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Title: Building a better foundation: improving root-trait measurements to understand and model plant and ecosystem processes

Abstract

Trait-based approaches provide a useful framework to investigate plant strategies for resource acquisition, growth, and competition, as well as plant impacts on ecosystem processes. Despite significant progress capturing trait variation within and among stems and leaves, identification of trait syndromes within fine-root systems and between fine roots and other plant organs is limited. Here we discuss three underappreciated areas where focused measurements of fine-root traits can make significant contributions to ecosystem science. These include assessment of spatiotemporal variation in fine-root traits, integration of mycorrhizal fungi into fine-root-trait frameworks, and the need for improved scaling of traits measured on individual roots to ecosystem-level processes. Progress in each of these areas is providing opportunities to revisit how below-ground processes are represented in terrestrial biosphere models. Targeted measurements of fine-root traits with clear linkages to ecosystem processes and plant responses to environmental change are strongly needed to reduce empirical and model uncertainties. Further identifying how and when suites of root and whole-plant traits are coordinated or decoupled will ultimately provide a powerful tool for modeling plant form and function at local and global scales.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [4]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [5];  [6];  [7];  [8]
  1. Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (United States)
  2. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  4. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
  5. Forschungszentrum Julich (Germany)
  6. Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (United States); Univ. of Western Sydney, NSW (Australia). Hawkesbury Inst. for the Environment
  7. Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), Krakow (Poland)
  8. George Washington Univ., Washington, DC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1362227
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
New Phytologist
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 215; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-646X
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

McCormack, M. Luke, Guo, Dali, Iversen, Colleen M., Chen, Weile, Eissenstat, David M., Fernandez, Christopher W., Li, Le, Ma, Chengen, Ma, Zeqing, Poorter, Hendrik, Reich, Peter B., Zadworny, Marcin, and Zanne, Amy. Building a better foundation: improving root-trait measurements to understand and model plant and ecosystem processes. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1111/nph.14459.
McCormack, M. Luke, Guo, Dali, Iversen, Colleen M., Chen, Weile, Eissenstat, David M., Fernandez, Christopher W., Li, Le, Ma, Chengen, Ma, Zeqing, Poorter, Hendrik, Reich, Peter B., Zadworny, Marcin, & Zanne, Amy. Building a better foundation: improving root-trait measurements to understand and model plant and ecosystem processes. United States. doi:10.1111/nph.14459.
McCormack, M. Luke, Guo, Dali, Iversen, Colleen M., Chen, Weile, Eissenstat, David M., Fernandez, Christopher W., Li, Le, Ma, Chengen, Ma, Zeqing, Poorter, Hendrik, Reich, Peter B., Zadworny, Marcin, and Zanne, Amy. Mon . "Building a better foundation: improving root-trait measurements to understand and model plant and ecosystem processes". United States. doi:10.1111/nph.14459. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1362227.
@article{osti_1362227,
title = {Building a better foundation: improving root-trait measurements to understand and model plant and ecosystem processes},
author = {McCormack, M. Luke and Guo, Dali and Iversen, Colleen M. and Chen, Weile and Eissenstat, David M. and Fernandez, Christopher W. and Li, Le and Ma, Chengen and Ma, Zeqing and Poorter, Hendrik and Reich, Peter B. and Zadworny, Marcin and Zanne, Amy},
abstractNote = {Trait-based approaches provide a useful framework to investigate plant strategies for resource acquisition, growth, and competition, as well as plant impacts on ecosystem processes. Despite significant progress capturing trait variation within and among stems and leaves, identification of trait syndromes within fine-root systems and between fine roots and other plant organs is limited. Here we discuss three underappreciated areas where focused measurements of fine-root traits can make significant contributions to ecosystem science. These include assessment of spatiotemporal variation in fine-root traits, integration of mycorrhizal fungi into fine-root-trait frameworks, and the need for improved scaling of traits measured on individual roots to ecosystem-level processes. Progress in each of these areas is providing opportunities to revisit how below-ground processes are represented in terrestrial biosphere models. Targeted measurements of fine-root traits with clear linkages to ecosystem processes and plant responses to environmental change are strongly needed to reduce empirical and model uncertainties. Further identifying how and when suites of root and whole-plant traits are coordinated or decoupled will ultimately provide a powerful tool for modeling plant form and function at local and global scales.},
doi = {10.1111/nph.14459},
journal = {New Phytologist},
issn = {0028-646X},
number = 1,
volume = 215,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {3}
}

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