VSI Ecosystem Respiration Chambers. One approach to estimating ecosystem respiration is to use air-tight chambers, either (i) enclosing the whole ecosystem (e.g. a mesocosm, smaller plant communities such as grasslands) and directly providing the net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE), or (ii) chambers enclosing only a part of the ecosystem (e.g. leaves, soil, etc.) and thus requiring some additional up-scaling. Both approaches work best under controlled environmental conditions - changes in temperature and humidity must be minimised and recorded.
Vienna Scientific Instruments offers customised Ecosystem Respiration Chambers for field and laboratory use, constructed of transparent polycarbonate (high PAR transmission) in various sizes. If required, a modular design allows the chamber size to be increased as the plant grows. Gaskets around each collar and the hole in the base plate (when a mesocosm is used) ensure adequate gas tightness. For field use, a metal frame can be installed under the chambers to ensure gas tightness to the soil. Chamber air is stirred by one or more adjustable (direction and speed) fans to homogenise the air. Fan size, speed and angle can be adjusted to avoid interfering with plants or IRGA measurements. A range of pipe fittings/connection plates are available for common IRGA systems. An environmental monitoring system consisting of temperature (air/leaf), rH and possibly PAR sensors can be added on request or appropriate positions for entering clables or fixing sensors can be foreseen during the chamber designing phase.The chamber shown inside the glassland (50 cm x 50 cm x 30-80 cm, w x d x h) is a version built for the University of Vienna to approximate the NEE of different ecosystems during a graduate course. Other versions (see below) have an aluminium frame for convenient and self-sealing placement of the pots / mesocosm. Various shapes and sizes are available to suit your mesocosm, pot, growth tube or field sampling campaign. See below for a list of key considerations when planning your ecosystem respiration chamber systems.
Images for illustration purposes only, design subject to change without notice
There are a number of important considerations when designing a customised gas flow measurement chamber:
Overall, the construction of a gas flow / respiration chamber requires careful consideration of the materials used and environmental factors relevant in the study. Consultation with Vienna Scientific can be helpful to ensure that the chamber design is appropriate for your specific research objectives.