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

AuthorsCornwell, William K.; Wright, Ian J.; Turner, Joel; Maire, Vincent: Barbour, Margaret M.; Cernusak, Lucas A.; Dawson, Todd E.; Ellsworth, David; Farquhar, Graham D.; Griffiths, Howard; Keitel, Claudia; Knohl, Alexander; Reich, Peter B.; Williams, David G.; Bhaskar, Radika; Cornelissen, Johannes H.C.; Richards, Anna; Schmidt, Susanne; Valladares Ros, Fernando ; Körner, Christian; Schulze, Ernst‐Detlef; Buchmann, Nina; Santiago, Louis S.
KeywordsCarbon isotopes
Environmental drivers
Leaf traits
Issue DateSep-2018
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationGlobal Ecology and Biogeography 27(9): 1056-1067 (2018)
AbstractAim: Within C plants, photosynthesis is a balance between CO 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 CO supply–demand balance on a global scale, via analysis of stable isotopes of carbon within leaves (ΔC), which provide an integrative record of CO drawdown during photosynthesis. LocationGlobal. Time period1951–2011. Major taxa studiedVascular plants. Methods: We assembled a database of leaf carbon isotope ratios containing 3,979 species–site combinations from across the globe, including 3,645 for C species. We examined a wide array of potential climate and soil drivers of variation in ΔC. Results: 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 ΔC. 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 ΔC variation. Main conclusions: By considering variation in ΔC at a considerably larger scale than previously, we were able to identify and quantify key drivers in CO 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 CO concentrations at the site of carboxylation among plants in a given soil and climate.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/geb.12764
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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