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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 5 | Copyright
Biogeosciences, 14, 1181-1187, 2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Technical note 13 Mar 2017

Technical note | 13 Mar 2017

Technical note: Differences in the diurnal pattern of soil respiration under adjacent Miscanthus  ×  giganteus and barley crops reveal potential flaws in accepted sampling strategies

J. Ben Keane1 and Phil Ineson2 J. Ben Keane and Phil Ineson
  • 1Environment Department, University of York, Wentworth Way, Heslington, YO10 5DD, UK
  • 2Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, Heslington, YO10 5DD, UK

Abstract. For convenience, measurements used to compare soil respiration (Rs) from different land uses, crops or management practices are often made between 09:00 and 16:00UTC, convenience which is justified by an implicit assumption that Rs is largely controlled by temperature. Three months of continuous data presented here show distinctly different diurnal patterns of Rs between barley (Hordeum vulgare) and Miscanthus ×  giganteus (Miscanthus) grown on adjacent fields. Maximum Rs in barley occurred during the afternoon and correlated with soil temperature, whereas in Miscanthus after an initial early evening decline, Rs increased above the daily average during the night and in July maximum daily rates of Rs were seen at 22:00 and was significantly correlated with earlier levels of solar radiation, probably due to delays in translocation of recent photosynthate. Since the time of the daily mean Rs in Miscanthus occurred when Rs in the barley was 40% greater than the daily mean, it is vital to select appropriate times to measure Rs especially if only single daily measurements are to be made.

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Short summary
Soil respiration (Rs) is an important process where from living organisms (predominantly plants and microbes) emit carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. We show that a common explanation that Rs is controlled by temperature is oversimple and plant inputs are extremely important, causing the daily pattern of Rs to differ between crops. Measuring simultaneously at a single site will therefore not be a fair comparison; this must be considered in the design of future experimental comparisons.
Soil respiration (Rs) is an important process where from living organisms (predominantly plants...