Quantifying terrestrial carbon storage and predicting the sensitivity of ecosystems to global climate change relies on the ability to separately investigate photosynthesis and respiration. The oxygen (18O/16O) isotope ratios of CO2 and water can substantially advance our understanding of how carbon and water cycle through the terrestrial biosphere. This is because a large isotopic disequilibrium often exists between the oxygen isotope composition of CO2 exchanged by leaves and soils with the atmosphere making it a powerful independent tool for quantifying and understanding variability in the CO2 gross fluxes of the terrestrial biosphere. The aim of LATIS is to improve our understanding of C18OO fluxes between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. We will achieve this by: 1) elucidating the role of soil biology on the oxygen isotope composition of the net soil CO2 flux, 2) incorporating up-to-date theoretical models of C18OO exchange from foliage and soils into the unique soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer model, MuSICA-iso and, 3) developing and testing new theory to mechanistically interpret the oxygen isotope signals of CO2 exchanged between tree stems and the atmosphere and how they relate to tree physiology. LATIS is a multi-disciplinary project utilising state-of-the-art field measurements observing the continuous fluctuation of branch, stem and soil isofluxes. These observations will be used to validate the novel models developed in LATIS. This innovative and ambitious approach will result in: 1) an improved understanding of the oxygen isotope CO2 exchange between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere, 2) the development of a state-of-the-art soil-vegetation-atmosphere water and CO2 isotope exchange model and, 3) a deeper understanding of oxygen isotope signals involved during the transport of water and carbon within plants and how these processes are preserved in wood cellulose.
Fields of science
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