Rodrigo Munoz Rogers, 2012, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

This project seeks to understand the distribution and dynamics of belowground carbon in savannas. During my summer internship, I worked on the Kalahari Transect in western Botswana, a series of research sites that span a rainfall gradient. This dry season (summer) field work included three major activities: 1)excavating and mapping the root systems of trees and woody shrubs to determine their mass, geometry, depth and lateral extent; 2)measuring ecosystem-level belowground biomass by sampling root biomass, collecting soil samples, and conducting surveys with a ground penetrating radar; and 3)measuring the response of soil CO2 flux to experimental wetting treatments. Doing this at four sites along a rainfall gradient enabled us to investigate how water availability influences the ecosystem carbon cycle.