Polar Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 8, pp 1209–1219

Fast assimilate turnover revealed by in situ 13CO2 pulse-labelling in Subarctic tundra

  • Jens-Arne Subke
  • Andreas Heinemeyer
  • Harry W. Vallack
  • Vincenzo Leronni
  • Robert Baxter
  • Phil Ineson
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-012-1167-6

Cite this article as:
Subke, J., Heinemeyer, A., Vallack, H.W. et al. Polar Biol (2012) 35: 1209. doi:10.1007/s00300-012-1167-6

Abstract

Climatic changes in Arctic regions are likely to have significant impacts on vegetation composition and physiological responses of different plant types, with implications for the regional carbon (C) cycle. Here, we explore differences in allocation and turnover of assimilated C in two Subarctic tundra communities. We used an in situ 13C pulse at mid-summer in Swedish Lapland to investigate C allocation and turnover in four contrasting tundra plant communities. We found a high rate of turnover of assimilated C in leaf tissues of Betula nana and graminoid vegetation at the height of the growing season, with a mean residence time of pulse-derived 13C of 1.1 and 0.7 days, respectively. One week after the pulse, c. 20 and 15%, respectively, of assimilated label-C remained in leaf biomass, representing most likely allocation to structural biomass. For the perennial leaf tissue of the graminoid communities, a remainder of approximately 5% of the pulse-derived C was still traceable after 1 year, whereas none was detectable in Betula foliage. The results indicate a relatively fast C turnover and small belowground allocation during the active growing season of recent assimilates in graminoid communities, with comparatively slower turnover and greater investment in belowground allocation by B. nana vegetation.

Keywords

Carbon cycleGPP partitioningStable isotopesTundra biome

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens-Arne Subke
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andreas Heinemeyer
    • 2
  • Harry W. Vallack
    • 2
  • Vincenzo Leronni
    • 3
  • Robert Baxter
    • 4
  • Phil Ineson
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Natural Sciences, Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK
  2. 2.Environment Department, Stockholm Environment InstituteUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  3. 3.Department of Agro-Environmental and Territorial SciencesUniversity of BariBariItaly
  4. 4.School of Biological and Biomedical SciencesUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK