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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2011, Vol.10(2), p.654
    Description: The unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function is the dominant material property for modeling soil water dynamics. Because it is difficult to measure directly, it is often derived from the water retention characteristic combined with a geometric model of the pore space. In this study, we developed an automated, simple multistep flux (MSF) experiment to directly measure unsaturated conductivities, K(psi (sub m) ), at a number of water potentials, psi (sub m) , using the experimental setup of classical multistep outflow (MSO) experiments. In contrast to the MSO experiment, the MSF experiment measures the conductivity directly at a spatially constant water potential assuming macroscopically homogeneous materials. Additionally, the proposed method reveals the hysteresis of K(psi (sub m) ) with respect to increasing and decreasing water potentials as well as the temporal dynamics of K(psi (sub m) ) during transient-flow conditions. This temporal behavior is explained by the dynamics of fluid configurations at the pore scale during drainage and imbibition leading to hydraulic nonequilibrium. It may provoke a systematic underestimation of hydraulic conductivity using inverse optimization of K(psi (sub m) ) based on classical MSO experiments. The new approach will improve the determination of K(psi (sub m) ) and it provides an experimental tool to quantify the effects of hydraulic nonequilibrium under transient conditions.
    Keywords: Hydrogeology ; Experimental Studies ; Geometry ; Ground Water ; Hydraulic Conductivity ; Hysteresis ; Inverse Problem ; Mathematical Methods ; Measurement ; Models ; Movement ; Optimization ; Phase Equilibria ; Soils ; Unsaturated Zone;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Computers and Geosciences, 2010, Vol.36(10), pp.1246-1251
    Description: For many analyses, grey scale images from X-ray tomography and other sources need to be segmented into objects and background which often is a difficult task and afflicted by an arbitrary and subjective choice of threshold values. This is especially true if the volume fraction of objects is small and the histogram becomes unimodal. Bi-level segmentation based on region growing is a promising approach to cope with the fuzzy transition zone between object and background due to the partial volume effect, but until now there is no method to properly determine the required thresholds in case of unimodality. We propose an automatic and robust technique for threshold selection based on edge detection. The method uses gradient masks which are defined as regions of interest for the determination of threshold values. Its robustness is analysed by a systematic performance test and finally demonstrated for the segmentation of pores in different soils using images from X-ray tomography.
    Keywords: Segmentation ; Thresholding ; Edge Detection ; Region Growing ; Tomography ; Geology
    ISSN: 0098-3004
    E-ISSN: 1873-7803
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2014, Vol.13(8), p.0
    Description: Root system architecture and associated root–soil interactions exhibit large changes over time. Nondestructive methods for the quantification of root systems and their temporal development are needed to improve our understanding of root activity in natural soils. X-ray computed tomography (X-ray CT) was used to visualize and quantify growth of a single Vicia faba L. root system during a drying period. The plant was grown under controlled conditions in a sandy soil mixture and imaged every second day. Minkowski functionals and Euclidean distance transform were used to quantify root architectural traits. We were able to image the root system with water content decreasing from 29.6 to 6.75%. Root length was slightly underestimated compared with destructive measurements. Based on repeated measurements over time it was possible to quantify the dynamics of root growth and the demography of roots along soil depth. Measurement of Euclidean distances from any point within the soil to the nearest root surface yielded a frequency distribution of travel distances for water and nutrients towards roots. Our results demonstrate that a meaningful quantitative characterization of root systems and their temporal dynamics is possible.
    Keywords: Agriculture;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2011, Vol.10(3), p.988
    Description: Recent studies have shown that rhizosphere hydraulic properties may differ from those of the bulk soil. Specifically, mucilage at the root-soil interface may increase the rhizosphere water holding capacity and hydraulic conductivity during drying. The goal of this study was to point out the implications of such altered rhizosphere hydraulic properties for soil-plant water relations. We addressed this problem through modeling based on a steady-rate approach. We calculated the water flow toward a single root assuming that the rhizosphere and bulk soil were two concentric cylinders having different hydraulic properties. Based on our previous experimental results, we assumed that the rhizosphere had higher water holding capacity and unsaturated conductivity than the bulk soil. The results showed that the water potential gradients in the rhizosphere were much smaller than in the bulk soil. The consequence is that the rhizosphere attenuated and delayed the drop in water potential in the vicinity of the root surface when the soil dried. This led to increased water availability to plants, as well as to higher effective conductivity under unsaturated conditions. The reasons were two: (i) thanks to the high unsaturated conductivity of the rhizosphere, the radius of water uptake was extended from the root to the rhizosphere surface; and (ii) thanks to the high soil water capacity of the rhizosphere, the water depletion in the bulk soil was compensated by water depletion in the rhizosphere. We conclude that under the assumed conditions, the rhizosphere works as an optimal hydraulic conductor and as a reservoir of water that can be taken up when water in the bulk soil becomes limiting.
