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Effect of drought and irrigation on the roots and the root decomposition of Scots pine

English title Effect of drought and irrigation on the roots and the root decomposition of Scots pine
Applicant Brunner Ivano
Number 149507
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Swiss Federal Research Inst. WSL Direktion
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Start/End 01.02.2014 - 31.07.2017
Approved amount 279'529.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences

Keywords (7)

drought - irrigation; root lignin/N ratio; pyrosequencing; 13CO2 pulse-labelling; lignin monomers; decomposing fungi and bacteria; Pinus sylvestris

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Als Folge des Klimawandels sind die Trockenperioden in den inner-alpinen Trockentälern länger geworden. Im Wallis hat dies zu einer deutlich erhöhten Sterberate der Waldföhre geführt. Aus diesem Grund wurde im Walliser 'Pfynwald' ein Bewässerungsexperiment initiiert, um den Einfluss des Wassers auf die Vitalität und die Sterblichkeit der Föhren zu untersuchen. Obwohl dieses Experiment schon seit rund 10 Jahre läuft, ist noch wenig über die Prozesse im Boden bekannt.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Das vorliegende Projekt hat zum Ziel, Wachstum und Zersetzung der Föhrenwurzeln im 'Pfynwald'-Experiment zu untersuchen. Wir stellen die Hypothese auf, dass die Wurzeln, je nach Feuchtigkeitsgrad des Bodens, einem unterschiedlichen Zersetzungsprozess unterworfen sind. Die Anwendung modernster Technologien ermöglicht es, die Schlüsselorganismen der Streuzersetzung zu identifizieren, und die Verwendung des stabilen Kohlenstoffisotops 13C erlaubt es, die Dynamik der 13C-markierten Ligninkomponenten der Wurzeln während des Zersetzungsprozesses zu verfolgen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Dieses Projekt bringt neue Einblicke in die Eigenschaften von Baumwurzeln und deren Beitrag zum Kohlenstoff- und Nährstoffkreislauf in Waldböden. Mit der Verknüpfung dieser Untersuchungen an einen Waldstandort in einer klimatisch trockenen Region der Schweiz können die Auswirkungen von unterschiedlich feuchten Bodenbedingungen auf die Wurzelzersetzung und deren Konsequenzen für das Bodenökosystem, insbesondere die Biodiversität, abgeschätzt werden. Solch ein verbessertes Verständnis ist wichtig, um die Folgen des Klimawandels besser zu beurteilen und geeignete Bewirtschaftungen für die Zukunft vorzuschlagen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 04.10.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
A decade of irrigation transforms the soil microbiome of a semi-arid pine forest
Hartmann Martin, Brunner Ivano, Hagedorn Frank, Bardgett Richard D., Stierli Beat, Herzog Claude, Chen Xiamei, Zingg Andreas, Graf-Pannatier Elisabeth, Rigling Andreas, Frey Beat (2017), A decade of irrigation transforms the soil microbiome of a semi-arid pine forest, in Molecular Ecology, 26(4), 1190-1206.
How tree roots respond to drought
Brunner Ivano, Herzog Claude, Dawes Melissa A., Arend Matthias, Sperisen Christoph (2015), How tree roots respond to drought, in Frontiers in Plant Science, 6, 547-16.
Nine Years of Irrigation Cause Vegetation and Fine Root Shifts in a Water-Limited Pine Forest
Herzog Claude, Steffen Jan, Graf Pannatier Elisabeth, Hajdas Irka, Brunner Ivano (2014), Nine Years of Irrigation Cause Vegetation and Fine Root Shifts in a Water-Limited Pine Forest, in PLoS ONE, 9(5), e96321-11.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Grassland Science/Institute of Agricultural Sciences ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
AMS facilities ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Centre AgroParisTech - iEES Paris France (Europe)
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Forest Dynamics/WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Forest Soils and Biogeochemistry/WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Central Laboratory/WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
WoodyRoot7 - 7th Int. Symposium on Physiological Processes in Roots of Woody Plants Talk given at a conference The root of the matter - decomposition of Scots pine roots and its microbial communities 26.06.2017 Tartu, Estonia Brunner Ivano;
ISME 2016 - 16th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology Poster A decade of irrigation transforms the soil microbiome of a semi-arid pine forest 21.08.2016 Montreal, Canada Herzog Claude;
Ecology of Soil Microorganisms Conference 2015 Poster Shifts of C and N isotopes in fruiting bodies of fungi after 12 years of irrigation of a semi-arid pine forest 29.11.2015 Prag, Czech Republic Brunner Ivano;
