Covariation between oxygen and hydrogen stable isotopes declines along the path from xylem water to wood cellulose across an aridity gradient

Holloway-Phillips, Meisha, Cernusak, Lucas A., Nelson, Daniel B., Lehmann, Marco M., Tcherkez, Guillaume, and Kahmen, Ansgar (2023) Covariation between oxygen and hydrogen stable isotopes declines along the path from xylem water to wood cellulose across an aridity gradient. New Phytologist, 240 (5). pp. 1758-1773.

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Oxygen and hydrogen isotopes of cellulose in plant biology are commonly used to infer environmental conditions, often from time series measurements of tree rings. However, the covariation (or the lack thereof) between δ18O and δ2H in plant cellulose is still poorly understood. We compared plant water, and leaf and branch cellulose from dominant tree species across an aridity gradient in Northern Australia, to examine how δ18O and δ2H relate to each other and to mean annual precipitation (MAP). We identified a decline in covariation from xylem to leaf water, and onwards from leaf to branch wood cellulose. Covariation in leaf water isotopic enrichment (Δ) was partially preserved in leaf cellulose but not branch wood cellulose. Furthermore, whilst δ2H was well-correlated between leaf and branch, there was an offset in δ18O between organs that increased with decreasing MAP. Our findings strongly suggest that postphotosynthetic isotope exchange with water is more apparent for oxygen isotopes, whereas variable kinetic and nonequilibrium isotope effects add complexity to interpreting metabolic-induced δ2H patterns. Varying oxygen isotope exchange in wood and leaf cellulose must be accounted for when δ18O is used to reconstruct climatic scenarios. Conversely, comparing δ2H and δ18O patterns may reveal environmentally induced shifts in metabolism.

Item ID: 80540
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8137
Keywords: aridity, Australia, cellulose, hydrogen isotopes, isotope tree-ring, oxygen isotopes, paleo-environmental reconstruction
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2023 New Phytologist Foundation. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2023 01:10
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310806 Plant physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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