Camilla Ruø Rasmussen

Camilla Ruø Rasmussen has carried out her PhD at Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at University of Copenhagen. Camilla graduated in spring 2019.

Exploring the depths
- Uncovering the contribution of deep water and nutrient uptake by chicory

Camilla has carried out experiments in the towers over two seasons. The aim was to study the contribution of deep water and nutrient uptake under well-watered and drought conditions and when chicory was exposed to competition in the topsoil. Chicory is known to be deep-rooted and reaches below 3 meters depth within a growing season. When the topsoil dries out the plant has to rely on water stored deeper in the profile. Also, the nutrients in the topsoil becomes unavailable when there is no water in the topsoil, and like for water, the plant must rely on nutrients available at depth.  Camilla has used a combination of methods to uncover the deep root activity:

  • Root growth was observed trough the transparent surfaces of the tower rhizotrons
  • TDR (time-domain reflectometer) sensors continuously logged the soil water content
  • Water tracers were used to track water uptake from specific depths
  • Nutrient analogs such as Li, Rb, Se, Sr and Cs were used to trace nutrient uptake.

Camilla found that chicory benefits from being deep rooted, especially when resources are scarce in the topsoil. Nevertheless, is chicory not able to escape drought by increasing the use of resources deeper in the soil profile.