ISRR 2015 - 9th International Symposium of the ISRR (Int. Soc. Root Research) Talk given at a conference Long-term irrigation affects root growth and decomposition in a drought stressed Alpine Scots pine forest 06.10.2015 Canberra, Australia Herzog Claude;
SOM 2015 - 5th International Symposium on Soil Organic Matter Talk given at a conference Long-term irrigation affects root growth and decomposition in a drought stressed Alpine Scots pine forest 20.09.2015 Göttingen, Germany Herzog Claude; Brunner Ivano;
BIOGEOMON 2014 - 8th Int. Symp. on Ecosystem Behavior Poster Nine years of irrigation cause vegetation and fine root shifts in a water-limited pine forest 13.07.2014 Bayreuth, Germany Herzog Claude; Brunner Ivano;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Licht ins Dunkel des Pfynwalds WSL-News German-speaking Switzerland International Western Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
135233 Organic matter dynamics in the plant-soil system under drought: investigating the importance of roots in the soil carbon stabilization using 13C, 2H, 18O Multi-isotope-labelling technique 01.05.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)
138321 Quantifying microbial primary production and allochthonous organic carbon input in newly deglaciated land 01.04.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Temperature in Switzerland has risen by 1.6°C over the last 100 years. Thus, an extraordinarily high tree mortality of Scots pine has been observed in the southern regions of Switzerland, and below 1100 m a.s.l. mortality of Scots pine has exceeded the 1% level which is significantly higher than the 0.4% of managed forests in Switzerland. From the literature there are indications that roots react with increased lignin contents due to drought. Thus, with an elevated lignin/N ratio, the decomposability of the roots might be hampered, which subsequently would influence belowground C and nutrients dynamics in the forest soils.In this project, we focus on the responses of the roots and the root litter decomposition to drought and non-drought (irrigated) conditions. The experimental setup at ‘Pfynwald’ in the Valais, after a decade of an irrigation treatment, offers the unique opportunity to investigate the consequences of drought / irrigation to the roots of Scots pines. The combination of the element concentrations with the longevity of the roots allows the investigation of the impact of the treatments on the belowground C and nutrient fluxes. We hypothesise that roots, growing under drought conditions, have altered lignin/N ratios, which directly affects the decomposability of the root litter. In order to address this question, litterbag experiments will be conducted in the ‘Pfynwald’ over two years with root litter from both, the control and the irrigated treatment. By measuring the change of the lignin monomers, obtained after a CuO oxidation, the fate of the lignin shall be followed in dependence on time and water availability. The application of the new technology 454-pyrosequencing on the root litter further allows the identification of the bacterial and fungal key players in the decomposition. A second experimental setup in the greenhouse, applying a 13CO2 pulse label to young Scots pine trees under a drought and a non-drought (irrigated) treatment, further enables the observation of the incorporation of the 13C-label into the lignin monomers under various conditions. And finally, a decomposition study using the 13C-labelled roots carrying the 13C-labelled lignin monomers and using two different types of fungi, a white-rot and a brown-rot fungus, allows the analysis of the different decomposition stages and the changes of the lignin monomers over time. This project brings novel insights into tree roots and their contribution to the C and nutrient cycling of forest soils. We will use for the first time different types of roots and characterise its decomposition with the use of lignin ‘fingerprints’ in connection with their decomposing microorganisms. It is expected that environmental conditions will further change and that extreme climatic events will affect belowground C and nutrient dynamics in forests. With linking these investigations to a forest site in a climatic dry region in Switzerland, the effects of altered soil water conditions on the root quality and its consequences to the soil ecosystem (biodiversity) can be estimated directly in the field. Such an improved understanding is necessary in order to assess accurately the consequences of climatic change and to suggest management options if necessary.
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