Root production and decay represent the primary source of carbon in most terrestrial systems and contribute to soil carbon permanence. To date, our lab has primarily focused on how different agricultural management practices influence fine root production for enhanced carbon and nitrogen retention. For instance, we have found that diverse perennial cropping systems produce greater fine root production relative to monoculture perennials. However, many questions remain regarding the interactive effects between plant roots, soil biota, and soil carbon pools. To what extend do short vs. long lived roots contribute to soil carbon accumulation. How do shifts in microbial communities influence soil carbon flow? Are certain microbial communities more closely related to labile or more processed carbon pools? Our lab utilizes traditional coring methods, in-growth cores, long-term incubations, and sequencing to asses rhizosphere dynamics.
Read about Tvisha Martin's graduate research investigating fine root production and soil food web structure and function in agricultural systems varying in tillage intensity and crop rotations by clicking here.