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Growth and vitality of fine roots of Norway spruce as influenced by experimental and natural drought

DFG FOR 562 TP 9: (2008-2011)

From 04/2008 to 12/2011

Principal Investigator: Christoph Leuschner, Dietrich Hertel
Staff: Gabriele Hammes

Norway spruce is one of the two economically most important tree species of Central Europe. However, this species is known to be particularly drought-sensitive and, thus, is possibly threatened by a higher frequency of summer droughts under a changing climate. Based on the results obtained in a drought experiment in the first phase of the Research Group, this project investigates the dependency on soil moisture of growth, mortality and morphology of spruce fine roots with a multi-scale approach, including a pot experiment with saplings, a field experiment in the Coulissenhieb stand, and a gradient study in 10 mature spruce stands differing in precipitation amount. Key hypotheses to be tested refer to effects of soil moisture and drought on fine root biomass in spruce stands, fine root morphology, root growth and death, and carbon flux from root to the soil via root death. A broad set of root investigation techniques will be applied including mini-rhizotrons, ingrowth core and root coring studies, and root necromass litter bags. The project will closely cooperate with the projects 5, 6, 7, and 10 in the moisture manipulation experiments at the Coulissenhieb site, and with TP8 on the whole multi-scale approach to compare the drought effects on the fine root system and symbiotic EM fungi as well as saprophytic AM fungi.

last modified 2008-04-08