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Environmental and taxonomic controls of carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition in Sphagnum across broad climatic and geographic ranges

Environmental and taxonomic controls of carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition in Sphagnum across broad climatic and geographic ranges
Environmental and taxonomic controls of carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition in Sphagnum across broad climatic and geographic ranges

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 (12,13C) and oxygen (16,18O) 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 species-specific 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 δ18O tracks the δ18O isotope signature of precipitation. In total, we analysed 337 samples from 93 sites across North America and Eurasia using two important peat-forming Sphagnum species (S. magellanicum, S. fuscum) common to the Holarctic realm. There were differences in δ13C values between species. For S. magellanicum δ13C decreased with increasing height above the water table (HWT, R2 =17%) and was positively correlated to productivity (R2 = 7%). Together these two variables explained 46% of the between-site variation in δ13C values. For S. fuscum, productivity was the only significant predictor of δ13C but had low explanatory power (total R2 = 6%). For δ18O values, approximately 90% of the variation was found between sites. Globally modelled annual δ18O values in precipitation explained 69% of the between-site variation in tissue δ18O. S. magellanicum showed lower δ18O enrichment than S. fuscum (-0.83 ‰ lower). Elevation and climatic variables were weak predictors of tissue δ18O values after controlling for δ18O values of the precipitation. To summarize, our study provides evidence for (a) good predictability of tissue δ18O values from modelled annual δ18O values in precipitation, and (b) the possibility of relating tissue δ13C 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.

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Granath, Gustaf, Rydin, Håkan, Baltzer, Jennifer L., Bengtsson, Fia, Boncek, Nicholas, Bragazza, Luca, Bu, Zhao Jun, Caporn, Simon J.M., Dorrepaal, Ellen, Galanina, Olga, GaÅka, Mariusz, Ganeva, Anna, Gillikin, David P., Goia, Irina, Goncharova, Nadezhda, Hájek, Michal, Haraguchi, Akira, Harris, Lorna I., Humphreys, Elyn, Jiroušek, Martin, KajukaÅo, Katarzyna, Karofeld, Edgar, Koronatova, Natalia G., Kosykh, Natalia P., Lamentowicz, Mariusz, Lapshina, Elena, Limpens, Juul, Linkosalmi, Maiju, Ma, Jin Ze, Mauritz, Marguerite, Munir, Tariq M., Natali, Susan M., Natcheva, Rayna, Noskova, Maria, Payne, Richard J., Pilkington, Kyle, Robinson, Sean, Robroek, Bjorn J.M., Rochefort, Line, Singer, David, Stenøien, Hans K., Tuittila, Eeva Stiina, Vellak, Kai, Verheyden, Anouk, Michael Waddington, James and Rice, Steven K. (2018) Environmental and taxonomic controls of carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition in Sphagnum across broad climatic and geographic ranges. Biogeosciences, 15 (16), 5189-5202. (doi:10.5194/bg-15-5189-2018).

Record type: Article

Abstract

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 (12,13C) and oxygen (16,18O) 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 species-specific 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 δ18O tracks the δ18O isotope signature of precipitation. In total, we analysed 337 samples from 93 sites across North America and Eurasia using two important peat-forming Sphagnum species (S. magellanicum, S. fuscum) common to the Holarctic realm. There were differences in δ13C values between species. For S. magellanicum δ13C decreased with increasing height above the water table (HWT, R2 =17%) and was positively correlated to productivity (R2 = 7%). Together these two variables explained 46% of the between-site variation in δ13C values. For S. fuscum, productivity was the only significant predictor of δ13C but had low explanatory power (total R2 = 6%). For δ18O values, approximately 90% of the variation was found between sites. Globally modelled annual δ18O values in precipitation explained 69% of the between-site variation in tissue δ18O. S. magellanicum showed lower δ18O enrichment than S. fuscum (-0.83 ‰ lower). Elevation and climatic variables were weak predictors of tissue δ18O values after controlling for δ18O values of the precipitation. To summarize, our study provides evidence for (a) good predictability of tissue δ18O values from modelled annual δ18O values in precipitation, and (b) the possibility of relating tissue δ13C 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.

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 August 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 August 2018
Published date: 29 August 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 424236
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/424236
ISSN: 1726-4170
PURE UUID: c71e1ee4-356e-43b5-91db-c7f5c2163ea1
ORCID for Bjorn J.M. Robroek: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6714-0652

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Date deposited: 05 Oct 2018 11:35
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 03:09

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Contributors

Author: Gustaf Granath
Author: Håkan Rydin
Author: Jennifer L. Baltzer
Author: Fia Bengtsson
Author: Nicholas Boncek
Author: Luca Bragazza
Author: Zhao Jun Bu
Author: Simon J.M. Caporn
Author: Ellen Dorrepaal
Author: Olga Galanina
Author: Mariusz GaÅka
Author: Anna Ganeva
Author: David P. Gillikin
Author: Irina Goia
Author: Nadezhda Goncharova
Author: Michal Hájek
Author: Akira Haraguchi
Author: Lorna I. Harris
Author: Elyn Humphreys
Author: Martin Jiroušek
Author: Katarzyna KajukaÅo
Author: Edgar Karofeld
Author: Natalia G. Koronatova
Author: Natalia P. Kosykh
Author: Mariusz Lamentowicz
Author: Elena Lapshina
Author: Juul Limpens
Author: Maiju Linkosalmi
Author: Jin Ze Ma
Author: Marguerite Mauritz
Author: Tariq M. Munir
Author: Susan M. Natali
Author: Rayna Natcheva
Author: Maria Noskova
Author: Richard J. Payne
Author: Kyle Pilkington
Author: Sean Robinson
Author: Bjorn J.M. Robroek ORCID iD
Author: Line Rochefort
Author: David Singer
Author: Hans K. Stenøien
Author: Eeva Stiina Tuittila
Author: Kai Vellak
Author: Anouk Verheyden
Author: James Michael Waddington
Author: Steven K. Rice

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