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 Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>