A new method to measure carbon isotope composition of CO2 respired by trees: stem CO2 equilibration

Ubierna, Nerea, Marshall, John D., and Cernusak, Lucas A. (2009) A new method to measure carbon isotope composition of CO2 respired by trees: stem CO2 equilibration. Functional Ecology, 23 (6). pp. 1050-1058.

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1. Applying Keeling plot techniques to derive δ13C of respiratory input in a closed non-equilibrated chamber can lead to large errors because steady-state diffusion rules are violated in a non-steady-state environment. To avoid these errors, respiratory δ13C can be derived using equilibrated closed chambers.

2. We introduce a new method to obtain stem respired CO2δ13C (δst-r) with closed equilibrated stem chambers (E-SC). We present a theoretical model describing the equilibration process, test the model against field data and find excellent agreement. The method is further tested by comparing it with closed non-equilibrated stem chambers (NE-SC); we found no difference between these methods.

3. Our theoretical model to describe CO2 diffusion from the respiratory pool into the chamber and the equation to derive the δ13C of the efflux are general. They could be applied to other ecosystem components (e.g. soils).

4. Our method is easy to implement, cost effective, minimizes sources of error and allows for rigorous leak detection. One major limitation is its inability to detect rapid change; the equilibration process requires 15 ± 2 h. A second limitation is that it cannot be used for species that produce abundant pitch at sites of stem wounding (e.g. Pseudotsuga menziesii).

5. Investigating δ13C of CO2 respired by different ecosystem components is necessary to interpret δ13C of ecosystem respiration. This parameter has major implications with respect to global carbon cycle science.

Item ID: 30294
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2435
Keywords: closed chamber, diffusion, flux, fractionation, Keeling plot, pool, soil respiration, stem respiration
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2013 09:33
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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