Jessica Montes

Jessica Montes
B.S, Biology, Undergraduate, 06/01/2018

Cohort Level: Cohort - I

Career Goal: I want to work at a government facility, contributing to the monitoring of climate change and help to make more accurate weather predictions. Specifically, I would like to work with the management of ecosystems after a fire, and the effects of this at a local scale.

Expected Graduation Date: June 1, 2018

Degree: B.S Biology

Research Title: Soil Seasonal Soil Respiration Response to Semi-Arid Chaparral Microsites in Southern California

Research Synopsis: Soil respiration (Rs) is the second largest carbon dioxide (CO2) flux in terrestrial ecosystems and it is important in estimating future effects of climate change. Rs field studies are dominated by temperate and tropical systems, resulting in underrepresentation of semi-arid Mediterranean biomes. Due to the interannual variability caused by wildfires and episodic rainfall events, it is pivotal to understand the soil carbon cycling mechanisms in semi-arid systems. In Southern California, semi-arid chaparral shrublands cover large land areas consisting of patchy vegetation with inter-canopy spaces. However, there is lack of Rs field studies in semi-arid chaparral, resulting in a gap of knowledge in how Rs responds to biological and environmental factors across vegetation microsites in this ecosystem. This study aims to investigate the seasonal Rs responses to vegetation microsites across a semi-arid chaparral stand in San Diego, California. The objectives are: (1) To determine the diurnal and monthly Rs responses to Adenostoma sparsifolium, Adenostoma fasciculatum, and inter-canopy microsites throughout a year, (2) to investigate the biotic and abiotic drivers of Rs variability across microsites, and (3) to determine the magnitude of soil CO2 released after rainfall events.