Spheres of Influence

Sedgwick Reserve, California USA

Just before the US really understood the severity of the coming pandemic, a team of naive field ecologists (including myself) sampled transects at UC Santa Barbara’s Sedgwick Reserve to understand the influence of canopy trees on the rapid turnover of fungal species in the soil. We compared toolsets, sequencing both RNA and DNA, and found that RNA showed a very clear pattern of fungal change across space while DNA did not. Using this RNA data, we showed that both canopy and environment play important roles in shaping belowground diversity.

Oliver Chadwick sharing his widsom
A foggy morning in 'windmill' canyon
Holly tracing the transect
Sevan and Ean pulling soil cores