Effect of elevated CO2 on coarse-root biomass in Florida scrub detected by ground-penetrating radar

  • Authors: Stover, Daniel B.; Day, Frank P.; Butnor, John R; Drake, Bert G.
  • Publication Year: 2007
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Ecology, Vol. 88(5): 1328-1334

Abstract

Growth and distribution of coarse roots in time and space represent a gap in our understanding of belowground ecology. Large roots may play a critical role in carbon sequestration belowground. Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), we quantified coarseroot biomass from an open-top chamber experiment in a scrub-oak ecosystem at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA. GPR propagates electromagnetic waves directly into the soil and reflects a portion of the energy when a buried object is contacted. In our study, we utilized a 1500 MHz antenna to establish correlations between GPR signals and root biomass. A significant relationship was found between GPR signal reflectance and biomass (R2 ¼ 0.68). This correlation was applied to multiple GPR scans taken from each open-top chamber (elevated and ambient CO2). Our results showed that plots receiving elevated CO2 had significantly (P ¼ 0.049) greater coarse-root biomass compared to ambient plots, suggesting that coarse roots may play a large role in carbon sequestration in scrub-oak ecosystems. This nondestructive method holds much promise for rapid and repeatable quantification of coarse roots, which are currently the most elusive aspect of long-term belowground studies.

  • Citation: Stover, Daniel B.; Day, Frank P.; Butnor, John R; Drake, Bert G. 2007. Effect of elevated CO2 on coarse-root biomass in Florida scrub detected by ground-penetrating radar. Ecology, Vol. 88(5): 1328-1334
  • Keywords: carbon dioxide, coarse-root biomass, ground-penetrating radar, roots, scrub oak
  • Posted Date: May 1, 2007
  • Modified Date: May 2, 2007
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