Stable Isotopes in Ecological Research

Volume 68 of the series Ecological Studies pp 41-54

Carbon Isotope Ratios and Physiological Processes in Aridland Plants

  • J. R. Ehleringer

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Carbon isotope ratios in plants were initially used to investigate photosynthetic pathway types and have more recently been extended to studies of water-use efficiency in C3 plants. The previous chapter by Farquhar et al. laid down the theoretical framework for why carbon isotope ratios should provide valuable insights into plant water-use efficiency studies and also provided strong experimental evidence of these patterns among agronomically important species. In this chapter, I focus on how carbon isotope ratios can be utilized in studies of aridland plants to understand ecophysiological processes.