Stable oxygen isotope composition of plant tissue: A review

  • Barbour M
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With the development of rapid measurement techniques, stable oxygen isotope analysis of plant tissue is poised to become an important tool in plant physiological, ecological, paleoclimatic and forensic studies. Recent advances in mechanistic understanding have led to the improvement of process-based models that accurately predict variability in the oxygen isotope composition of plant organic material (δ18Op). δ18Op has been shown to reflect the isotope composition of soil water, evaporative enrichment in transpiring leaves, and isotopic exchange between oxygen atoms in organic molecules and local water in the cells in which organic molecules are formed. This review presents current theoretical models describing the influences on δ18Op, using recently published experimentalwork to outline strengths andweaknesses in the models. The potential and realised applications of the technique are described.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Crop yield
  • Leaf water enrichment
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Péclet effect
  • Stomatal conductance

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  • Margaret M. Barbour

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