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News Release 17-115

Dust on the wind: Study reveals surprising role of dust in mountain ecosystems

Southern Sierra Nevada forests rely on nutrients from windborne dust

Sierra Nevada Mountain forests

Sierra Nevada Mountain forests receive a large percentage of their nutrients from windborne dust.

Credit: Lindsay Arvin


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Trees anchored in bedrock

Trees anchored in bedrock break up the rock and create soil, but most nutrients come from dust.

Credit: Lindsay Arvin


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pine needle trees'

What stories they tell: Jeffrey pine needles have a record of the trees' dust-derived nutrients.

Credit: Lindsay Arvin


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Scientists sampled live pine needles

Scientists sampled live pine needles to measure nutrients from dust and from bedrock.

Credit: Lindsay Arvin


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Pine needles

Pine needles revealed how Sierra Nevada conifers use nutrients from windborne dust.

Credit: Lindsay Arvin


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mountain ecosystems

Windborne dust plays a large role in mountain ecosystems around the world.

Credit: Lindsay Arvin


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