New Study to Examine how Plants Transport Water from Soil to Atmosphere | Purdue News
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Elin Jacobs has received a three-year, $911,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore how tree roots help redistribute water in the soil. She will study how water flows from soils through plants and into the atmosphere and the impact of increasingly occurring droughts on that process.
“Plants through roots can passively transport water from wet areas of the soil to drier areas. They use their roots as straws and suck water from the wet areas and release it out into dry areas. Usually, they do this to access deep water,” said Jacobs, research assistant professor in Forestry and Natural Resources.
In this way, wetter soil draws closer to the surface, where most of the nutrients reside.
“When water mixes with those nutrients, they become accessible to the plants, which lets them grow and photosynthesize better for more than a day, even when it’s technically a drought or dry out,” Jacobs said.
Collaborating with Jacobs on the project are Zoe Cardon, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts; Jeff Dukes, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California.; Lisa Welp, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue; and Yilin Fang, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington. Read the rest of article here.