Stable isotopes in plants as recorders of the environment
The stable O, H, C and N isotope composition of plant materials is determined by the environment that a plant experiences during growth and by the physiological performance of the plant. The stable isotope composition of plant materials such as tree rings, herbarium collections or plant remains in lake and marine sediments can thus provide important information on present and past environments and how plants have performed therein.
In our research we investigate the environmental and plant physiological processes that shape the O, H, C and N isotope composition of plant materials. We apply this knowledge to identify patterns in plant environment interactions and to identify the long-term physiological responses of plants to global environmental change.