For the first few weeks on my research, I have been out in the field collecting soil and root samples from my selected tree species. The soil samples are taken using soil cores. The soil core tool is pounded into the ground to retrieve the top 10cm of rhizosphere and bulk soil- talk about using those arm muscles! I have also been taking root samples and collecting root exudation data. To measure root exudation, roots must remain attached to the tree root system but separated from the others and cleaned. The clean root is placed into a syringe filled with plastic crafting beads and nutrient solution. The beads and solution create a "fake" environment so the root continues to act naturally. The syringe is left in the field for 24 hours and then collected and brought back to the lab. In the lab, the roots are measured for size and biomass, and the nutrient solution is analyzed for carbon concentration.
Check out the photos- A picture is worth a thousand words!
Cheers to roots!