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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.:
Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER); National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC)
OSTI Identifier:
1419621
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1362227; OSTI ID: 1400473
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0012003; AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
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:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; roots; mycorrhizas; plant functional traits

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. https://doi.org/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. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.14459. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1419621.
@article{osti_1419621,
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},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1419621}, journal = {New Phytologist},
issn = {0028-646X},
number = 1,
volume = 215,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {3}
}

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Cited by: 11 works
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Works referenced in this record:

Quantitative 3D Analysis of Plant Roots Growing in Soil Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging
journal, January 2016


Carbon cost of plant nitrogen acquisition: global carbon cycle impact from an improved plant nitrogen cycle in the Community Land Model
journal, January 2016


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Let the concept of trait be functional!
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journal, March 2010


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journal, February 2014


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journal, October 2002


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journal, May 2014


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journal, May 2016


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journal, April 2016


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journal, July 2015


Root morphology and mycorrhizal symbioses together shape nutrient foraging strategies of temperate trees
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Neutron imaging reveals internal plant water dynamics
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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Non‐random association patterns in a plant–mycorrhizal fungal network reveal host–symbiont specificity
    journal, May 2018


    Community‐level economics spectrum of fine‐roots driven by nutrient limitations in subalpine forests
    journal, November 2018


    Community‐level economics spectrum of fine‐roots driven by nutrient limitations in subalpine forests
    journal, November 2018


    The scaling of fine root nitrogen versus phosphorus in terrestrial plants: A global synthesis
    journal, August 2019


    Global patterns of dead fine root stocks in forest ecosystems
    journal, April 2018


    Characterizing fine-root traits by species phylogeny and microbial symbiosis in 11 co-existing woody species
    journal, November 2019


    Using plant, microbe, and soil fauna traits to improve the predictive power of biogeochemical models
    journal, October 2018


    Vegetation type controls root turnover in global grasslands: XXXX
    journal, January 2019


    Nutrient acquisition strategies in agroforestry systems
    journal, August 2019


    Intraspecific Fine-Root Trait-Environment Relationships across Interior Douglas-Fir Forests of Western Canada
    journal, June 2019


    Fine-root traits are linked to species dynamics in a successional plant community
    journal, February 2019


    Fine-root morphological trait variation in tropical forest ecosystems: an evidence synthesis
    journal, November 2019


    Rapid increases in fine root biomass and production following cessation of anthropogenic disturbances in degraded forests
    journal, January 2018


    Regional distribution patterns of wetland monocots with different root turnover strategies are associated with local variation in soil temperature
    journal, December 2019


    Using plant, microbe, and soil fauna traits to improve the predictive power of biogeochemical models
    journal, October 2018


    Natural variation on whole‐plant form in the wild is influenced by multivariate soil nutrient characteristics: natural selection acts on root traits
    journal, January 2020


    Fast plants in deep water: introducing the whole‐soil column perspective
    journal, December 2019


    Vegetation type controls root turnover in global grasslands: XXXX
    journal, January 2019


    Evolutionary history resolves global organization of root functional traits
    journal, February 2018


    The scaling of fine root nitrogen versus phosphorus in terrestrial plants: A global synthesis
    journal, August 2019


    Species and root traits impact macroaggregation in the rhizospheric soil of a Mediterranean common garden experiment
    journal, September 2017


    Belowground plant functional ecology: Towards an integrated perspective
    journal, June 2018


    The Responses of Forest Fine Root Biomass/Necromass Ratio to Environmental Factors Depend on Mycorrhizal Type and Latitudinal Region
    journal, May 2018