The role of inter-specific, micro-habitat and climatic factors on the carbon isotope (delta C-13) variability of a modern leaf assemblage from northern Scandinavia: implications for climate reconstruction
Summary, in English
To provide a basis for the interpretation of past climatic conditions from Quaternary leaf records, leaf carbon isotope (delta C-13) results are presented for 12 northern European dwarf-shrub, shrub and tree species growing across a network of 18 sites in northern Scandinavia. The role of micro-habitat (hummock/hollow) on carbon isotope trends is explored in addition to a comparison of the carbon isotope composition of both cellulose and wholeleaf material. The data are also examined against local meteorological variables (temperature, precipitation and vapour pressure deficit) at both species and genus levels. Results exhibit only modest coherence between selected plant species and low-order correlations with external climate forcings consistent with accepted models for carbon isotope fractionation. Potential for the analysis and interpretation of stable isotopic time series may still be identified; however, factors such as inter-plant variability, senescence, diagenesis and homogeneity need to be thoroughly addressed before such an approach may be used for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. These findings highlight the complexities and limitations of spatial calibration methods.