- Working Paper
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Stable carbon isotopes have been used to assess the coupling between changes in environmental conditions and the response of soil or ecosystem respiration, usually by studying the time-lagged response of δ13C of respired CO2 (δ13CR) to changes in photosynthetic carbon isotope discrimination (Δi). However, the lack of a systematic response of δ13CR to environmental changes in field studies stresses the need to better understand the mechanisms to this response. We experimentally created a wide range of carbon allocation and respiration conditions in Fagus sylvatica mesocosms, by growing saplings under different temperatures and girdling combinations. After a period of drought, a water pulse was applied and the short-term responses of δ13C in soil CO2 efflux (δ13CRsoil) and δ13C in aboveground plant respiration (δ13CRabove) were measured, as well as leaf gas exchange rates and soil microbial biomass δ13C responses. Both δ13CRsoil and δ 13CRabove values of all the trees decreased immediately after the water pulse. These responses were not driven by changes in Δi, but rather by a fast release of C stored in roots and shoots. Changes in δ13CRsoil associated with the water pulse were significantly positively correlated with changes in stomatal conductance, showing a strong impact of the plant component on δ13CRsoil. However, three days after the water pulse in girdled trees, changes in δ13CRsoil were related to changes in microbial biomass δ13C, suggesting that changes in the carbon source respired by soil microorganisms also contributed to the response of δ13CRsoil. Our study shows that improving our mechanistic understanding of the responses of δ13CR to changes in environmental conditions requires the understanding of not only the plant's physiological responses, but also the responses of soil microorganisms and of plant-microbial interactions. Show more
Journal / seriesBiogeosciences Discussions
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03648 - Buchmann, Nina / Buchmann, Nina
NotesThis preprint has been withdrawn by the authors.
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