Get access

Detailed assessment of isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy and isotope ratio mass spectrometry for the stable isotope analysis of plant and soil waters

Authors

  • Liangju Zhao,

    1. Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology and Integrated River Basin Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
    3. Key Laboratory of Heihe Ecohydrology and Basin Science of Gansu Province, Lanzhou, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Honglang Xiao,

    1. Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology and Integrated River Basin Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Heihe Ecohydrology and Basin Science of Gansu Province, Lanzhou, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jian Zhou,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lixin Wang,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110164, China
    • School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Guodong Cheng,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Maoxian Zhou,

    1. Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology and Integrated River Basin Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Heihe Ecohydrology and Basin Science of Gansu Province, Lanzhou, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Li Yin,

    1. Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology and Integrated River Basin Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Heihe Ecohydrology and Basin Science of Gansu Province, Lanzhou, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Matthew F. McCabe

    1. School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

L. X. Wang, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

E-mail: w.lixin@gmail.com; lixin.wang@unsw.edu.au

Abstract

As an alternative to isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), the isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy (IRIS) approach has the advantage of low cost, continuous measurement and the capacity for field-based application for the analysis of the stable isotopes of water. Recent studies have indicated that there are potential issues of organic contamination of the spectral signal in the IRIS method, resulting in incorrect results for leaf samples. To gain a more thorough understanding of the effects of sample type (e.g., leaf, root, stem and soil), sample species, sampling time and climatic condition (dry vs. wet) on water isotope estimates using IRIS, we collected soil samples and plant components from a number of major species at a fine temporal resolution (every 2 h for 24–48 h) across three locations with different climatic conditions in the Heihe River Basin, China. The hydrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions of the extracted water from these samples were measured using both an IRMS and an IRIS instrument. The results show that the mean discrepancies between the IRMS and IRIS approaches for δ18O and δD, respectively, were: –5.6‰ and −75.7‰ for leaf water; –4.0‰ and −23.3‰ for stem water; –3.4‰ and −28.2‰ for root water; −0.5‰ and –6.7‰ for xylem water; –0.06‰ and −0.3‰ for xylem flow; and −0.1‰ and 0.3‰ for soil water. The order of the discrepancy was: leaf > stem ≈ root > xylem > xylem flow ≈ soil. In general, species of the same functional types (e.g., woody vs. herbaceous) within similar habitats showed similar deviations. For different functional types, the differences were large. Sampling at nighttime did not remove the observed deviations. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary