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Root responses along a subambient to elevated CO2 gradient in a C3–C4 grassland

Anderson LJ, JD Derner, HW Polley, WS Gordon, DM Eissenstat, RB Jackson
Global Change Biology
Journal Volume/Pages: 
16: 454–468

Atmospheric CO2 (Ca) concentration has increased significantly during the last 20,000 years, and is projected to double this century. Despite the importance of belowground processes in the global carbon cycle, community-level and single species root responses to rising Ca are not well understood. We measured net community root biomass over 3 years using ingrowth cores in a natural C3–C4 grassland exposed to a gradient of Ca from preglacial to future levels (230–550 µmol mol-1). Root windows and minirhizotron tubes were installed below naturally occurring stands of the C4 perennial grass Bothriochloa ischaemum and its roots were measured for respiration, carbohydrate concentration, specific root length (SRL), production, and lifespan over 2 years. Community root biomass increased significantly (P

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