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Stable Isotopes in Ecosystem Science: Structure, Function and Dynamics of a Subtropical
 

Summary: Stable Isotopes in Ecosystem Science: Structure,
Function and Dynamics of a Subtropical
Savanna
T. W. Boutton1
*, S. R. Archer1
and A. J. Midwood2
1
Department of Rangeland Ecology and Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2126, USA
2
Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
SPONSOR REFEREE: Dr Brian A. McGaw, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK
Stable isotopes are often utilized as intrinsic tracers to study the effects of human land uses on the structural
and functional characteristics of ecosystems. Here, we illustrate how stable isotopes of H, C, and O have
been utilized to document changes in ecosystem structure and function using a case study from a subtropical
savanna ecosystem. Specifically, we demonstrate that: (1) d13
C values of soil organic carbon record a
vegetation change in this ecosystem from C4 grassland to C3 woodland during the past 40120 years, and (2)
d2
H and d18
O of plant and soil water reveal changes in ecosystem hydrology that accompanied this

  

Source: Archer, Steven R. - Savanna/Woodland Ecology Lab., School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona
Boutton, Thomas W. - Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology