Plant and Soil

, Volume 364, Issue 1, pp 395–408

Grassland root demography responses to multiple climate change drivers depend on root morphology

Authors

  • R. Pilon
    • INRA, UR874, Grassland Ecosystem Research Team
    • INRA, UR874, Grassland Ecosystem Research Team
  • J. M. G. Bloor
    • INRA, UR874, Grassland Ecosystem Research Team
  • S. Revaillot
    • INRA, UR874, Grassland Ecosystem Research Team
  • E. Kuhn
    • INRA, UR341, Mathématiques et Informatique Appliquées
  • R. Falcimagne
    • INRA, UR874, Grassland Ecosystem Research Team
  • P. Balandier
    • Irstea, Research Unit on Forest Ecosystems (EFNO)
    • INRA, UMR547 PIAF
  • J.-F. Soussana
    • INRA, UR874, Grassland Ecosystem Research Team
Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-012-1371-8

Cite this article as:
Pilon, R., Picon-Cochard, C., Bloor, J.M.G. et al. Plant Soil (2013) 364: 395. doi:10.1007/s11104-012-1371-8

Abstract

Aims

We examine how root system demography and morphology are affected by air warming and multiple, simultaneous climate change drivers.

Methods

Using minirhizotrons, we studied root growth, morphology, median longevity, risk of mortality and standing root pool in the upper soil horizon of a temperate grassland ecosystem for 3 years. Grassland monoliths were subjected to four climate treatments in a replicated additive design: control (C); elevated temperature (T); combined T and summer precipitation reduction (TD); combined TD and elevated atmospheric CO2 (TDCO2).

Results

Air warming (C vs T) and the combined climate change treatment (C vs TDCO2) had a positive effect on root growth rate and standing root pool. However, root responses to climate treatment varied depending on diameter size class. For fine roots (≤ 0.1 mm), new root length and mortality increased under warming but decreased in response to elevated CO2 (TD vs TDCO2); for coarse roots (> 0.2 mm), length and mortality increased under both elevated CO2 and combined climate change drivers.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that the standing roots pool in our grassland system may increase under future climatic conditions. Contrasted behaviour of fine and coarse roots may correspond to differential root activity of these extreme diameter classes in future climate.

Keywords

Root dynamicsWarmingSummer precipitation reductionElevated CO2MinirhizotronRoot lifespanCox proportional hazards

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012