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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2010, Vol.332(1), pp.163-176
    Description: Water flow from soil to plants depends on the properties of the soil next to roots, the rhizosphere. Although several studies showed that the rhizosphere has different properties than the bulk soil, effects of the rhizosphere on root water uptake are commonly neglected. To investigate the rhizosphere’s properties we used neutron radiography to image water content distributions in soil samples planted with lupins during drying and subsequent rewetting. During drying, the water content in the rhizosphere was 0.05 larger than in the bulk soil. Immediately after rewetting, the picture reversed and the rhizosphere remained markedly dry. During the following days the water content of the rhizosphere increased and after 60 h it exceeded that of the bulk soil. The rhizosphere’s thickness was approximately 1.5 mm. Based on the observed dynamics, we derived the distinct, hysteretic and time-dependent water retention curve of the rhizosphere. Our hypothesis is that the rhizosphere’s water retention curve was determined by mucilage exuded by roots. The rhizosphere properties reduce water depletion around roots and weaken the drop of water potential towards roots, therefore favoring water uptake under dry conditions, as demonstrated by means of analytical calculation of water flow to a single root.
    Keywords: Root water uptake ; Water retention curve ; Rhizosphere ; Neutron radiography ; Mucilage ; Hysteresis
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Earth Sciences, 2013, Vol.69(2), pp.317-333
    Description: Sustainable water quality management requires a profound understanding of water fluxes (precipitation, run-off, recharge, etc.) and solute turnover such as retention, reaction, transformation, etc. at the catchment or landscape scale. The Water and Earth System Science competence cluster (WESS, http://www.wess.info/ ) aims at a holistic analysis of the water cycle coupled to reactive solute transport, including soil–plant–atmosphere and groundwater–surface water interactions. To facilitate exploring the impact of land-use and climate changes on water cycling and water quality, special emphasis is placed on feedbacks between the atmosphere, the land surface, and the subsurface. A major challenge lies in bridging the scales in monitoring and modeling of surface/subsurface versus atmospheric processes. The field work follows the approach of contrasting catchments, i.e. neighboring watersheds with different land use or similar watersheds with different climate. This paper introduces the featured catchments and explains methodologies of WESS by selected examples.
    Keywords: Water and solute fluxes ; Water quality ; Catchments ; Land-surface atmosphere exchange ; Processes and feedbacks ; Modeling ; Monitoring
    ISSN: 1866-6280
    E-ISSN: 1866-6299
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