Journal article

Cellulose delta O-18 is an index of leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference (VPD) in tropical plants

Ansgar Kahmen, Dirk Sachse, Stefan K Arndt, Kevin P Tu, Heraldo Farrington, Peter M Vitousek, Todd E Dawson

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | NATL ACAD SCIENCES | Published : 2011


Cellulose in plants contains oxygen that derives in most cases from precipitation. Because the stable oxygen isotope composition, δ(18)O, of precipitation is associated with environmental conditions, cellulose δ(18)O should be as well. However, plant physiological models using δ(18)O suggest that cellulose δ(18)O is influenced by a complex mix of both climatic and physiological drivers. This influence complicates the interpretation of cellulose δ(18)O values in a paleo-context. Here, we combined empirical data analyses with mechanistic model simulations to i) quantify the impacts that the primary climatic drivers humidity (e(a)) and air temperature (T(air)) have on cellulose δ(18)O values in..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by European Commission

Awarded by German Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Paul Brooks for his assistance with the delta<SUP>18</SUP>O analyses of water and plant material and Patricia Sandmeier for her help with sample collections in the field. We thank Christoph Kuffer and John Barnes for providing climate data for this study. We thank Kevin Simonin for valuable discussions and Martha Scholl, Lucas Cernusak, Albin Hammerle, John Roden, and two anonymous referees who all provided valuable comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. A.K. is supported by a Marie Curie Outgoing International Fellowship from the European Commission (MOIF-CT-2006-040885) and D.S. is supported by an Emmy Noether Research Grant from the German Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) (SA-1889/1-1). All of the stable isotope analyses were supported by a grant to A.K. and T.D. from the Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry at University of California, Berkeley.