IGN 6-6 - Root trait diversity: A key to soil carbon stabilization, but can it be simplified for terrestrial ecosystem models?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
C124, Oregon Convention Center
Christopher B. Blackwood1, Anthony J. Minerovic1 and Oscar J. Valverde-Barrantes1,2, (1)Department of Biological Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, OH, (2)International Center of Tropical Botany, Florida International University, Miami, FL
In many ecosystems, fine roots are the main source of soil organic matter. Yet, most large-scale terrestrial ecosystem models base plant decomposition and soil carbon stabilization on what we know about leaf decomposition. We will argue 1) Root traits important in soil carbon dynamics are not the same as those identified for leaves because roots interact differently with decomposers and physicochemical mechanisms involved in soil carbon stabilization. 2) Root traits are constrained less than leaf traits by plant "economic" strategy, but more by phylogenetic conservatism. This requires thinking about new types of traits using a new biogeographic strategy.