This month, we started the first field campaign of Eugenie’s Ph.D. in the Spanish National Park of Alto Tajo. The study aims to understand how tree species interactions alter the impact of seasonal drought on tree water relations. We expect that trees in more diverse forests are less subjected to intense drought because of complementarity and facilitation processes between broadleaved and coniferous species. The work is done in collaboration with Fernando Valladares (MNCN, Spain), who is co-supervising the Ph.D. of Eugenie.
With Charlotte, David (a technician working at MNCN), and Eric (our new intern coming from INSA, France), Eugenie conducted a suite of physiological measurements in the field, including gas exchange and water potentials on adult oak and pine trees.
We were delighted to have Alberto Vilagrosa, Luna Morcillo (University of Alicante, Spain), and Karagan Smith (Fulbright fellow from Pepperdine University, USA) join us to conduct hydraulic measurements.
After more than 12 days of waking up at 4:30 am and doing 10h long days running around in the dry forests of Alto Tajo, the group is back at EPFL and preparing for the next trip in one month.