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Isotope pathway from atmosphere to the tree ring along a humidity gradient in Switzerland

English title Isotope pathway from atmosphere to the tree ring along a humidity gradient in Switzerland
Applicant Treydte Kerstin
Number 130112
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Swiss Federal Research Inst. WSL Direktion
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.09.2010 - 31.05.2014
Approved amount 197'448.00
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All Disciplines (5)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Geochemistry
Pedology
Organic Chemistry
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy

Keywords (18)

stable isotopes; plant physiology; dendroecology; tree ring; transpiration; soil moisture; photosynthesis; Swiss Alps; larix decidua; picea abies; Carbon isotopes; climate change; larch; mechanistic model; oxygen isotopes; spruce; stomatal conductance; temperature

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Temperatures in Switzerland increased about 0.57°C over the last three decades and climate models predict that this increase will continue during the 21st century and beyond. Accompanied by changes in the water supply due to the expected increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation and/or drought events, these effects will strongly force changes in forest productivity, spatial distribution of tree species, and changes in the species composition within forests. Projections of the future dimensions and interactions of these effects require detailed understanding of short and long-term changes in eco-physiological responses to past and present climate variation. Stable isotopes in tree rings have become a significant tool in obtaining retrospective insight into the plant physiological response to climate and other environmental variables. The increasing number of isotope records, however, also highlights important unsolved questions and current limitations of this tree-ring parameter. Obviously, an improved understanding of the mechanisms leading to variations in the tree's internal carbon and water cycle in relation to climate, soil moisture conditions, transpiration and expansion of the root system is urgently needed. ISOPATH aims to decipher the origin and variability of the isotopic signal in the tree rings of two alpine species, frequently used in climate reconstructions, and to understand the environmental and physiological information encoded. We will develop weekly resolved records of carbon and oxygen isotopes in xylem and needle water, needle sugars, phloem sugars and stem wood/cellulose of two physiologically differing species (larch and spruce) growing under varying temperature, soil moisture and relative humidity conditions. Those data will be related to a large suite of external variables including precipitation and soil water, temperature, and vapour pressure deficit. We act (i) on a spatial scale by following the complete pathway of stable isotopes from the atmosphere into the tree ring under varying environmental conditions and (ii) on a temporal scale by studying seasonal cycles of the isotope signals in all these different components, covering four growth seasons (2008-2011). This unique dataset in terms of length, resolution and number of measured variables will be used to test and improve advanced models for isotope fractionation at the leaf level and in the tree ring, in relation to species-specific traits, temperature and soil moisture conditions. The measured and modelled isotope signatures will allow to predict plant physiological adaptation in the alpine environment to climate change of the 21st century.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Seasonal transfer of oxygen isotopes from precipitation and soil to the tree ring: Source water versus needle water enrichment
Treydte Kerstin, Boda Sonja, Graf Pannatier Elisabeth, Fonti Patrick, Frank David, Ullrich Bastian, Saurer Matthias, Siegwolf Rolf, Battipaglia Giovanna, Werner Willy, Gessler Arthur (2014), Seasonal transfer of oxygen isotopes from precipitation and soil to the tree ring: Source water versus needle water enrichment, in New Phytologist, 202, 772-783.
Intra-annual dynamics of non-structural carbohydrates in the cambium of mature conifer trees reflects radial growth demands
Simard Sonia, Giovannelli Alessio, Treydte Kerstin, Traversi Maria Laura, King Gregory, Frank David, Fonti Patrick (2013), Intra-annual dynamics of non-structural carbohydrates in the cambium of mature conifer trees reflects radial growth demands, in Tree Physioloy, 33, 913-923.
Stable oxygen isotopes in xylem water and soil water of alpine trees
Ullrich Bastian, Graf Pannatier Elisabeth, Saurer Matthias, Simard Sonia, Treydte Kerstin (2013), Stable oxygen isotopes in xylem water and soil water of alpine trees, in Tree Rings in Archeology, Climatology and Ecology, Potsdam 11, 11.
