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Field measurements · equipments (野外調査方法・道具)

Mount Usu / Sarobetsu post-mined peatland
From left: Crater basin in 1986 and 2006. Cottongrass / Daylily

[ Taxonomy | Plant community ecology | Tundra research ]

Equipments for making plant specimen

Importance of plant specimen

  1. To identify unidentified specimen.
  2. To analyze plants and others. Ex. Flora on Mount Koma.
Traditionally, taxonomical specimens should be as complete as possible, viz. the specimens have flowers (fuirts), leaves, stems, roots, and others. However, we have to know all life history stages to analyze plant growth. To obtain such information, we shold collect specimens with various status, including imperfect samples.

Collecting plants

  • Plastic bags
  • Pruning scissors
  • Shovel / shoop (for pit excavation)
  • Newspapers (for blotting)
  • Yasatsu, or (corrugated) cardboard
    Scissors Pit Yasatsu
    A pair of scissors___Scoop and the case__Yasatsu

Plant community ecology/vegetation science (植物群集生態学/植生科学)


Basic equipments are the same with those of plant taxonomy, described above. Also the following times are useful.
Plot establishment
measuring tapes (length is dependent on plot size)
frame, folding ruler, stakes, strings, flag, and others
Increment borer (成長錐)
Used to extract a core of wood tissue from a tree with small damage to the plant itself
borer handle

extractor tray (spoon)

tree ring analysis

Smart increment borer, smartborer (Kagawa & Fujiwara 2018)
Fig. 2 General view of the smart increment borer. a Power wrench, b gear box, c reaction bar, d expandable bar, e handle of increment borer, f rope to support reaction force, g winch socket, and h increment borer. The depicted configuration is for the sampling of 12 mm cores. Winch socket can start an increment borer by pressing the cutting edge of increment borer against the stem surface (top left). The gearbox can contain large and small planetary gears, and is able to shift the gear ratio from 1:5 to 1:118 (bottom left).

[ soil ]

Measurements of belowground (地下部測定)

Soil measurements (土壌測定)

Shovel/scoop (シャベル/スコップ)
work The quality of these tools determines the effectiveness of belowground survey. Also bring a pickax if the shovels do not work. If the pickax does not work, consider power shovel (yumbo) and/or blasting.
Difference between shovel and scoop
shovel > scoop > spoon
  • digging shovels
  • trenching shovels
  • drain spades
  • scoop shovels
  • scrapers
  • edgers
  • post-hole diggers
  • trowels and soil scoops

Soil color chart (土色帳)

Munsell soil color chart
Revised standard soil color charts: Munsell chart adopted to Japan
Consisting of:

Hue: the wavelength of the color
Value: the tone from dark to light
Chroma: the color saturation

Yamaoka-typed soil hardness tester (山岡式土壌硬度計) soil soil
Cone penetrometer___Instrument for measuring soil resistance

Peat (泥炭)

Peat corer or sampler (泥炭サンプラー)
Table. Equipment available for coring peat
  • Device (number of operators), maximum depth (m), section length (m)
  • Gouge auger and Russian corer (2), 10-15, 0.5/1
    corer corer
  • Rod operated piston corer (3), < 30, 1-5
  • Wire operated piston corer (3), > 100, 1-6
  • Mackereth (2), > 100, 2/3/6
  • Surface samples (1), ≈ 1, ≈ 1
Problems on the measurements of belowground

systems on

obsereved by

1) Destructive methods - simple and widely used


monitoring is impossible
difficulty in the census of fine roots

2) (Semi-)non-destructive methods - so far, it has been hard to do

water-culture or transparent pot culture

artifact must be considered

(mini)rhizotron (Bartz Tech., USA) (Strand et al. 2008)

