Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 160, Issue 3, pp 461–470 | Cite as

Carbon and hydrogen isotope fractionation under continuous light: implications for paleoenvironmental interpretations of the High Arctic during Paleogene warming

  • Hong Yang
  • Mark Pagani
  • Derek E. G. Briggs
  • M. A. Equiza
  • Richard Jagels
  • Qin Leng
  • Ben A. LePage
Physiological ecology - Original Paper

Abstract

The effect of low intensity continuous light, e.g., in the High Arctic summer, on plant carbon and hydrogen isotope fractionations is unknown. We conducted greenhouse experiments to test the impact of light quantity and duration on both carbon and hydrogen isotope compositions of three deciduous conifers whose fossil counterparts were components of Paleogene Arctic floras: Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Taxodium distichum, and Larix laricina. We found that plant leaf bulk carbon isotopic values of the examined species were 1.75–4.63‰ more negative under continuous light (CL) than under diurnal light (DL). Hydrogen isotope values of leaf n-alkanes under continuous light conditions revealed a D-enriched hydrogen isotope composition of up to 40‰ higher than in diurnal light conditions. The isotope offsets between the two light regimes is explained by a higher ratio of intercellular to atmospheric CO2 concentration (C i/C a) and more water loss for plants under continuous light conditions during a 24-h transpiration cycle. Apparent hydrogen isotope fractionations between source water and individual lipids (εlipid–water) range from −62‰ (Metasequoia C27 and C29) to −87‰ (Larix C29) in leaves under continuous light. We applied these hydrogen fractionation factors to hydrogen isotope compositions of in situ n-alkanes from well-preserved Paleogene deciduous conifer fossils from the Arctic region to estimate the δD value in ancient precipitation. Precipitation in the summer growing season yielded a δD of −186‰ for late Paleocene, −157‰ for early middle Eocene, and −182‰ for late middle Eocene. We propose that high-latitude summer precipitation in this region was supplemented by moisture derived from regionally recycled transpiration of the polar forests that grew during the Paleogene warming.

Keywords

Arctic Stable isotope Paleogene Paleoclimate Deciduous conifers 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was funded in part by the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams, the Pilot Project of Knowledge Innovation, CAS (KZCX2-YW-105), the Major Basic Research Projects (2006CB806400), the National Science Foundation of China (40402002 and 40872011), the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Funds, and Bryant University Summer Research Fund. Most of the work presented in this paper was carried out during H.Y.’s sabbatical year at Yale University with M.P. and D.E.G.B. We thank Jingfeng Wang (MIT) for discussion of the recycling model, Liang Xiao (Bryant University) for preparation of diagrams, and Gerard Olack (Yale University) for technical supports. This paper is the contribution 200901 for the Laboratory of Terrestrial Environment of Bryant University. We declare that the experiments comply with the current laws of the United States in which the study was performed.

