SPRUCE (Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments) is one of the world’s largest peatland warming experiments. It is located in a forested bog at the southern edge of the boreal range. Led by Paul Hanson at ORNL and supported by the Biological and Environmental Research program in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, SPRUCE is the home of ten large open-top enclosures that are used to explore the effects of whole-ecosystem warming (above- and belowground) on peatland ecology and biogeochemistry. The enclosures span a range of warming from +0 to +9°C, and half are also exposed to elevated [CO2] (+500 ppm above ambient).
Fly above the SPRUCE site in the adjacent video (credit: ©Misha Krassovski), and then keep scrolling to see how you can tour the belowground world at SPRUCE!
No magic goggles or telescopes are required to see inside a peat bog! Instead, we use automated minirhizotrons. These are clear tubes where a digital microscope camera is inserted, and images are collected over time.