Root production and root turnover in a wet tundra ecosystem, Barrow, Alaska

TitleRoot production and root turnover in a wet tundra ecosystem, Barrow, Alaska
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1975
AuthorsShaver, GR, Billings, WD
JournalEcology
Volume56
Issue2
Pagination401-409
ISBN Number0012-9658
Accession NumberARC337
KeywordsTundra
Abstract

The wet tundra near Barrow, Alaska, is dominated by three species of graminoids: Dupontia fischeri, Carex aquatilis, and Eriophorum angustifolium. Root production, root turnover, and root distribution patterns of these three species were studied by direct observations of growing roots and by analysis of whole, interconnected tiller systems dug from the soil. Root weight per unit length and density of individual tillers were also measured in the field. Production of new roots was found to be strongly correlated with age of individual tillers, each species having a distinctive pattern and phenology. Root turnover rates also varied considerably; the range is from an annual turnover in E. angustifolium to 6—8(10) yr in C. aquatis. An estimated of root turnover on an ecosystem basis is about 100 g ° m—2 ° yr—2, or 25% of the live root biomass. Species with the shallowest and longest lived roots have the greatest weight per unit length of root, and vice versa. Each species has a characteristic root distribution pattern with depth and in relation to the progress of soil thaw.

URLhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/1934970
DOI10.2307/1934970
Short TitleRoot production and root turnover in a wet tundra ecosystem, Barrow, Alaska