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Environmental and taxonomic controls of carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition in Sphagnum across broad climatic and geographic ranges
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2018 (English)In: Biogeosciences, ISSN 1726-4170, E-ISSN 1726-4189, Vol. 15, no 16, p. 5189-5202Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Rain-fed peatlands are dominated by peat mosses (Sphagnum sp.), which for their growth depend on nutrients, water and CO2 uptake from the atmosphere. As the isotopic composition of carbon (C-12(,)13) and oxygen (O-16(,)18) of these Sphagnum mosses are affected by environmental conditions, Sphagnum tissue accumulated in peat constitutes a potential long-term archive that can be used for climate reconstruction. However, there is inadequate understanding of how isotope values are influenced by environmental conditions, which restricts their current use as environmental and palaeoenvironmental indicators. Here we tested (i) to what extent C and O isotopic variation in living tissue of Sphagnum is speciesspecific and associated with local hydrological gradients, climatic gradients (evapotranspiration, temperature, precipitation) and elevation; (ii) whether the C isotopic signature can be a proxy for net primary productivity (NPP) of Sphagnum; and (iii) to what extent Sphagnum tissue delta O-18 tracks the delta O-18 isotope signature of precipitation. In total, we analysed 337 samples from 93 sites across North America and Eurasia us ing two important peat-forming Sphagnum species (S. magellanicum, S. fuscum) common to the Holarctic realm. There were differences in delta C-13 values between species. For S. magellanicum delta C-13 decreased with increasing height above the water table (HWT, R-2 = 17 %) and was positively correlated to productivity (R-2 = 7 %). Together these two variables explained 46 % of the between-site variation in delta C-13 values. For S. fuscum, productivity was the only significant predictor of delta C-13 but had low explanatory power (total R-2 = 6 %). For delta O-18 values, approximately 90 % of the variation was found between sites. Globally modelled annual delta O-18 values in precipitation explained 69 % of the between-site variation in tissue delta O-18. S. magellanicum showed lower delta O-18 enrichment than S. fuscum (-0.83 %0 lower). Elevation and climatic variables were weak predictors of tissue delta O-18 values after controlling for delta O-18 values of the precipitation. To summarize, our study provides evidence for (a) good predictability of tissue delta O-18 values from modelled annual delta O-18 values in precipitation, and (b) the possibility of relating tissue delta C-13 values to HWT and NPP, but this appears to be species-dependent. These results suggest that isotope composition can be used on a large scale for climatic reconstructions but that such models should be species-specific.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Copernicus Publications , 2018. Vol. 15, no 16, p. 5189-5202
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Ecology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-151779DOI: 10.5194/bg-15-5189-2018ISI: 000443077000002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-151779DiVA, id: diva2:1248276
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Swedish Research Council, 2015-05174Available from: 2018-09-14 Created: 2018-09-14 Last updated: 2018-09-14Bibliographically approved

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Dorrepaal, Ellen

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