Subke J, Vallack HW, Magnusson T, Keel SG, Metcalfe DB, Hogberg P & Ineson P (2009) Short-term dynamics of abiotic and biotic soil 13CO2 effluxes after in situ 13CO2 pulse labelling of a boreal pine forest. New Phytologist, 183 (2), pp. 349-357. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02883.x
Physical diffusion of isotopic tracers into and out of soil pores causes considerable uncertainty for the timing and magnitude of plant belowground allocation in pulse-labelling experiments. Here, we partitioned soil CO(2) isotopic fluxes into abiotic tracer flux (physical return), heterotrophic flux, and autotrophic flux contributions following (13)CO(2) labelling of a Swedish Pinus sylvestris forest. Soil CO(2) efflux and its isotopic composition from a combination of deep and surface soil collars was monitored using a field-deployed mass spectrometer. Additionally, (13)CO(2) within the soil profile was monitored. Physical (abiotic) efflux of (13)CO(2) from soil pore spaces was found to be significant for up to 48 h after pulse labelling, and equalled the amount of biotic label flux over 6 d. Measured and modelled changes in (13)CO(2) concentration throughout the soil profile corroborated these results. Tracer return via soil CO(2) efflux correlated significantly with the proximity of collars to trees, while daily amplitudes of total flux (including heterotrophic and autotrophic sources) showed surprising time shifts compared with heterotrophic fluxes. The results show for the first time the significance of the confounding influence of physical isotopic CO(2)-tracer return from the soil matrix, calling for the inclusion of meaningful control treatments in future pulse-chase experiments.
13CO2; autotrophic respiration; pulse labelling; soil CO2 efflux; soil CO2 efflux partitioning; soil CO2 transport modelling; stable isotopes; Soil ecology; Soil chemistry; Forest ecology; Carbon dioxide Environmental aspects
New Phytologist: Volume 183, Issue 2