What are Open Top Chamber Field Experiments?

Open top chambers are widely used to study the effects of elevated CO2 and other atmospheric gases on vegetation. They are plastic enclosures, with an open top, constructed of an aluminum frame covered by panels of polyvinyl chloride plastic film. Air is pulled into the bottom of the chamber, enriched with CO2, and then blown through the open top of the chamber. They are relatively inexpensive to construct and maintain, however, they are not appropriate for the study of large vegetation (e.g. forest ecosystems).

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Figure taken from Drake et. al. 1989.

For more information regarding the benefits and design of open top chamber experiments, please refer to the following publications: