Ecosystem Respiration Chambers

One approach for estimating ecosystem respiration are chambers, which may be categorised into (i) chambers which enclose the entire ecosystem (e.g. a mesocosm, smaller plant communities such as grasslands) and directly yield net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and (ii) chambers which enclose only some ecosystem component (e.g. leaves, soil, etc.) and thus require some additional up-scaling. Both approaches work best under controlled environmental conditions—modifications of the air temperature and humidity effects should be minimised and at least recorded.

Our chambers can be constructed in different sizes out of transparent polypropylen (95% PAR transmission) and for either or both field and lab. A modular design allows to adapt chamber size to plant size. Seals around each collar, and the hole in the bottom plate (if mesocosm are used), ensure gas tightness. Chamber air is stirred by one or multiple adjustable (direction and speed) fans, a vent prevents pressure differences to the atmosphere during enclosure, and several tube fittings/connector plates for common IRGA systems are available. The pictured chamber (50 cm x 50 cm x 30-80 cm, w x d x h) was build for the University of Natural Ressources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) to measure NEE of 7 l mesocosm (holding 2 yr-old trees seedling and/or grass). It is featuring an aluminum scaffold for convenient and self-sealing mesocosm placement.

Selected Studies on Ecosystem Respiration chambers

  • Davidson, E., K. Savage, L. Verchot, and R. Navarro. 2002. Minimizing artifacts and biases in chamber-based measurements of soil respiration. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 113:21-37.
  • Grogan, P., A. Michelsen, P. Ambus, and S. Jonasson. 2004. Freeze–thaw regime effects on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in sub-arctic heath tundra mesocosms. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 36:641-654.
  • Wohlfahrt, G., C. Anfang, M. Bahn, A. Haslwanter, C. Newesely, M. Schmitt, M. Drösler, J. Pfadenhauer, and A. Cernusca. 2005. Quantifying nighttime ecosystem respiration of a meadow using eddy covariance, chambers and modelling. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 128:141-162.

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