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Discovery
Tree-Climbing Scientist Makes Surprising Discovery

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Photo shows Nalini Nadkarni hanging from her canopy access gear.

Nalini Nadkarni hangs from her canopy access gear, 150 feet above the forest floor in a 650-year-old stand of trees located just downwind of Mount St. Helens, in Washington State. She is studying organisms and processes that occur in the upper canopy of these forests.

Credit: John Huey, The Evergreen State College


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Photo shows Nalini Nadkarni and ropes and pulleys she uses as a canopy researcher.

Nalini Nadkarni dresses for success as a canopy researcher.

Credit: John Huey, The Evergreen State College


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Photo shows epiphytes living on tree branches and trunks.

A specialized but diverse set of plants called "epiphytes" has evolved to live upon tree branches and trunks in many forest ecosystems. Rather than getting their water and nutrients from the soil, epiphytes are able to capture moisture and dissovled nutrients in rain and mist, and are thus independent of their host trees.

Credit: Nalini M. Nadkarni


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