Monday, September 18, 2006

 

MIT Team Describes Unique Desert Cloud Forest (Oman)

Dhofar Mountains Arabia Arabian Peninsula (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)

Trees that live in an odd desert forest in Oman have found an unusual way to water themselves by extracting moisture from low-lying clouds, Massachusett's Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists report.

In an area that is characterized mostly by desert, the trees have preserved an ecological niche because they exploit a wispy-thin source of water that only occurs seasonally, said Elfatih A.B. Eltahir, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and former MIT graduate student Anke Hildebrandt.

After studying the Oman site, they also expressed concern that the unusual forest could be driven into extinction if hungry camels continue eating too much of the foliage....

...A report on their research was published in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters. [Ecosystem]
--
Based on "Forest on the edge: Seasonal cloud forest in Oman creates its own ecological niche" (Abstract)

The original MIT press release can be found here.

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