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Fine roots of the trees are significantly younger than expected
September 4, 2018



Annual rings in cross sections of fine roots (Image author: Dr. Emily Solly, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland)
International researchers used a new method to determine the age of fine roots with which trees absorb water and nutrients. In the recently published study, they found that the already short-lived fine roots are on average 10 years younger than previously assumed. In conventional analyses, roots appear older, since trees can also use older carbon from storage organs to form roots. The research team, with the participation of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, suspects a survival strategy for trees for dry periods behind this type of carbon utilization.

For the English press release, please visit the webpage of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL:
https://www.wsl.ch/en/news/2018/08/researchers-unravel-the-age-of-fine-tree-roots.html

Original publication
Solly, E. F., Brunner, I., Helmisaari, H.-S., Herzog, C., Leppälammi-Kujansuu, J., Schöning, I., Schrumpf, M., Schweingruber, F. H., Trumbore, S. E., Hagedorn, F. (2018). Unravelling the age of fine roots of temperate and boreal forests. Nature Communications, 9(1).
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05460-6

Contact at Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry:
Dr. Marion Schrumpf, group leader Soil Biogeochemistry
Phone: +49 3641 57 6182, E-mail: mschrumpf@bgc-jena.mpg.de

Dr. Ingo Schöning, scientist
Phone: +49 3641 57 6191, E-mail: ingo.schoening@bgc-jena.mpg.de

Prof Susan Trumbore, director, department Biogeochemical Processes
Phone: +49 3641 57 6110, E-mail: trumbore@bgc-jena.mpg.de


Link to the original publication
English press release by WSL




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