Journal Article

Dependence of tree ring stable isotope abundances and ring width on climate in Finnish oak

Emmi Hilasvuori and Frank Berninger

in Tree Physiology

Volume 30, issue 5, pages 636-647
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpq019
Dependence of tree ring stable isotope abundances and ring width on climate in Finnish oak

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We measured ring widths and isotopic abundances of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen (δ13C, δ18O and δ2H) from the latewood of tree rings of pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) in its distributional northern limit in Southern Finland. Ring width was observed to be related to precipitation and relative humidity but not significantly to temperature. δ13C and δ18O were significantly related to all studied climatic variables, most strongly to cloud cover. Variations in δ2H were discovered to be complex combinations of signals from biochemical and physical processes. The results suggest that oaks in Finland can be used as a source of climate information. δ18O was discovered to be especially promising as it showed the strongest climate signal and highest common signal between trees. The relationship between climate and ring width indicates that water availability is the main control of ring radial growth. This is supported by the isotope data. High correlation between δ13C and δ18O time series indicates that photosynthetic carbon assimilation is limited by stomatal control. Therefore, in contrast to the expected temperature limitation, our data indicate that drought limits oak growth more than cold temperatures on the border of its northernmost distribution range.

Keywords: carbon; dendroclimatology; Fennoscandia; hydrogen; oxygen; Quercus robur L.

Journal Article.  7740 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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