Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Plant stable isotope composition across habitat gradients in a semi-arid savanna: implications for environmental reconstruction


Codron, J; Lee-Thorp, J A; Sponheimer, M; Codron, D (2013). Plant stable isotope composition across habitat gradients in a semi-arid savanna: implications for environmental reconstruction. Journal of Quaternary Science, 28(3):301-310.

Abstract

Field studies of plant stable carbon and nitrogen isotope composition have revealed relationships with temperature and precipitation. These relationships conform to theoretical predictions of how extrinsic factors impact on ecophysiological processes such as photosynthesis and nitrogen cycling. However, examination of many datasets reveals high levels of variation, especially across environments with moderate precipitation (<1000mm per year). To test for extrinsic effects on plant isotope composition in such environments, we studied data from plants collected over three years from multiple habitats and seasons in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Our sample is sufficiently large to evaluate not only effects of environmental variables (rainfall up to 800mm aper year, temperature, physical habitat structure) but also taxonomic effects. Species composition of habitats accounted for most of the variation in our data, followed by physical habitat structure (e.g. wooded or riverine compared with open, grassy habitats), while rainfall and temperature had only indirect or negligible effects. The latter finding concurs with subsections of existing datasets and we suggest therefore that such effects usually become visible in datasets that span environmental extremes, implying environmental ranges within which plant isotope variations cannot readily be ascribed to climate.

Abstract

Field studies of plant stable carbon and nitrogen isotope composition have revealed relationships with temperature and precipitation. These relationships conform to theoretical predictions of how extrinsic factors impact on ecophysiological processes such as photosynthesis and nitrogen cycling. However, examination of many datasets reveals high levels of variation, especially across environments with moderate precipitation (<1000mm per year). To test for extrinsic effects on plant isotope composition in such environments, we studied data from plants collected over three years from multiple habitats and seasons in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Our sample is sufficiently large to evaluate not only effects of environmental variables (rainfall up to 800mm aper year, temperature, physical habitat structure) but also taxonomic effects. Species composition of habitats accounted for most of the variation in our data, followed by physical habitat structure (e.g. wooded or riverine compared with open, grassy habitats), while rainfall and temperature had only indirect or negligible effects. The latter finding concurs with subsections of existing datasets and we suggest therefore that such effects usually become visible in datasets that span environmental extremes, implying environmental ranges within which plant isotope variations cannot readily be ascribed to climate.

Statistics

Citations

5 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

0 downloads since deposited on 25 Apr 2013
0 downloads since 12 months

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:25 Apr 2013 13:45
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:46
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0267-8179
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.2614

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 1MB
View at publisher