JULY 7, 2015
PRISMS Soil Moisture Sensors Installed at TRACE
Transcend Engineering installed prototype PRISMS (Profile Resolving In Situ Soil Moisture Sensor) probes at the TRACE (Tropical Responses to Altered Climate Experiment) test site in Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico, during the first week of July. The probes, designed for continuous moisture profiling of the top 1-meter of the subsurface, were emplaced in two experimental plots at the forest warming experiment site.
The deployment of PRISMS at TRACE will provide field verification of the technology in comparison to nearby conventional soil moisture probes, and will collect moisture data that are spatially continuous from the ground surface to one meter deep. PRISMS probes were installed in one control plot and one heated test plot at the TRACE site.
TRACE is a groundbreaking experiment that will assess the mechanisms behind and effects of warming on carbon and nutrient cycling and storage in tropical forest soils. TRACE will investigate threshold temperature responses of both canopy and understory tropical tree foliage, and is supported by the U.S. Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry with an additional three-year grant from the US Department of Energy.
Transcend Engineering has received funding to develop PRISMS from the US Department of Energy's Office of Science through a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. Work under the Phase 2 SBIR award began in April 2014. PRISMS uses time domain reflectometry (TDR) to resolve spatially continuous variation in soil moisture over depth.
Transcend Engineering develops innovative sensors and instrumentation for geotechnical, oceanographic, atmospheric, transportation, and security uses. They are located in Bethel, Vermont.
Top: One of six prototype probes installed at TRACE.
Middle: Transcend Engineering's Stephen Farrington and TRACE Project Manager Aura Alonso-Rodríguez.
Bottom: One of the TRACE test sites.