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Comparison of δ 18 O and δ 13 C values between tree-ring whole wood and cellulose in five species growing under two different site conditions Comparing δ 18 O and δ 13 C values of tree-ring whole wood and cellulose

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Weigt Rosemarie B., Bräunlich Stephanie, Zimmermann Lothar, Saurer Matthias, Grams Thorsten E. E., Dietrich Hans-Peter, Siegwolf Rolf T.W., Nikolova Petia S.,
Project iTREE-Long-term variability of tree growth in a changing environment - identifying physiological mechanisms using stable C and O isotopes in tree rings.
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume (Issue) 29(23)
Page(s) 2233 - 2244
Title of proceedings Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
DOI 10.1002/rcm.7388


RATIONALE: We investigated the applicability of tree-ring whole-wood material for δ18O and δ13C analysis in comparison with the more time- and resource-intensive use of cellulose, by considering possible variability between (i) five different tree species (Fagus sylvatica, Quercus robur, Picea abies, Abies alba, Pseudotsuga menziesii), (ii) two sites that differ in soil moisture, and (iii) climate conditions within a 10-year period. METHODS: Stem cores of 30 individual trees (n = 3 trees per each species and site) were sampled from two sites in south Germany (Bavaria), and tree rings within sapwood of the years 2001–2010 were separated. The δ18O and δ13C values from homogenized tree-ring whole wood and from extracted cellulose were measured by mass spectrometry. Species- specific offsets in isotope values were analyzed and the responses in isotopic signature to climate variability including a single drought event were compared between whole-wood and cellulose. RESULTS: A constant offset in δ18O values of ca 5 ‰ between wood and cellulose was observed for most species independent of site conditions, with a significant difference between beech and Douglas-fir, while inter-annual variability was only observed in oak. The offset in δ13C values ranged between 1.45 and 1.84 ‰ across species, sites and years. Both materials generally showed similar strength in responses to temperature, precipitation and soil water availability, particularly for conifers. Resistance to severe drought stress – partly more strongly reflected in the δ13C values of cellulose – was lower for conifers than for the deciduous species. CONCLUSIONS: Wood material from the sapwood of the studied tree species is as useful as cellulose for studying environmental effects on tree-ring δ18O and δ13C values at a short-term scale as considered in most ecophysiological studies. The more variable response of oak may require further investigations.