Advancing the use of minirhizotrons in wetlands

C. M. Iversen, M. T. Murphy, M. F. Allen, J. Childs, D. M. Eissenstat, E. A. Lilleskov, T. M. Sarjala, V. L. Sloan, P. F. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: Wetlands store a substantial amount of carbon (C) in deep soil organic matter deposits, and play an important role in global fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane. Fine roots (i. e., ephemeral roots that are active in water and nutrient uptake) are recognized as important components of biogeochemical cycles in nutrient-limited wetland ecosystems. However, quantification of fine-root dynamics in wetlands has generally been limited to destructive approaches, possibly because of methodological difficulties associated with the unique environmental, soil, and plant community characteristics of these systems. Non-destructive minirhizotron technology has rarely been used in wetland ecosystems. Scope: Our goal was to develop a consensus on, and a methodological framework for, the appropriate installation and use of minirhizotron technology in wetland ecosystems. Here, we discuss a number of potential solutions for the challenges associated with the deployment of minirhizotron technology in wetlands, including minirhizotron installation and anchorage, capture and analysis of minirhizotron images, and upscaling of minirhizotron data for analysis of biogeochemical pools and parameterization of land surface models. Conclusions: The appropriate use of minirhizotron technology to examine relatively understudied fine-root dynamics in wetlands will advance our knowledge of ecosystem C and nutrient cycling in these globally important ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Advancing the use of minirhizotrons in wetlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this