Title

Acclimation and soil moisture constrain sugar maple root respiration in experimentally warmed soil

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-19-2013

Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Abstract

The response of root respiration to warmer soil can affect ecosystem carbon (C) allocation and the strength of positive feedbacks between climatic warming and soil CO2 efflux. This study sought to determine whether fine-root (<1 mm) respiration in a sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.)-dominated northern hardwood forest would adjust to experimentally warmed soil, reducing C return to the atmosphere at the ecosystem scale to levels lower than that would be expected using an exponential temperature response function. Infrared heating lamps were used to warm the soil (+4 to +5 °C) in a mature sugar maple forest in a fully factorial design, including water additions used to offset the effects of warming-induced dry soil. Fine-rootspecific respiration rates, root biomass, root nitrogen (N) concentration, soil temperature and soil moisture were measured from 2009 to 2011, with experimental treatments conducted from late 2010 to 2011. Partial acclimation of fine-root respiration to soil warming occurred, with soil moisture deficit further constraining specific respiration rates in heated plots. Fineroot biomass and N concentration remained unchanged. Over the 2011 growing season, ecosystem root respiration was not significantly greater in warmed soil. This result would not be predicted by models that allow respiration to increase exponentially with temperature and do not directly reduce root respiration in drier soil.

Publication Title

Tree Physiology

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