Grad student wins support for Joshua tree research

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The Joshua tree is an icon of the American west. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Hastings)

Daniel Hastings, a graduate student in environmental studies, has received a research fellowship award to support his work studying the effects of climate change on the Joshua tree.

Hastings received the support from METER Group, Inc., a Washington-based company that manufactures precision instruments for use in environmental science, food quality assurance, and geotechnology.

METER is supplying Hastings with several instruments that will support his investigation of water storage in the tissues of the iconic trees, yearly fluctuations in water storage, and the development of an integrated model of Joshua tree anatomy that simulates the plants responses to different climate conditions. Climate change is expected to reduce Joshua trees to 10% of their current range due to increased temperatures and more frequent drought.

Hastings plans to use the data he gathers to model future Joshua tree distributions, inform conservation planning and assisted migration efforts, and improve understanding of ecohydrology in the Mojave Desert.

METER established the Grant A. Harris Fellowship to support innovation by recognizing graduate students who are contributing to agricultural, environmental, or geotechnical science. Each winner receives $10,000 of METER scientific instrumentation for use in their research.