Santa Cruz Island, June 2015

In June 2015, our lab at Pepperdine University compared the uptake of water through the leaves (foliar water uptake) in ferns on Santa Cruz Island and ferns on the mainland Santa Monica Mountains.

Santa Cruz Island experiences frequent and heavy fog. We hypothesized that island ferns would have increased foliar water uptake compared to mainland ferns.

Sunrise through the fog on Santa Cruz Island

Our summer undergraduate students Gaby and Shaquetta joined us to assist with laboratory and field work.


We traveled around the island using one of the UC Reserve’s 4WD vehicles.


We found lots of fog, and ferns!

Besides the ferns, we learned many other exciting things about island life. For instance, Humbolt lilies on the island grow in clusters of six or seven.

We also saw the island foxes!

We saw some severe dieback in the island pines.


All in all, it was an amazing experience, and we got some exciting data! I hope to continue this project in my graduate studies.

Photo credits: Dr. Steve Davis