Alan Gray is the Editor-in-Chief of Baret News. He is fanatical about spelling and grammar, but sometimes has problems with American word usage, such as "momentarily." When told his plane will land momentarily, he expects a "touch and go" landing, not to land in a few moments!

A method of monitoring roots rarely used in wetlands will help Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers 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, developed a consensus on the use of minirhizotrons, or tiny video cameras that take images of roots, in wetlands.

This is an improvement over previous technology since it does not harm plants and allows 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.”

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.

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 below ground.

 

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Alan Gray is the Editor-in-Chief of Baret News. He is fanatical about spelling and grammar, but sometimes has problems with American word usage, such as "momentarily."

When told his plane will land momentarily, he expects a "touch and go" landing, not to land in a few moments!