References

  1. Barbour MM (2007) Stable oxygen isotope composition of plant tissue: a review. Funct Plant Biol 34:83–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowen GJ, Revenaugh J (2003) Interpolating the isotopic composition of modern meteoric precipitation. Water Resour Res 39:1299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowen GJ, Wilkinson B (2002) Spatial distribution of δ18O in meteoric precipitation. Geology 30:315–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bowen GJ, Beerling DJ, Koch PL, Zachos JC, Quattlebaum T (2004) A humid climate state during the Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum. Nature 432:495–499PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boyle EA (1997) Cool tropical temperatures shift the global δ18O–T relationship: an explanation for the Ice Core δ18O/borehole thermometry conflict? Geophys Res Lett 24:273–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brinkhuis H et al (2006) Episodic fresh surface waters in the Eocene Arctic Ocean. Nature 441:606–609PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brubaker KL, Entekhabi D, Eagleson PS (1993) Estimation of continental precipitation recycling. J Clim 6:1077–1089CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Caballero R, Langen PL (2005) The dynamic range of poleward energy transport in an atmospheric general circulation model. Geophys Res Lett 32:L02705. doi: 02710.01029/02004GL021581 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chikaraishi Y, Naraoka H (2003) Compound-specific δD13C analyses of n-alkanes extracted from terrestrial and aquatic plants. Phytochemistry 63:361–371PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christie RL (1988) Field studies of “fossil forest” sites in the Arctic Islands. Geol Surv Can Pap 88-1D:57–60Google Scholar
  11. Dawson TE (1998) Fog in the California redwood forest: ecosystem inputs and use by plants. Oecologia 117:476–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eberle J, Storer JE (1999) Northernmost record of brontotheres, Axel Heiberg Island, Canada-implications for age of the Buchanan Lake Formation and brontothere paleobiology. J Paleontol 73:979–983Google Scholar
  13. Ehleringer JR, Field CB, Lin Z-F, Kuo C-Y (1986) Leaf carbon isotope and mineral composition in subtropical plants along an irradiance cline. Oecologia 70:520–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Equiza MA, Day ME, Jagels R, Li XC (2006a) Photosynthetic downregulation in the conifer Metasequoia glyptostroboides growing under continuous light: the significance of carbohydrate sinks and paleoecophysiological implications. Can J Bot 84:1453–1461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Equiza MA, Day ME, Jagels R (2006b) Physiological responses of three deciduous conifers (Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Taxodium distichum and Larix laricina) to continuous light: adaptive implications for the early Tertiary polar summer. Tree Physiol 26:353–364PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Equiza MA, Jagels R, Cirelli D (2007) Differential carbon allocation in Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Taxodium distichum and Sequoia sempervirens growing under continuous light. Bull Peabody Mus Nat Hist 48:269–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Farquhar GD, O’Leary MH, Berry JA (1982) On the relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and the intercellular carbon dioxide concentration in leaves. Aust J Plant Physiol 9:121–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Farquhar GD, Ehleringer JR, Hubick KT (1989) Carbon isotope discrimination and photosynthesis. Ann Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 40:503–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Farquhar GD, Cernusak LA, Barnes B (2007) Heavy water fractionation during transpiration. Plant Physiol 143:11–18PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Greenwood DR, Basinger JF (1994) The paleoecology of high-latitude Eocene swamp forests from Axel-Heiberg Island, Canadian High Arctic. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 81:83–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hilkert AW, Douthitt CB, Schlüter HJ, Brand WA (1999) Isotope ratio monitoring gas chromatography/mass spectrometry of D/H by high temperature conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 13:1226–1230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hou J-Z, D’Andrea WJ, MacDonald D, Huang Y-S (2007) Hydrogen isotopic variability in leaf waxes among terrestrial and aquatic plants around Blood Pond, Massachusetts (USA). Org Geochem 38:977–984CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Irving E, Wynne PJ (1991) The paleolatitude of the Eocene fossil forests of Arctic Canada. Geol Surv Can Bull 403:209–211Google Scholar
  24. Jagels R, Day ME (2004) The adaptive physiology of Metasequoia to Eocene high-latitude environment. In: Hemsley AR, Poole I (eds) The evolution of plant physiology. Elsevier, Boston, MA, pp 401–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jagels R, Visscher GE, Lucas J, Goodell B (2003) Palaeo-adaptive properties of the xylem of Metasequoia: mechanical/hydraulic compromises. Ann Bot 92:79–88PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jahren AH (2007) The Arctic forest of the middle Eocene. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 35:509–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jahren AH, Sternberg LSL (2002) Eocene meridional weather patterns reflected in the oxygen isotopes of Arctic fossil wood. GSA Today 12:4–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jahren AH, Sternberg LSL (2003) Humidity estimate for the middle Eocene Arctic rain forest. Geology 31:463–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jahren AH, Sternberg LSL (2008) Annual patterns within tree rings of the Arctic middle Eocene (ca. 45 Ma): isotopic signatures of precipitation, relative humidity, and deciduousness. Geology 36:99–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kojima S, Sweda T, LePage BA, Basinger JF (1998) A new method to estimate accumulation rates of lignites in the Eocene Buchanan Lake Formation, Canadian Arctic. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 141:115–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. LePage BA, Basinger JF (1991) Early Tertiary Larix from the Buchanan Lake Formation, Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and a consideration of the phytogeography of the genus. Geol Surv Can Bull 403:67–82Google Scholar
