Climate and soils together regulate photosynthetic carbon isotope discrimination within C3 plants worldwide

Cornwell, Wiliam K. and Wright, Iain A. and Turner, Joel and Maire, Vincent and Barbour, Margaret M. and Cernusak, Lucas A. and Dawson, Todd E. and Ellsworth, David S. and Farquhar, Graham D. and Griffiths, Howard and Keitel, Claudia and Knohl, Alexander and Reich, Peter B. and Williams, David G. and Bhaskar, Radika and Cornelissen, Johannes H. C. and Richards, Anna and Schmidt, Susanne and Valladares, Fernando and Körner, Christian and Schulze, Ernst‐Detlef and Buchmann, Nina and Santiago, Louis S. . (2018) Climate and soils together regulate photosynthetic carbon isotope discrimination within C3 plants worldwide. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 27 (9). pp. 1056-1067.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/66635/

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Within C3 plants, photosynthesis is a balance between CO2 supply from the atmosphere via stomata and demand by enzymes within chloroplasts. This process is dynamic and a complex but crucial aspect of photosynthesis. We sought to understand the spatial pattern in CO2 supply–demand balance on a global scale, via analysis of stable isotopes of carbon within leaves (Δ13C), which provide an integrative record of CO2 drawdown during photosynthesis. Location: Global. Time period: 1951–2011. Major taxa studied: Vascular plants. We assembled a database of leaf carbon isotope ratios containing 3,979 species–site combinations from across the globe, including 3,645 for C3 species. We examined a wide array of potential climate and soil drivers of variation in Δ13C. The strongest drivers of carbon isotope discrimination at the global scale included atmospheric pressure, potential evapotranspiration and soil pH, which explained 44% of the variation in Δ13C. Addition of eight more climate and soil variables (each explaining small but highly significant amounts of variation) increased the explained variation to 60%. On top of this, the largest plant trait effect was leaf nitrogen per area, which explained 11% of Δ13C variation. By considering variation in Δ13C at a considerably larger scale than previously, we were able to identify and quantify key drivers in CO2 supply–demand balance previously unacknowledged. Of special note is the key role of soil properties, with greater discrimination on low‐pH and high‐silt soils. Unlike other plant traits, which show typically wide variation within sets of coexisting species, the global pattern in carbon stable isotope ratios is much more conservative; there is relatively narrow variation in time‐integrated CO2 concentrations at the site of carboxylation among plants in a given soil and climate.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Körner, Christian
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:15 Sep 2020 06:23
Deposited On:15 Sep 2020 06:23

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