Podcast on Drought Features a Missouri Transect Plant Team Member

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Missouri is currently facing a drought alert and 30 counties are experiencing extreme drought this summer.  University of Missouri Chancellor, Dr. Alexander N. Cartwright, sat down for an Inside Mizzou podcast with several MU professors, including Dr. Felix Fritschi of the Missouri Transect Plant Team to discuss how drought is understood and felt by communities, how it is studied at MU and how research can help bring about innovation to combat drought and natural disasters. 

Wash U Symposium: People and Climate Change: Vulnerability, Adaptation, Social Justice

Event date(s): Friday, November 18, 2016
Location: Brown School of Social Work, 6350 Forsyth Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63105

Please plan to join us on November 18, 2016 at Washington University in St. Louis for this important symposium on the human impacts of climate change. The “People and Climate Change: Vulnerability, Adaptation, Social Justice” Symposium focuses on the human impacts of climate change, the social responses necessary for transformational solutions, and the policy implications of such solutions.

Key speakers include experts on flooding, drought, heat, urbanization, adaptation, and indigenous health—representing research from the United States, Latin America, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.

Participants will compare existing knowledge on vulnerability and adaptation; identify where new knowledge is needed and chart a research agenda; set ambitious yet reachable social policy goals; and develop a strategy for reaching those goals. The preliminary agenda is available here. The symposium will conclude with a reception.

All sessions are free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more details click here.  A special rate for lodging is available at the nearby Sheraton Clayton Plaza (please click here) or Moonrise Hotel (please click here). To secure the symposium rate, reservations must be made by October 18, 2016.

​Author work sessions are on November 17 and 19.

This symposium will be convened by Washington University in St. Louis, National University of Singapore and University of Tennessee.



Challenging the maximum rooting depth paradigm in grasslands and savannas

Author(s): Jesse B. Nippert and Ricardo M. Holdo
Date of Publication: January 2015

For many grassland and savanna ecosystems, water limitation is a key regulator of individual plant, community and ecosystem processes. Maximum rooting depth is commonly used to characterize the susceptibility of plant species to drought. This rests on the assumption that deep-rooted plant species would have a greater total volume of soil water to exploit and should be less susceptible to episodic changes in water availability.
Independent of maximum rooting depth, rooting strategies based on differences in biomass allocation with depth, uptake plasticity in relation to water availability and variation in water transport capability may all influence growth responses and susceptibility to drought. Many examples from grasslands and savannas reflect these rooting strategies among coexisting grass, forb and woody species.
Here, we use a dynamic model of plant water uptake and growth to show how changes in root distribution, functional plasticity and root hydraulic conductivity have the potential to influence aboveground biomass and competitive outcomes, even when maximum rooting depth remains constant. We also show theoretically that shifts in root distribution to surface soils without changes in maximum depth can potentially outweigh the benefits of increased maximum rooting depth.
Combining our current reliance on biogeographic descriptions of maximum rooting depth with insights about other, more subtle aspects of root structure and function are likely to improve our understanding of ecosystem responses to dynamic water limitation.

Citation: Nippert, J. B., Holdo, R. M. (2015), Challenging the maximum rooting depth paradigm in grasslands and savannas. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12390
Team(s): Plant Team