Relative stability of soil carbon revealed by shifts in delta N-15 and C:N ratio

Conen, Franz and Zimmermann, Michael and Leifeld, Jens and Seth, Barbara and Alewell, Christine. (2008) Relative stability of soil carbon revealed by shifts in delta N-15 and C:N ratio. Biogeosciences, Vol. 5. pp. 123-128.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5250220

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Life on earth drives a continuous exchange of carbon between soils and the atmosphere. Some forms of soil carbon, or organic matter, are more stable and have a longer residence time in soil than others. Relative differences in stability have often been derived from shifts in delta C-13 (which is bound to a vegetation change from C3 to C4 type) or through C-14-dating (which is bound to small sample numbers because of high measurement costs). Here, we propose a new concept based on the increase in delta N-15 and the decrease in C:N ratio with increasing stability. We tested the concept on grasslands at different elevations in the Swiss Alps. Depending on elevation and soil depth, it predicted mineral-associated organic carbon to be 3 to 73 times more stable than particulate organic carbon. Analysis of C-14-ages generally endorsed these predictions.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften (Alewell)
UniBasel Contributors:Conen, Franz and Alewell, Christine
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:31 Dec 2015 10:47
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:12

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