  32. LePage BA, Yang H, Matsumoto M (2005) The evolution and biogeographic history of Metasequoia. In: LePage BA, Williams CJ, Yang H (eds) The geobiology and ecology of Metasequoia. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 3–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Liu W-G, Yang H (2008) Multiple controls for the variability of hydrogen isotopic compositions in higher plant n-alkanes from modern ecosystems. Glob Chang Biol 14:2166–2177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Liu W-G, Yang H, Li L-W (2006) Hydrogen isotopic compositions of n-alkanes from terrestrial plants correlate with their ecological life forms. Oecologia 150:330–338PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lowenstein TK, Demicco RV (2006) Elevated Eocene atmospheric CO2 and its subsequent decline. Science 313:1928PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McIver EE, Basinger JF (1999) Early Tertiary floral evolution in the Canadian High Arctic. Ann Mo Bot Gard 86:523–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ögren E, Sundin U (1996) Photosynthetic responses to variable light: a comparison of species from contrasting habitats. Oecologia 106:18–27Google Scholar
  38. Osborne CP, Beerling DJ (2003) The penalty of a long, hot summer. Photosynthetic acclimation to high CO2 and continuous light in “living fossil” conifers. Plant Physiol 133:803–812PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Osborne CP, Royer DL, Beerling DJ (2004) Adaptive role of leaf habit in extinct polar forests. Int For Rev 6:181–186Google Scholar
  40. Pagani M et al (2006) Arctic hydrology during global warming at the Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum. Nature 442:671–675PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pearcy RW, Pfitsch WA (1991) Influence of sunflecks on the δ13C of Adenocaulon bicolor plants occurring in contrasting forest understory microsites. Oecologia 86:457–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pearson PN, Palmer MR (2000) Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 60 million years. Nature 406:695–699PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Richter SL, Johnson AH, Dranoff MM, LePage BA, Williams CJ (2008) Oxygen isotope ratios in fossil wood cellulose: isotopic composition of Eocene- to Holocene-aged cellulose. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 72:2744–2753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ricketts BD, McIntyre DJ (1986) The Eureka Sound Group of eastern Axel Heiberg Island: new data on the Eurekan Orogeny. Geol Surv Can Pap 86-1B:405–410Google Scholar
  45. Ricketts BD, Stephenson RA (1994) The demise of Sverdrup Basin: late Cretaceous–Paleogene sequence stratigraphy and forward modeling. J Sediment Res B64:516–530Google Scholar
  46. Sachse D, Radke J, Gleixner G (2006) δD values of individual n-alkanes from terrestrial plants along a climatic gradient—implications for the sedimentary biomarker record. Org Geochem 37:469–483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sessions AL, Burgoyne TW, Schimmelman A (1999) Fractionation of hydrogen isotope in lipid biosynthesis. Org Geochem 30:1193–1200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sluijs A et al (2006) Subtropical Arctic Ocean temperatures during the Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum. Nature 441:610–613PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smith FA, Freeman KH (2006) Influence of physiology and climate on δD of leaf wax n-alkanes from C3 and C4 grasses. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 70:1172–1187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smith BN, Oliver J, McMillan C (1976) Influence of carbon source, oxygen concentration, light intensity, and temperature on 13C/12C ratios in plant tissues. Bot Gaz 137:99–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Williams CJ, Johnson AH, LePage BA, Vann DR, Sweda T (2003) Reconstruction of Tertiary Metasequoia forests. II. Structure, biomass, and productivity of Eocene floodplain forests in the Canadian Arctic. Paleobiology 29:271–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yang H, Huang Y-S (2003) Preservation of lipid hydrogen isotope ratios in Miocene lacustrine sediments and plant fossils at Clarkia, northern Idaho, USA. Org Geochem 34:413–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yang H, Jin J-H (2000) Phytogeographic history and evolutionary stasis of Metasequoia: geological and genetic information contrasted. Acta Palaeontol Sin 39(suppl):288–307Google Scholar
  54. Yang H, Huang Y-S, Leng Q, LePage BA, Williams CJ (2005) Biomolecular preservation of Tertiary Metasequoia fossil lagerstätten revealed by comparative pyrolysis analysis. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 134:237–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zimmerman JK, Ehleringer JR (1990) Carbon isotope ratios are correlated with irradiance levels in the Panamanian orchid Catasetum viridiflavum. Oecologia 83:247–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong Yang
    • 1
  • Mark Pagani
    • 2
  • Derek E. G. Briggs
    • 2
  • M. A. Equiza
    • 3
  • Richard Jagels
    • 3
  • Qin Leng
    • 4
  • Ben A. LePage
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Science and Technology, College of Arts and SciencesBryant UniversitySmithfieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geology and GeophysicsYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.School of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  4. 4.LPS, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CASNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.The Academy of Natural SciencesPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.PECO Energy CompanyPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations