Stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in Sphagnum fuscum peat from subarctic Canada: implications for palaeoclimate studies
2010 (English)In: Chemical Geology, ISSN 0009-2541, E-ISSN 1872-6836, Vol. 270, no 1-4, 216-226 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios in single plant components in Sphagnum peat have a good potential to reveal environmental changes in peat archives. Two peat profiles, covering the past ~6000 years, and a Sphagnum hummock from a discontinuous permafrost area in west central Canada were studied in order to evaluate the effect of decomposition rate on isotope records and to assess which plant components are most suitable for climate reconstructions. The stable isotope values from the most recently forming Sphagnum tissues were compared with observational climate data to study the impact of variations in temperature and precipitation on the peat isotopes. Our results show that there is high correlation between δ13C values in α-cellulose isolated from Sphagnum fuscum stems and summer temperatures, whereas δ18O in the plant tissues is controlled by several factors, such as summer precipitation, summer temperature and evaporation. According to our results, decomposition as derived from C/N values and colorimetry does not seem to affect the oxygen and carbon isotope values of α-cellulose from Sphagnum fuscum peat significantly. There is, however, a (quasi-) constant offset between the isotope values of branches and stems and between whole plant material and α-cellulose, which makes it crucial to select single moss-fractions when past climate and environmental changes are to be derived from the isotope record.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 270, no 1-4, 216-226 p.
Sphagnum peat, stable isotopes, Canadian subarctic, climate change, peat decomposition
Research subject Quarternary Geology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43378DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2009.12.001ISI: 000274989800019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-43378DiVA: diva2:356107
ProjectsHolocene climate and environmental change in high latitudes as recorded by stable isotopes in peat deposits