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Ca isotope cycling in a forested ecosystem [r-libre/457]

Holmden, Chris, & Bélanger, Nicolas (2010). Ca isotope cycling in a forested ecosystem. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 74 (3), 995-1015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2009.10.020

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Content : Accepted Version
Item Type: Journal Articles
Refereed: Yes
Status: Published
Abstract: Reports of large Ca isotope fractionations between trees and soils prompted this study of a Boreal forest ecosystem near La Ronge, Saskatchewan, to improve understanding of this phenomenon. The results on five tree species (black spruce, trembling aspen, white spruce, jack pine, balsam poplar) confirm that nutrient Ca uptake by plants favors the light isotopes, thus driving residual Ca in plant available soil pools towards enrichment in the heavy isotopes. Substantial within-tree fraction occurs in tissues formed along the transpiration stream, with low δ44Ca values in fine roots (2 mm), intermediate values in stemwood, and high values in foliage. Separation factors between different plant tissues are similar between species, but the initial fractionation step in the tips of the fine roots is species specific, and/or sensitive to the local soil environment. Soil water δ44Ca values appear to increase with depth to at least 35 cm below the top of the forest floor, which is close to the deepest level of fine roots. The heavy plant fractionated signature of Ca in the finely rooted upper soils filters downward where it is retained on ion exchange sites, leached into groundwater, and discharged into surface waters. The relationship between Ca uptake by tree fine roots and the pattern of δ44Ca enrichment with soil depth was modeled for two Ca pools: the forest floor (litter) and the underlying (upper B) mineral soil. Six study plots were investigated along two hillside toposequences trending upwards from a first order stream. We used allometric equations describing the Ca distribution in boreal tree species to calculate weighted average δ44Ca values for the stands in each plot and estimate Ca uptake rates. The δ44Ca value of precipitation was measured, and soil weathering signatures deduced, by acid leaching of lower B mineral soils. Steady state equations were used to derive a set of model Ca fluxes and fractionation factors for each plot. The model reproduces the increase in δ44Ca with depth found in forest floor and upper B soil waters. Transient model runs show that the forest Ca cycle is sensitive to changes in plant Ca uptake rate, such as would occur during ontogeny or disturbance. Accordingly, secular records of δ44Ca in tree ring cellulose have the potential to monitor changes in the forest Ca cycle through time, thus providing a new tool for evaluating natural and anthropogenic impacts on forest health. Another model run shows that by changing the size of the isotope fractionation factor and adjusting for differences in forest productivity, that the range in Ca isotope fractionation in forested ecosystems reported in the literature, thus far, is reproduced. As a quantitative tool, the Ca cycling model produces a reasonable set of relative Ca fluxes for the La Ronge site, consistent with Environment Canada’s measurements for wet deposition in the region and simulated Ca release from soil mineral weathering using the PROFILE model. But the sensitivity of the model is limited by the small range of fractionation observed in this boreal shield setting of ∼1‰, which limits accuracy. If the model were applied to a site with a greater range in δ44Ca values among the principal Ca fluxes, it is capable of producing robust and reliable estimations of Ca fluxes that are otherwise difficult to measure in forested ecosystems.
Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S...
Depositor: Bélanger, Nicolas
Owner / Manager: Nicolas Bélanger
Deposited: 30 Oct 2014 19:22
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2015 00:46

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