The oxygen isotope enrichment of leaf-exported assimilates - does it always reflect lamina leaf water enrichment?
Gessler Arthur, Brandes Elke, Keitel Claudia, Boda Sonja, Kayler Zachary, Granier Andre, Barbour Margaret, Farquhar Graham, Treydte Kerstin (2013), The oxygen isotope enrichment of leaf-exported assimilates - does it always reflect lamina leaf water enrichment?, in New Phytologist, 200(1), 144-157.
Sauerstoff-Isotope in der Paläoklimatologie
Treydte Kerstin, Sauerstoff-Isotope in der Paläoklimatologie, in Geografische Rundschau.
Stable isotopes in tree rings: towards a mechanistic understanding of isotope fractionation and mixing processes from the leaves to the wood
Gessler Arthur, Ferrio Juan Pedrio, Hommel Robert, Treydte Kerstin, Werner Roland, Monson Russell, Stable isotopes in tree rings: towards a mechanistic understanding of isotope fractionation and mixing processes from the leaves to the wood, in Tree Physiology.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
UFZ Leipzig Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
CSIRO, Camberra Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Firenze Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
INRA, Bordeaux France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Western Syndey Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Southern Oregon University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Geoforschungszentrum Potsdam Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
University of Technology Sydney Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
PSI Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
ZALF, Müncheberg Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Worlddendro 2014 Poster Seasonal decoupling of soil and xylem water δ18O of larch in the Swiss Alps 13.01.2014 Melbourne, Australia Treydte Kerstin; Graf Pannatier Elisabeth; Saurer Matthias; Ullrich Bastian;
Worlddendro 2014 Poster EQUAL CLIMATE SENSITIVITY OF STABLE ISOTOPES IN WHO LE WOOD AND CELLULOSE OF TWO SUBALPINE TREE SPECIES 13.01.2014 Melbourne, Australia Treydte Kerstin;
Worlddendro 2014 Talk given at a conference Source water or leaf water enrichment? Climate signals in tree ring δ18O 13.01.2014 Melbourne, Australia Treydte Kerstin;
TRACE 2013 Talk given at a conference Evaluating the species- and site-specific differences in the physiological response of Picea abies, Fagus sylvatica and Larix decidua to drought 08.05.2013 Viterbo, Italy Treydte Kerstin;
TRACE 2013 Poster Do oxygen isotopes in tree rings from coastal Alaska record atmospheric circulation patterns? 08.05.2013 Viterbo, Italy Treydte Kerstin;
TRACE 2013 Poster Climate sensitivity of stable isotopes in wood and cellulose of larch and spruce ( S wiss A lps) 08.05.2013 Viterbo, Italy Treydte Kerstin;
EGU 2013 Poster Do oxygen isotopes in tree rings from coastal Alaska record atmospheric circulation patterns? 07.04.2013 Wien, Austria Treydte Kerstin;
EGU 2013 Poster Tree growth and forest ecosystem functioning in Eurasia under extreme climate conditions 07.04.2013 Wien, Austria Saurer Matthias; Treydte Kerstin;
EGU 2013 Poster EGU2013-10544 Stable oxygen isotopes in water from xylem and soil of alpine trees 07.04.2013 Wien, Austria Treydte Kerstin; Ullrich Bastian; Graf Pannatier Elisabeth; Saurer Matthias;
EGU 2013 Poster Evaluating the species- and site-specific differences in the physiological response of Picea abies, Fagus sylvatica and Larix decidua to drought 07.04.2013 Wien, Austria Treydte Kerstin;
TRACE 2012 Talk given at a conference Tree physiological response to thinning using the dual isotope approach 09.05.2012 Potsdam, Germany Treydte Kerstin;
TRACE 2012 Poster Seasonal variations of xylem and source water δ18O in spruce and larch in the Lötschental/Swiss Alps 09.05.2012 Potsdam, Germany Ullrich Bastian; Saurer Matthias; Treydte Kerstin; Graf Pannatier Elisabeth;
TRACE 2011 Talk given at a conference Oxygen isotope pathway from the soil to the tree-ring at alpine sites in Switzerland 11.05.2011 Orleans, France Ullrich Bastian; Saurer Matthias; Graf Pannatier Elisabeth; Treydte Kerstin;
EGU 2011 Talk given at a conference Winter Arctic Oscillation signal in a European tree-ring δ18O network 04.04.2011 Wien, Austria Saurer Matthias; Treydte Kerstin;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
European Dendroecological Fieldweek 2013 26.08.2013 San Vito di Cadore, Italy
European Dendroecological Fieldweek 2012 09.09.2012 San vito Di Cadore, Italy
Eurodendro 2011 19.09.2011 Engelberg, Switzerland, Switzerland
International Dendroecological Fieldweek 2011 12.09.2011 Engelberg, Switzerland, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Jahrringe – das Gedächtnis der Natur 18.09.2011 Engelberg, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Jahrringe – das Gedächtnis der Natur Obwalden und Nidwalden Zeitung German-speaking Switzerland 2011

