Keywords:continuous monitoring, phenology, gross primary production, soil CO2 efflux, soil temperature, temperature sensitivity
Soil respiration (Rs) plays a key role in the carbon balance of forest ecosystems. There is growing evidence that Rs is strongly correlated with canopy photosynthesis; however, how Rs is linked to aboveground attributes at various phenological stages, on the seasonal and diurnal scale, remains unclear. Using an automated closed dynamic chamber system, we assessed the seasonal and diurnal patterns of Rs in a temperate evergreen coniferous forest from 2005 to 2010. High-frequency Rs rates followed seasonal soil temperature patterns but the relationship showed strong hysteresis. Predictions of Rs based on a temperature-response model underestimated the observed values from June to July and overestimated those from August to September and from January to April. The observed Rs was higher in early summer than in late summer and autumn despite similar soil temperatures. At a diurnal scale, the Rs pattern showed a hysteresis loop with the soil temperature trend during the seasons of high biological activity (June to October). In July and August, Rs declined after the morning peak from 0800 to 1400 h, although soil temperatures continued to increase. During that period, figure-eight-shaped diurnal Rs patterns were observed, suggesting that a midday decline in root physiological activity may have occurred in early summer. In September and October, Rs was higher in the morning than in the night despite consistently high soil temperatures. We have characterised the magnitude and pattern of seasonal and diurnal Rs in an evergreen forest. We conclude that the temporal variability of Rs at high resolution is more related to seasons across the temperature dependence.