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Microcosm studies of the role of land plants in elevating soil carbon dioxide and chemical weathering

Baars, Christian, Jones, Thomas Hefin ORCID: and Edwards, Dianne ORCID: 2008. Microcosm studies of the role of land plants in elevating soil carbon dioxide and chemical weathering. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 22 (3) , GB3019. 10.1029/2008GB003228

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A decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration during the mid-Palaeozoic is postulated to have been partially the consequence of the evolution of rooted land plants. Root development increased the amount of carbonic acid generated by root respiration within soils. This led to increased chemical weathering of silicates and subsequent formation of carbonates, resulting in lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations. To test this assumption, analog (morphologically equivalent) plant species, ranging from those possessing no roots to those with complex rhizomatous rooting systems, were grown in trays within microcosms at ambient (360 ppm/0.37 mbar) and highly elevated (3500 ppm/3.55 mbar) atmospheric CO2 concentrations in a controlled environment facility. Substrate CO2 concentrations increased significantly under elevated atmospheric CO2, and Equisetum hyemale (L.). The latter is postulated to result from the effects of deeply rooted plants, elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations, or both. Plants with simple or no rooting systems or the addition of dead organic matter as a substrate for microorganisms did not enhance substrate CO2 concentrations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QK Botany
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 20/02/2014).
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0886-6236
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 11 May 2023 00:46

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