Environmental and physiological determinants of carbon isotope discrimination in terrestrial plants

Cernusak, Lucas A., Ubierna, Nerea, Winter, Klaus, Holtum, Joseph A.M., Marshall, John D., and Farquhar, Graham D. (2013) Environmental and physiological determinants of carbon isotope discrimination in terrestrial plants. New Phytologist, 200 (4). pp. 950-965.

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Abstract

Stable carbon isotope ratios (δ¹³C) of terrestrial plants are employed across a diverse range of applications in environmental and plant sciences; however, the kind of information that is desired from the δ¹³C signal often differs. At the extremes, it ranges between purely environmental and purely biological. Here, we review environmental drivers of variation in carbon isotope discrimination (Δ) in terrestrial plants, and the biological processes that can either damp or amplify the response. For C₃ plants, where Δ is primarily controlled by the ratio of intercellular to ambient CO₂ concentrations (cᵢ/cₐ), coordination between stomatal conductance and photosynthesis and leaf area adjustment tends to constrain the potential environmentally driven range of Δ. For C₄ plants, variation in bundle-sheath leakiness to CO₂ can either damp or amplify the effects of cᵢ/cₐ on Δ. For plants with crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), Δ varies over a relatively large range as a function of the proportion of daytime to night-time CO₂ fixation. This range can be substantially broadened by environmental effects on Δ when carbon uptake takes place primarily during the day. The effective use of Δ across its full range of applications will require a holistic view of the interplay between environmental control and physiological modulation of the environmental signal.

Item ID: 30127
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8137
Keywords: bundle-sheath leakiness; carbon isotope discrimination; crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM); intercellular carbon dioxide concentration; mesophyll conductance; photosynthetic pathway; water-use efficiency
Additional Information:

© 2013 The Authors. Freely available from the publisher's website.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Future Fellowship grant FT100100329, ARC grant DP1097276
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2013 05:51
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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