• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Tracing changes in ecosystem function under elevated CO2

BioScience (2003)
Pataki D E, Ellsworth D W, King J S, Leavitt S W, Lin G, Pendall E, Siegwolf R, van Kessel C amd Ehleringer J R (eds)
ISSN: 00063568
Doi: 10.1641/0006-3568(2003)053[0805:TCIEFU]2.0.CO;2
Vol 53; Issue 9; pp. 805-818

Responses of ecosystems to elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) remain a critical uncertainty in global change research. Two key unknown factors are the fate of carbon newly incorporated by photosynthesis into various pools within the ecosystem and the extent to which elevated CO2 is transferred to and sequestered in pools with long turnover times. The CO2 used for enrichment in many experiments incorporates a dual isotopic tracer, in the sense that ratios of both the stable carbon-13 (C-13) and the radioactive carbon-14 (C-14) isotopes with respect to carbon-12 are different from the corresponding ratios in atmospheric CO2. Here we review techniques for using C-13 and C-14 abundances to follow the fate of newly fixed carbon and to further our understanding of the turnover times of ecosystem carbon pools. We also discuss the application of nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen isotope analyses for tracing changes in the linkages between carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles under conditions of elevated CO2.

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