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Forest belowground carbon transport: From rhizosphere fluxes to physiological drivers

Descrizione del progetto

Nuovo metodo per scoprire i flussi di carbonio sotterranei

Per facilitare le previsioni sullo stoccaggio del carbonio in un contesto di climi e foreste mutevoli, gli scienziati stanno osservando gli alberi. Le dinamiche di allocazione del carbonio degli alberi sono importanti, non solo per l’ecofisiologia degli alberi, ma anche per la biogeochimica globale. Nonostante le ricerche approfondite sui flussi di carbonio degli alberi in superficie, poco si sa su ciò che sta accadendo sotto terra. Il progetto RHIZOCARBON, finanziato dall’UE, approfondirà il flusso di carbonio sotterraneo studiando la respirazione delle radici e la crescita e l’essudazione. Saranno applicati modelli computazionali al fine di identificare i requisiti evolutivi per lo sviluppo del trasferimento di carbonio sotterraneo. Per tracciare il trasporto sotterraneo di carbonio, il progetto applicherà una nuova metodologia di misurazione combinata continua in vivo dell’allocazione del carbonio 13CO2 e del tasso di flusso.


Trees are unique in that responses at the organism level, being upscaled to forest canopies, bear large effects on the cycling and distribution of water and carbon in regional and global scales. Hence, tree carbon allocation dynamics are central not only to tree eco-physiology but also to global biogeochemistry. While tree aboveground carbon fluxes have been extensively studied, belowground fluxes, such as root respiration, growth and exudation have been mostly overlooked due to poor access to the root system. This project is set to address this knowledge disparity by answering key questions concerning belowground carbon flow.
In one line of research, we will study the trees' “in-house” management of carbon flow, inspired by our recently achieved first comprehensive tree carbon balance calculation, which indicates that carbon reserves serve as a buffer that accommodates large fluctuations in carbon supply and demand. This will be complemented by an exploration of the inter-tree carbon supply network of mycorrhizal fungi routes, an investigation prompted by our discovery that mature trees in a mixed forest transfer unprecedented amounts of carbon among each other via fungal networks. Computational models will be applied to identify the evolutionary requirements for the development of belowground carbon transfer in a mycorrhizal network.
We will dive into the highly complex soil system not in an artificial medium system – but in a mixed forest site, complemented by greenhouse experiments simulating forest tree communities. To trace below-ground carbon transport, we will apply our novel methodology of continuous, in vivo, combined measurement of 13CO2 carbon allocation and flux rate.
This novel ‘rhizosphere expedition’ will decipher the key belowground carbon transport processes, shedding light on the extent to which trees and fungi regulate them and facilitating predictions of carbon storage in changing climate and forests.

Meccanismo di finanziamento

ERC-STG - Starting Grant


Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 1 500 000,00
Herzl street 234
7610001 Rehovot

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Tipo di attività
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Altri finanziamenti
€ 0,00

Beneficiari (1)