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This content will become publicly available on September 9, 2018

Title: Quantifying root water extraction after drought recovery using sub-mm in situ empirical data

Root-specific responses to stress are not well-known, and have been largely based on indirect measurements of bulk soil water extraction, which limits mechanistic modeling of root function. Here, we used neutron radiography to examine in situ root-soil water dynamics of a previously droughted black cottonwood ( Populus trichocarpa) seedling, contrasting water uptake by younger, thinner or older, thicker parts of the fine root system. The smaller diameter roots had greater water uptake capacity per unit surface area than the larger diameter roots, but they had less total surface area leading to less total water extraction; rates ranged from 0.0027 – 0.0116 g cm -2 hr -1. The finest most-active roots were not visible in the radiographs, indicating the need to include destructive sampling. Analysis based on bulk soil hydraulic properties indicated substantial redistribution of water via saturated/unsaturated flow, capillary wicking, and root hydraulic redistribution across the layers - suggesting water uptake dynamics following an infiltration event may be more complex than approximated by common soil hydraulic or root surface area modeling approaches. Lastly, our results highlight the need for continued exploration of root-trait specific water uptake rates in situ, and impacts of roots on soil hydraulic properties – both criticalmore » components for mechanistic modeling of root function.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Plant and Soil
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 424; Journal Issue: 1-2; Journal ID: ISSN 0032-079X
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) (SC-27); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; Neutron radiography; Modeling; Populus; Hydraulic redistribution; Rhizosphere; Water uptake
OSTI Identifier: