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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

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About the Rhizotron

The Rhizotron will enable Northern Research Station scientists and collaborators to better understand the environmental controls and management impacts on belowground processes by providing a research facility that enables repeated, non-destructive access to forest soil as it really is in nature. It provides a new means for our researchers to study carbon sequestration-- the process by which trees capture and store carbon in soil. Maximizing carbon sequestration may reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere and help to mitigate global warming.

The best way to really get a feel for what the Rhizotron is and does is to tour the faciltiy.  Public tours are available 3:00 - 4:00 pm on the first Friday of every month. If you can’t make it up to Houghton, Michigan to visit, take the virtual tour.

How it works

[image:] Interior view of Rhizotron from entrance.The Houghton Rhizotron is an underground facility with 24 windows looking out into northern forest soils. Interior lighting includes fluorescent tubes and photographic dark room lights to permit observation and image capture of photosensitive organisms. A climate control system was also installed to keep the open space at ground temperature.


Rhizotron windowEach 60 x 40 inch window is sub-divided into 15 panels covered with high-strength glass that may be removed individually to conduct experiments.

Each window was also fitted with a stainless steel cover to prevent light pollution while working in the facility.


Last Modified: 01/11/2011

About the Rhizotron:
Rhizotron Slideshows:

Building the Rhizotron (1.6 mb)

Virtual Tour (1.4 mb)

Rhizotron Introduction (2.9 mb)

(Slideshows are in Powerpoint format - You may download a free Powerpoint viewer from the Microsoft website)