University of California, Riverside

Center for Conservation Biology

Automated Minirhizotron and Arrayed Rhizosphere Soil Sensors (AMARSS)

AMARSS Overview

The AMARSS project led to the design and testing of a soil observing system consisting of soil sensors for temperature, moisture, CO2, tubes for conventional minirhizotron observations, and deployment of automated minirhizotrons (AMR) for studying soil ecosystem dynamics.

Initially, this project was located at the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve (, part of the University of California Natural Reserve System, is a mixed conifer forest with dominant tree species of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa C. Lawson), sugar pine (P. lambertiana Douglas), incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin), canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis Liebm.), and deciduous black oak (Q. kelloggii Newberry). The initial AMR prototype continues taking daily observations, with images dating back to 2009. This work is further descripted in Hernandez and Allen (2013). From 2010 through 2013, four AMR units were deployed along the AMARSS transect with 11 sensor networks. They are described in Allen et al. 2007, Vargas and Allen 2008, Rundel et al 2009, Vargas et al. 2010a, b., Hasselquist et al. 2010, Allen and Kitajima 2013. Additional units have been deployed at the La Selva Biological Station, Deep Canyon NRS, the Motte Reserve, NRS, the Coachella Valley Agricultural Research Station (CVARS), and Innsbruck, Austria.

The goal of these studies is to monitor below ground fine root dynamics using minirhizotrons and to estimate carbon flux using an array of below and above-ground sensor net work (see metadata file). We have been monitoring microclimate every five minutes and root production at least every two weeks since 2005. The sensor integration and building of the AMR prototype was funded by the National Science Foundation EF-0410408 with a broader deployment and refinement of research units under CRR-0120778. The current developmental changes in the AMR units led to funding and testing under a Department of Energy STTR grant to Rhizosystems, LLC, Application Number 83907B12-I (18c), "EAMR: Enhanced Minirhizotron and Image Analysis System" with a subcontract to UCR.

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Center for Conservation Biology
1435 Boyce Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5494