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Effects of non‐rainfall water inputs on ecosystem functions

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Non‐rainfall water inputs (NRWIs) are the least studied hydrological components in most ecosystems. These NRWI components potentially play an important role in ecosystem dynamics and are particularly important for water‐limited systems. In this review, we summarized recent advances investigating the effects of NRWIs on various ecosystem functions, including vegetation‐water relations, biogeochemical cycling, groundwater recharge, as well as reptile and invertebrate adaptations. We also identified key knowledge gaps such as the mechanisms of NRWIs alleviating vegetation water stress, sources of the NRWI components and their quantitative contributions to ecosystem functions. To better predict the ecosystem responses to climate change especially in drylands, a better understanding and quantification of NRWI contributions is essential. WIREs Water 2017, 4:e1179. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1179

The known non‐rainfall water use of different organisms (the sizes of organisms are not to scale). The numbers underneath each organism category are the selected references on this topic.
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Schematic and photos of selected active and passive fog collector designs. They include Caltech active strand cloud water collector (a), which draws air across a harp with a fan, passive mesh collector (b), Falconer passive harp collector (c) and Juvik passive mesh collector (d).
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A global distribution of the past research work that focus on non‐rainfall inputs (i.e., fog, dew, and water vapor adsorption) in both dryland and non‐dryland ecosystems. AI represents aridity index, which is defined as the ratio of precipitation and potential evapotranspiration.
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Science of Water > Stocks and Flows of Water
Science of Water > Water Extremes
Water and Life > Nature of Freshwater Ecosystems

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