The Matthes EcoLab published a new paper in Ecosphere led by Eva Paradiso, Wellesley ’20, and mentored by Jackie and Fiona Jevon, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Dartmouth EEES program. Eva collected these data through an independent summer field project as part of the Harvard Forest NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in 2018. Through Eva’s research measuring 292 roots (!) we found that tree root respiration was more strongly correlated with root traits than tree species for the six most abundant species at Harvard Forest. The intraspecific variation in tree root morphological trait was as large as the differences between species, despite high species differences in leaf traits. This research improves our understanding of belowground carbon processing in forest ecosystems, which is challenging to measure, and could be used to constrain ecosystem models of the carbon cycle.
Eva is currently working on her Senior Honors Thesis in Environmental Studies investigating whether and how ectomycorrhizae (fungi that live in symbiosis with plant roots) impact root traits, leaf traits, and photosynthesis rates of red oak seedlings. So stay tuned for more upcoming research from Eva!