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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #226234

Title: Respiratory Response of Roots to Heterogeneous Soil Conditions

item Bryla, David

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2008
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Citation: Bryla, D.R. 2008. Respiratory response of roots to heterogeneous soil conditions. HortScience. 43:1054.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Individual plant roots are frequently exposed to wide ranges of soil conditions. For example, in summer, soil temperatures near the soil surface may vary from 10-20 C at night to over 40 C during the day, while soil moisture may vary from saturation following a heavy rain to almost completely dry in a few days without rain or irrigation. Conditions also vary throughout the soil profile where fluctuation in soil temperature generally declines with depth and soil water availability increases with depth and distance from the plant. These differences and changes in soil conditions heavily influence the physiology and function of the roots, thereby affecting plant growth and production. Should soil conditions remain unfavorable for water or nutrient uptake (e.g., drought or cold temperatures), roots may be shed; otherwise, they must be maintained at a cost to the plant. In this session, we will examine the effects of spatiotemporal heterogeneity in soil water and temperature on root respiration. Specifically, we will explore the response of individual roots to both short- and long-term changes in temperature and soil moisture and will identify strategies used by plants to maximize root efficiency under unfavorable soil conditions. Such information is important to plant growth modeling and predicting global climate change effects.