Polar Biology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 29–37 | Cite as

Leaf isotopic (δ13C and δ15N) and nitrogen contents of Carex plants along the Eurasian Coastal Arctic: results from the Northeast Passage expedition

  • Jeffrey M. Welker
  • Ingibjörg S. Jónsdóttir
  • Jace T. Fahnestock
Original Paper


We conducted surrogate in-situ physiological performance measures (δ13C and δ15N) of Carex plants from 15 Eurasian Coastal Arctic sites. Leaf carbon isotope discrimination (LCID) of Carex plants exhibited significant differences between sites (populations). Additionally, LCID was inversely correlated with mean annual temperature and stomatal density, and to a lesser extent, with the depth of thaw. Leaf δ15N values of Carex plants exhibited significant differences between sites without differences among ramet age classes, and the leaf δ15N values were inversely correlated with mean annual precipitation. These ranges of Carex leaf gas exchange and mineral nutrition across the Eurasian Arctic may contribute to Carex’s dominance in coastal tundra systems. Also, the inverse correlation between LCID, precipitation, and temperature indicates that, as precipitation increases and temperatures continue to warm in Eurasia, leaf gas exchange may actually be lower in the future, leading to reductions in shoot growth and lower above-ground biomass production.


Soil Organic Carbon Stomatal Conductance Mineral Nutrition Stomatal Density Carex Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank all those who contributed to the implementation and success of Swedish-Russian Tundra Ecology-94, including the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, the Swedish Natural Science Research Council, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. We also wish to thank those that contributed to the Eurasian Carex Project, including M. Augner, T. Fagerström, and A. Stenström. We also acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Polar Programs (OPP-9907356). This research is also a contribution to the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) and its goal of understanding the ecology and biology of arctic plants and ecosystems. We also wish to thank Dr. James Zumbrunnen of the Colorado State University Statistics Department for statistical advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey M. Welker
    • 1
  • Ingibjörg S. Jónsdóttir
    • 2
  • Jace T. Fahnestock
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural Resource Ecology LaboratoryColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The University Courses on SvalbardLongyearbyenNorway

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