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
121859 INtra-seasonal Tree growth along Elevational GRAdients in the European ALps (INTEGRAL) 01.03.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
150003 Compound-specific oxygen isotope analysis of carbohydrates as a novel tool in ecophysiology and climate research 01.08.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)
134864 Understanding the isotope signal of trees growing on continuous permafrost in northern Siberia 01.08.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)
154157 TreePulse - Water use strategies of Australian tree species to survive drought - a pulse labelling experiment with isotope tracers 01.02.2014 International short research visits
175888 Disentangling source water and leaf water signals in highly resolved oxygen isotope data from tree rings 01.05.2018 Project funding (Div. I-III)
150205 Coupling stem water flow and structural carbon allocation in a warming climate: the Lötschental study case (LOTFOR) 01.06.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Temperatures in Switzerland increased about 0.57°C over the last three decades (Rebetez & Reinhard 2007) and even though considerable uncertainty exists in future projections, General Circulation Models predict that this increase will continue during the 21st century and beyond (IPCC 2007; Stott et al. 2006). Accompanied by changes in the water supply due to the expected increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation and/or drought events, these effects will strongly force changes in forest productivity, spatial distribution of tree species, and changes in the species composition within forests. Projections of the future dimensions and interactions of these effects require detailed understanding of short and long-term changes in eco-physiological responses to past and present climate variation. Stable isotopes in tree rings have become a significant tool in obtaining retrospective insight into the plant physiological response to climate and other environmental variables. The increasing number of isotope records, however, also highlights important unsolved questions and current limitations of this tree-ring parameter. Obviously, an improved understanding of the mechanisms leading to variations in the tree’s internal carbon and water cycle in relation to climate, soil moisture conditions, transpiration and expansion of the root system is urgently needed. Moreover, disentangling the physiological processes and meteorological variables associated is a prerequisite for an accurate interpretation of d13C and d18O in tree-ring ecology. ISOPATH aims to decipher the origin and variability of the isotopic signal in the tree rings of two alpine species, frequently used in climate reconstructions, and to understand the environmental and physiological information encoded. We will develop weekly resolved records of d18O and d13C in xylem and needle water, needle sugars, phloem sugars and stem wood/cellulose of two physiologically differing species (Larix decidua and Picea abies) growing under varying temperature, soil moisture and relative humidity conditions. Those data will be related to a large suite of external variables including precipitation and soil water d18?, temperature, and vapour pressure deficit, partly measured in another SNF-project at the same sites (INTEGRAL). We systematically act (i) on a spatial scale by following the complete pathway of stable isotopes from the atmosphere into the tree ring under varying environmental conditions and (ii) on a temporal scale by studying seasonal cycles of the isotope signals in all these different components, covering four growth seasons (2008-2011). This unique dataset in terms of length, resolution and number of measured variables will be used to test and improve advanced models for isotope fractionation at the leaf level and in the tree ring, in relation to species-specific traits, temperature and soil moisture conditions. The measured and modelled isotope signatures will allow to predict plant physiological adaptation in the alpine environment to climate change of the 21st century.
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