Biogeochemistry

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 373–388

Calcium isotope fractionation in alpine plants

  • R. S. Hindshaw
  • B. C. Reynolds
  • J. G. Wiederhold
  • M. Kiczka
  • R. Kretzschmar
  • B. Bourdon
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10533-012-9732-1

Cite this article as:
Hindshaw, R.S., Reynolds, B.C., Wiederhold, J.G. et al. Biogeochemistry (2013) 112: 373. doi:10.1007/s10533-012-9732-1

Abstract

In order to develop Ca isotopes as a tracer for biogeochemical Ca cycling in terrestrial environments and for Ca utilisation in plants, stable calcium isotope ratios were measured in various species of alpine plants, including woody species, grasses and herbs. Analysis of plant parts (root, stem, leaf and flower samples) provided information on Ca isotope fractionation within plants and seasonal sampling of leaves revealed temporal variation in leaf Ca isotopic composition. There was significant Ca isotope fractionation between soil and root tissue \(\Updelta^{44/42}\hbox{Ca}_{\rm root-soil} \approx -0.40\,\permille\) in all investigated species, whereas Ca isotope fractionation between roots and leaves was species dependent. Samples of leaf tissue collected throughout the growing season also highlighted species differences: Ca isotope ratios increased with leaf age in woody species but remained constant in herbs and grasses. The Ca isotope fractionation between roots and soils can be explained by a preferential binding of light Ca isotopes to root adsorption sites. The observed differences in whole plant Ca isotopic compositions both within and between species may be attributed to several potential factors including root cation exchange capacity, the presence of a woody stem, the presence of Ca oxalate, and the levels of mycorrhizal infection. Thus, the impact of plants on the Ca biogeochemical cycle in soils, and ultimately the Ca isotope signature of the weathering flux from terrestrial environments, will depend on the species present and the stage of vegetation succession.

Keywords

Calcium Stable isotope fractionation Glacier forefield Alpine plants 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. S. Hindshaw
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. C. Reynolds
    • 1
  • J. G. Wiederhold
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Kiczka
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Kretzschmar
    • 2
  • B. Bourdon
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geochemistry and PetrologyETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant DynamicsETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations