Ring-width and δ13C chronologies from Thuja occidentalis L. trees growing at the northwestern limit of their distribution, central Canada

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Au, Robert C. F.
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Stable carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) in tree-ring cellulose are modified by environmental conditions occurring during carbon fixation. Researchers have however not reached a consensus as to whether extractives, lignin and/or hemicelluloses, all with specific isotopic signatures, should be removed prior to dendroisotopic analysis. The topic of the first paper dealt with the comparison of Thuja occidentalis L. wood components and their suitability for subsequent dendroisotopic analyses. It was recommended that holocellulose be isolated since an alpha-cellulose yield may be too low for subsequent mass spectrometer analysis, especially when narrow rings are encountered and multiple stable isotope analyses are to be performed per sample. The second paper investigated the associations between the ring-width and δ13C chronologies with climate variables. The δ13C chronology spanned from 1650 to 2006 A.D. and incorporated dead and living T. occidentalis trees selected from two sites in central Manitoba, Canada. Compared to the δ13C values, ring width was more often associated with climate conditions in the year prior to ring formation. However, moisture stress was limiting for both radial growth and carbon assimilation. During the year of ring-formation, ring width was associated with spring and early summer conditions whereas, δ13C was more indicative of overall summer conditions. Nonetheless, each of ring width and δ13C contained individualistic climate information which could be used in tandem for long-term climate reconstruction.
Northern white-cedar, dendroclimatology, stable carbon isotope, drought, central Manitoba, disjunct population