Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Method of Studying Roots Rarely Used in Wetlands Improves Ecosystem Research

17.10.2011
A method of monitoring roots rarely used in wetlands will help Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers effectively study the response of a high-carbon ecosystem to elevated temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide.

Colleen Iversen, ORNL ecosystem ecologist, and an international group of experts, worked to develop a consensus on the use of minirhizotrons, or tiny video cameras that take images of roots, in wetlands. Minirhizotrons are an improvement over previous technology because they don't harm the plants and allow researchers to examine a living root in the context of a soil environment.

“One of the benefits of minirhizotron technology is the ability to track the birth and death of individual roots,” said Iversen. “Root activity is integral to plant survival in wetlands that store a substantial amount of carbon in deep soil organic matter deposits but have limited nutrients available for plant uptake and use.”

Ultimately, the minirhizotrons will be placed in a black spruce bog in Minnesota, the site for the multi-year experiment SPRUCE, or Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and Environmental Change. Chambers placed in the site will allow researchers to manipulate air and soil temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide in an intact bog – a wetland that accumulates a deposit of dead plant material.

Understanding and improving the capabilities of these mini cameras will help the SPRUCE researchers study fine roots, which are responsible for plant water and nutrient uptake.

“Minirhizotrons are the best way to get at the dynamics of this short-lived and important root population, especially in a long-term experiment like SPRUCE where we can’t be too destructive in our soil measurements,” Iversen said.

One of the reasons scientists are interested in high-carbon ecosystems like the Minnesota bog is because they cover only three percent of global land surface, but store nearly one-third of terrestrial carbon. If the planet continues to warm, researchers hypothesize that bogs will dry out and more oxygen will be made available for microbial decomposition, which could lead to a massive release of carbon into the atmosphere, resulting in more warming.

Additionally, more precise studies of roots will help researchers effectively model roots and be able to better predict what role they will play in nutrient cycling and storing carbon belowground.

The paper, titled “Advancing the use of minirhizotrons in wetlands,” was published recently in Plant and Soil. In addition to Iversen and J. Childs at ORNL, other authors include M.T. Murphy of McGill University; M.F. Allen of the University of California, Riverside; D.M. Eissenstat of Pennsylvania State University; E.A. Lilleskov of the USDA Forest Service; T.M. Sarjala of the Finnish Forest Research Institute; V.L. Sloan of the University of Sheffield; and P.F. Sullivan of the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

Funding for this research was provided by the U.S. DOE Office of Science and the New Phytologist Trust. SPRUCE is a DOE Office of Science-funded effort operated by ORNL and USDA Forest Service scientists.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science.

The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the Unites States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit the Office of Science website http://science.energy.gov/.

Emma Macmillan | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ornl.gov

Further reports about: Forest Service ORNL SPRUCE Wetlands ecosystem video camera

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>