Two plots showing measurements of soil and ecosystem metabolism
Measurements of soil and ecosystem metabolism from the soil chambers (red lines) and flux towers (black lines), respectively, and their difference (blue line), highlight the differing role of soil in driving seasonal dynamics of respiration (left) but aboveground processes dominating the daily cycle. Credit: Renchon et al. [2021], Figure 2
Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

Ecosystem respiration from plants, microorganisms, and animals together makes up one of the largest flows in the global carbon cycle. Researchers have gone to great lengths to develop ways to automate high-frequency measurements of these processes. Yet, two of the more common state-of-the-art techniques, soil chambers and eddy covariance flux towers, disagree on the magnitude and daily to seasonal variation of this term at many sites worldwide.

Renchon et al. [2021] deploy a long time period of automated high-frequency soil chamber measurements near an eddy covariance flux tower in a eucalypt woodland in Australia. The towers reveal large daily and seasonal variation, while the chambers only have large variation at the seasonal scale. While the results would be consistent with aboveground plants driving daily variation in respiration, a closer reveal suggests systematic bias in the flux tower measurements or processing methodology.

Citation: Renchon, A. A., Drake, J. E., Macdonald, C. A., Sihi, D., Hinko‐Najera, N., Tjoelker, M. G., et al. [2021]. Concurrent measurements of soil and ecosystem respiration in a mature eucalypt woodland: Advantages, lessons, and questions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 126, e2020JG006221.

―Ankur Rashmikant Desai, Editor, JGR: Biogeosciences

Text © 2021. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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