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Summer dry-down modulates the isotopic composition of soil CO2 production in snow-dominated landscapes

In mountainous landscapes, soil moisture is highly dynamic due to the effects of topography and the temporal variability imposed by seasonal precipitation, including rainfall and snow. Soil moisture is known to affect ecosystem carbon exchange both aboveground and belowground, as well as the stable isotopic composition of exchanged CO 2 . In this study we used an extensive suite of measurements to examine the effects of seasonal changes in soil moisture on the isotopic composition of soil CO 2 production at the landscape level. We show that the seasonal decline in soil moisture (i.e., summer dry-down) appeared to impose a trend in the δ 13 C of soil CO 2 production (δ P ) with more negative δ P early in the growing season when soils were wet, and more positive δ P as the growing season progressed and soils dried out. This seemingly generalizable pattern for a snow-dominated watershed is likely to represent the variability of recently assimilated C, tracked through the plant-soil system and imprinted in the respired CO 2 . Thus, our observations suggest that, at least for mountainous environments, seasonal changes in δ P are largely mediated by soil moisture and their spatial variability is partially organized by topography.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Riveros-Iregui, D. A., Lorenzo, T. M., Liang, L. L., & Hu, J. (2018). Summer dry-down modulates the isotopic composition of soil CO2 production in snow-dominated landscapes. PLoS ONE, 13(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0197471
Public Library of Science
© 2018 Riveros-Iregui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.