About this project

About this project
The root camera
Rhizosphere links
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Project Background

Visualization of natural belowground ecosystems in classrooms has been a significant pedagogical gap in our teaching of plant and soil sciences. Because of the physical inaccessibility of the rhizosphere, it is difficult to obtain images of rhizosphere organisms in natural systems. The minirhizotron method (Cheng et al., 1990, 1991; Hendrick and Pregitzer, 1992) offers a new opportunity to fill this gap. With the minirhizotron camera we can capture images of roots, soil fungi, soil structure, and soil fauna, without excessively disturbing the ecosystem.


This project was made possible by an Instructional Improvement grant from the Committee on Teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This project was in the New Technologies in Teaching category. New Technologies in Teaching grants support faculty as they experiment with specialized computer hardware and software in teaching, develop course Web sites, or hold workshops on teaching with new technologies. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Committee on Teaching for making this project possible!

We would also like to thank the staff of the UCSC Arboretum who generously allowed us to bury tubes all over the arboretum grounds. We would especially like to thank the arboretum manager, Brett Hall, for his enthusiastic support of this project.