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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 3, p. 710-714
    Received: June 11, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): mark@mail.cor.epa.gov
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Mechanical Advancing Handle that Simplifies Minirhizotron Camera Registration and Image Collection

  1. M. G. Johnson * and
  2. P. F. Meyer
  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab., 200 S.W. 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333.
    Meyer's Design Shop, Inc., 2355 N.W. Jackson Creek Drive, Corvallis, OR 97330.



Minirhizotrons in conjunction with a minirhizotron video camera system are becoming widely used tools for investigating root production and survival in a variety of ecosystems. Image collection with a minirhizotron camera can be time consuming and tedious particularly when hundreds or thousands of images are collected routinely. To help us with image collection in our minirhizotron studies we developed a mechanical handle that simplifies minirhizotron camera registration and image collection. The handle is attached to the minirhizotron camera and fits inside 5 cm, internal diameter, minirhizotron tubes. The handle couples a ratchet advancing mechanism with another mechanism that locks the handle to the minirhizotron tube, ensuring proper camera and tube registration. The ratchet mechanism advances the camera one camera field of view (frame) at a time. While the handle can be used to rapidly advance the camera, it is best to pause 2 to 3 s after each advance, to allow sufficient time for the image to be recorded on video tape. At this rate, 20 to 30 frames can be recorded each minute. The camera, with handle attached, is easily moved from one minirhizotron tube to another. We conducted a simple study of handle performance and estimate that camera registration precision (a measure of relocating the camera in the same position) is >99%.

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