures to reduce levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Carbon flux in semi-arid shrublands has rarely been studied using eddy covariance techniques. Semi-arid shrublands, especially old-growth shrub ecosystems, could mitigate the rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Under normal weather conditions, such ecosystems can become carbon sinks ultimately absorbing the excess levels of carbon in the atmosphere. However, as global temperatures change due to human activity precipitation patterns are likely to change resulting in an increase in drought events. As the prevalence of drought events increase in semi-arid shrubland ecosystems, gaining a better understanding of how these ecosystems act under non-normal weather conditions is key. In this study, eddy covariance measurements of the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 over a 10-year period were analyzed for three Mediterranean-type chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum)-dominated chaparral ecosystems in Southern California. Findings from this study may suggest a shift in the carbon source-sink dynamics of these semi-arid chaparral ecosystems.