The University of Arizona

A chamber design for measuring net CO2 exchange on rangeland.

R. Angell, T. Svejcar

Abstract


Net carbon exchange of terrestrial ecosystems will likely change as atmospheric CO2 concentration increases. Currently, little is known of the annual dynamics or magnitude of CO2 flux on many native and agricultural ecosystems. Remoteness of many ecosystems has limited our ability to measure CO2 flux on undisturbed vegetation. Today, many plant ecologists have portable photosynthesis systems with which they make single-leaf photosynthesis measurements. Utility of this equipment is enhanced when canopy-level CO2 flux is also measured. We designed a portable 1-m3 closed chamber for use in measuring CO2 exchange in short statured vegetation with widely varied canopy structure. The design includes external ductwork equipped with doors which are used to open the chamber for ventilation with outside air between measurements. The chamber was tested on a Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. Wyomingensis Nutt.)/Thurber's needlegrass (Stipa thurberiana Piper) community using 10 plots equally divided between shrub and interspace. The ductwork and doors provided adequate ventilation to allow consecutive measurements of CO2 flux without removing the chamber from the plot. The chamber could differentiate CO2 flux between plots with sagebrush and those with grass only, even at relatively low fluxes. Net CO2 uptake per unit ground area was greater (P = 0.04) on sagebrush-grass plots (7.6 +/- 1.4 micromoles m-2 s-1) than on interspace plots without sagebrush (3.1 +/- 1.0 micromole m-2 s-1). Chamber and leaf temperature increased by an average of 0.5 and 1.2 degrees C, respectively, during measurements.

Keywords


experimental rigs;field experimentation;biogeochemical cycles;Achnatherum thurberianum;grasslands;carbon dioxide;Artemisia tridentata;plant communities;seasonal variation

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