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Title: Plant Root Characteristics and Dynamics in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems, 1960-2012

Plant roots play a critical role in ecosystem function in arctic tundra, but root dynamics in these ecosystems are poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, we synthesized available literature on tundra roots, including their distribution, dynamics, and contribution to ecosystem carbon and nutrient fluxes, and we highlighted key aspects of their representation in terrestrial biosphere models. Across all tundra ecosystems, belowground plant biomass exceeded aboveground biomass, with the exception of polar desert tundra. Roots were shallowly-distributed in the thin layer of soil that thaws annually, and were often found in surface organic soil horizons. Root traits including distribution, chemistry, anatomy, and resource partitioning play an important role in controlling plant species competition, and therefore ecosystem carbon and nutrient fluxes, under changing climatic conditions, but have only been quantified for a small fraction of tundra plants. Further, the annual production and mortality of fine roots are key components of ecosystem processes in tundra, but extant data are sparse. Tundra root traits and dynamics should be the focus of future research efforts. Better representation of the dynamics and characteristics of tundra roots will improve the utility of models for evaluating the responses of tundra ecosystems to changing environmental conditions.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Product Type:
Dataset
Research Org(s):
Next Generation Ecosystems Experiment - Arctic, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (US)
Collaborations:
PNL, BNL,ANL,ORNL
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
Subject:
54 Environmental Sciences; ngee: ngee-arctic; arctic; tundra; fine roots; root biomass; root production; root turnover; plant-soil; model
OSTI Identifier:
1114222

Iversen, Colleen, Sloan, Victoria, Sullivan, Patrick, Euskirchen, Eugenie, McGuire, David, Norby, Richard, Walker, Anthony, Warren, Jeffrey, and Wullschleger, Stan. Plant Root Characteristics and Dynamics in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems, 1960-2012. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.5440/1114222.
Iversen, Colleen, Sloan, Victoria, Sullivan, Patrick, Euskirchen, Eugenie, McGuire, David, Norby, Richard, Walker, Anthony, Warren, Jeffrey, & Wullschleger, Stan. Plant Root Characteristics and Dynamics in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems, 1960-2012. United States. doi:10.5440/1114222.
Iversen, Colleen, Sloan, Victoria, Sullivan, Patrick, Euskirchen, Eugenie, McGuire, David, Norby, Richard, Walker, Anthony, Warren, Jeffrey, and Wullschleger, Stan. 2014. "Plant Root Characteristics and Dynamics in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems, 1960-2012". United States. doi:10.5440/1114222. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1114222.
@misc{osti_1114222,
title = {Plant Root Characteristics and Dynamics in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems, 1960-2012},
author = {Iversen, Colleen and Sloan, Victoria and Sullivan, Patrick and Euskirchen, Eugenie and McGuire, David and Norby, Richard and Walker, Anthony and Warren, Jeffrey and Wullschleger, Stan},
abstractNote = {Plant roots play a critical role in ecosystem function in arctic tundra, but root dynamics in these ecosystems are poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, we synthesized available literature on tundra roots, including their distribution, dynamics, and contribution to ecosystem carbon and nutrient fluxes, and we highlighted key aspects of their representation in terrestrial biosphere models. Across all tundra ecosystems, belowground plant biomass exceeded aboveground biomass, with the exception of polar desert tundra. Roots were shallowly-distributed in the thin layer of soil that thaws annually, and were often found in surface organic soil horizons. Root traits including distribution, chemistry, anatomy, and resource partitioning play an important role in controlling plant species competition, and therefore ecosystem carbon and nutrient fluxes, under changing climatic conditions, but have only been quantified for a small fraction of tundra plants. Further, the annual production and mortality of fine roots are key components of ecosystem processes in tundra, but extant data are sparse. Tundra root traits and dynamics should be the focus of future research efforts. Better representation of the dynamics and characteristics of tundra roots will improve the utility of models for evaluating the responses of tundra ecosystems to changing environmental conditions.},
doi = {10.5440/1114222},
year = {2014},
month = {1} }
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