Rhizosphere Image Gallery

Populus trichocarpa

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SCALE: Unless otherwise noted, these images are two centimeters wide and just under one and a half centimeters tall. To estimate the dimensions of zoom images, compare to their corresponding wide-angle shot. A fully-zoomed image can represent an area of the soil a mere three millimeters wide and two millimeters tall!

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The scene aboveground

Site: UCSC Arboretum

P. trichocarpa is an evergreen tree reaching 40-60m in height. Found in moist places (usually stream-side or along washes) below 9000ft., cottonwoods have secured a niche in a wide range of plant communities. Representatives of this California native are found in coastal scrub, oak woodlands, etc. and occur in the US from San Diego to Alaska. In seral communities, cottonwoods are commonly associated with dense thickets of poison oak.

The scene belowground

Fat and skinny roots.

Zoom in on fat root reveals extensive fungal colonization of the soil.

Fleshy root tip.

Half zoom on above...

Full zoom on fleshy root tip branch.

This root is surrounded by hairs. Are they root hairs or some microbial community that thrives in this moist environment?

Half zoom in on above...

Full zoom on above. Now the hairs no longer resemble root hairs.

Full zoom of a root visible through the mud. The web of strands is probably thick fungal hyphae.

This root is starting numerous lateral branches.

Zoom in on above...

Young and old roots are both visible in this shot.