⇔ CI-600 soil profile scan system (CID, USA) - convenient price


Fig. 1. The scanner system for observing belowground systems (Dannnoura et al. 2008). Minirhizotron uses transparent tubes and a fiber scope instead of a scanner.
[Note] Battery for scanner: must be higher than 13.5V to avoid emsssion and color unevenness (recommendation ≈ 16V of lithium cell)
Analysis: a few softwares
  • Möller B, et al. 2019. rhizoTrak: A flexible open source Fiji plugin for user-friendly manual annotation of time-series images from minirhizotrons. Plant and Soil 444: 519-534 (used for minirhizotrons)
  • Smith AG, Han E, Petersen J, Olsen NAF, Giese C, Athmann M, Dresboll DB, Thorup-Kristensen K. 2022. RootPainter: deep learning segmentation of biological images with corrective annotation. New Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.18387
  • Teramoto S, Uga Y. 2020. A deep learning-based phenotypic analysis of rice root distribution from field images. Plant Phenomics, 3194308. doi: 10.34133/2020/3194308 (TrenchRoot-SEG)
  • Wang T, Rostamza M, Song Z, Wang L, McNickle G, Iyer-Pascuzzi AS, Qiu Z, Jin J. 2019. SegRoot: A high throughput segmentation method for root image analysis. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 162: 845-854 (used minirhizotron)
  • Yabuki A, Ikeno H, Dannoura M. 2022. A root auto tracing and analysis (ARATA): An automatic analysis software for detecting fine roots in images from flatbed optical scanners. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 13: 2372-2378

[ Species checklist ]

Tundra research

Preparation for ANWR reserach

Suggested personal equipment list for Tundra Ecosystem and Permafrost Dynamics Group trip to Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (31 July to 7 August 2006)

  • Backpack - internal or external frame of sufficient volume when your own personal gear is loaded. Alternative: a duffle bag with zipper closing and handles could also be used if we are not going to pack far from the air plane landing site. If duffle bag is used, bring smaller day packs for each person to carry lunch, rain gear and field equipment during hikes to study areas away from base camp.
  • Rain cover for back pack or: plastic bags for inside of small day packs.
  • Tent(s) with rain fly - should weigh about four pounds for single person, and if sharing space, larger tent weighting about 8 or 9 pounds for two persons. Tents should be free standing if possible.
  • Sleeping bag - down or synthetic comfortable to 20/25°F.
  • Sleeping pad - foam or inflatable (Thermarest brand is good)
  • Hiking boots - well broken in. Make sure you don't get hot spots (blisters). Alternative: rubber knee high boots for walking in wet tundra areas.
  • Rain/wind protection gear - good quality Gore Tex or coated nylon, two piece (coat and pants).
  • Clothing - sufficient to keep one warm at freezing temps. A layer system is best. An inner layer of polypropylene or light weight wool. A fleece middle layer and an outer shell (wind breaker or rain coat). Avoid cotton for inner and outer wear which does not dry readily and will not hold warmth when wet.
  • Socks, and gloves (made of material that will dry readily)
  • Hats, one for warmth, and one for sun protection
  • Cup, bowl, spoon, (chop sticks) water bottle, can use cup for bowl
  • Toiletry items:

    Bring smallest size toothpaste possible
    Toilet paper
    Bic lighter or matches for burning toilet paper

  • Small container of insect repellant, for those who may be sensitive to mosquitoes, a head net is recommended.
  • Insurance - certification
Extras not essential but often nice to have:

Light weight pair of camp shoes or sandals to get out of wet hiking boots and change to dry socks in evening at base camp
Lightweight binoculars
Sunglasses and sun screen
Lip salve
Pocket knife
Small bath towel

Project Equipment to support the entire group:

Camp stoves (2) small, light weight and fuel (about 5 quarts)
Cooking pots
Bear spray/repellant for each person (7)
Shot gun and ammunition (Fran will provide)
First aid kit (does not contain prescription medication please carry your own medication as necessary)
Water filter
Bear proof food containers
Food (Fran will provide list of suggested food items)
Plastic trash bags
Light weight tarp(s) to cover items if it rains

Names of participants for ANWR field work

Masami FUKUDA. Prof. Hokkaido University
Shiro TSUYUZAKI. Associate Prof. Hokkaido University
Keiji KUSHIDA. Assistant Prof. Hokkaido University
Yuki SAWADA. Post. Doctor. Fellow. Hokkaido University
Akihito KUWAYAMA. Reporter. Asahi Press
Soichiro YAMAMOTO. Photographer. Asahi Press
Fran MAUER. Guide