Non-destructive measurement of soil respiration in a grassland ecosystem using the multiple-microchambers method

Nobuhiko Suminokura*, Mayuko Suzuki, Kenta Tanami, Mitsutoshi Tomotsune, Shinpei Yoshitake, Hiroshi Koizumi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The chamber method with plant clipping has been widely used for measuring soil respiration (SR) in grassland ecosystems. However, plant clipping may cause overestimation of SR by changing the environmental factors and injuring the plants. To solve these problems, we developed a new non-destructive method using multiple-microchambers (3 cm diameter, 8 cm height), which enables measurement of SR without plant clipping by installing chambers into gaps among the grasses. The new method was compared with the conventional method at various flow rates in vitro to assess the accuracy of SR measurement. The new method overestimated the SR rate; however, the ratio of overestimation to the conventional method was constant for each flow rate. These ratios fitted the logarithmic curve, indicating the potential for correction of the SR rate measured by the new method using the logarithmic equation. The corrected SR rate obtained by the new method was equal to the rate by the conventional method. This suggests that accurate measurement of SR in grassland ecosystems is possible using the multiple-microchambers method. We then compared the non-destructive method and the destructive method in situ on summer season and found that the destructive method overestimated SR rate in the grassland ecosystem by about 276% on average. There were two possible reasons for this overestimation; first, the clipping treatment may change environmental conditions such as soil temperature and soil water content, and second, it may directly increase plant respiration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-477
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecosystem ecology
  • Injured respiration
  • Non-destructive measurement
  • Open flow method
  • Soil respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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