    Keywords: Agriculture;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: SOIL, 2018, Vol.4(1), pp.83-92
    Description: The central importance of soil for the functioning of terrestrial systems is increasingly recognized. Critically relevant for water quality, climate control, nutrient cycling and biodiversity, soil provides more functions than just the basis for agricultural production. Nowadays, soil is increasingly under pressure as a limited resource for the production of food, energy and raw materials. This has led to an increasing demand for concepts assessing soil functions so that they can be adequately considered in decision-making aimed at sustainable soil management. The various soil science disciplines have progressively developed highly sophisticated methods to explore the multitude of physical, chemical and biological processes in soil. It is not obvious, however, how the steadily improving insight into soil processes may contribute to the evaluation of soil functions. Here, we present to a new systemic modeling framework that allows for a consistent coupling between reductionist yet observable indicators for soil functions with detailed process understanding. It is based on the mechanistic relationships between soil functional attributes, each explained by a network of interacting processes as derived from scientific evidence. The non-linear character of these interactions produces stability and resilience of soil with respect to functional characteristics. We anticipate that this new conceptional framework will integrate the various soil science disciplines and help identify important future research questions at the interface between disciplines. It allows the overwhelming complexity of soil systems to be adequately coped with and paves the way for steadily improving our capability to assess soil functions based on scientific understanding.
    Keywords: Soil Stability ; Evaluation ; Agricultural Production ; Modelling ; Agricultural Management ; Biodiversity ; Soil Stability ; Food Production ; Water Quality ; Raw Materials ; Biological Activity ; Decision Making ; Soil Improvement ; Soil Science ; Terrestrial Environments ; Interactions ; Water Quality ; Soil Management ; Modelling ; Raw Materials ; Raw Materials ; Soil Sciences ; Water Quality ; Soils ; Framework ; Stability ; Nutrient Cycles ; Mathematical Models ; Agricultural Production ; Biodiversity ; Nutrients (Mineral) ; Soils ; Decision Making ; Water Quality ; Biodiversity ; Biodiversity;
    ISSN: SOIL
    E-ISSN: 2199-398X
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2009, Vol.8(3), p.805
    Description: It has been speculated that during periods of water deficit, roots may shrink and lose contact with the soil, with a consequent reduction in root water uptake. Due to the opaque nature of soil, however, this process has never been observed in situ for living plants. Through x-ray tomography and image analysis, we have demonstrated the formation and dynamics of air gaps around roots. The high spatial resolution required to image the soil–root gaps was achieved by combining tomography of the entire sample (field of view of 16 by 16 cm, pixel side 0.32 mm) with local tomography of the soil region around the roots (field of view of 5 by 5 cm, pixel side 0.09 mm). For a sandy soil, we found that when the soil dries to a water content of 0.025 m3 m–3, gaps occur around the taproot and the lateral roots of lupin (Lupinus albus L.). Gaps were larger for the taproot than the laterals and were caused primarily by root shrinkage rather than by soil shrinkage. When the soil was irrigated again, the roots swelled, partially refilling the gaps; however, large gaps persisted in the more proximal, older part of the taproot. Gaps are expected to reduce water transfers between soil and roots. Opening and closing of gaps may help plants to prevent water loss when the soil dries, and to restore the soil–root continuity when water becomes available. The persistence of gaps in the more proximal parts is one reason why roots preferentially take up water from their more distal parts. ; Includes references ; p. 805-809.
    Keywords: Soil Water Content ; Roots ; Soil-Plant Interactions ; Shrinkage ; Plants ; Translocation (Plant Physiology) ; Lupinus Albus ; Forage Legumes ; Spatial Variation ; Drought ; Water Stress ; Sandy Soils ; Water Uptake ; Computed Tomography ; Forage Crops ; Image Analysis ; Taproots;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in Environmental Science, 01 October 2019, Vol.7
    Description: Soils play a key role for the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Thus, soils are essential for human society not only because they form the basis for the production of food. This has long been recognized, and during the last three decades...
    Keywords: Soil Functions ; Ecosystem Services ; Soil Indicators ; Modeling Soil Functions ; Soil Evaluation ; Environmental Sciences
    E-ISSN: 2296-665X
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