16 Dec 2021
16 Dec 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Determination of respiration and photosynthesis fractionation coefficients for atmospheric dioxygen inferred from a vegetation-soil-atmosphere analog of the terrestrial biosphere in closed chambers

Clémence Paul1, Clément Piel2, Joana Sauze2, Nicolas Pasquier1, Frédéric Prié1, Sébastien Devidal2, Roxanne Jacob1, Arnaud Dapoigny1, Olivier Jossoud1, Alexandru Milcu2,3, and Amaëlle Landais1 Clémence Paul et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 2Ecotron Européen de Montpellier (UAR 3248), Univ Montpellier, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Campus Baillarguet, Montferrier-sur-Lez, France
  • 3Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Univ Paul Valéry, EPHE, IRD, Montpellier, France

Abstract. The isotopic composition of dioxygen in the atmosphere is a global tracer which depends on the biosphere flux of dioxygen toward and from the atmosphere (photosynthesis and respiration) as well as exchanges with the stratosphere. When measured in fossil air trapped in ice cores, the relative concentration of 16O, 17O and 18O of O2 can be used for several applications such as ice core dating and past global productivity reconstruction. However, there are still uncertainties about the accuracy of these tracers as they depend on the integrated isotopic fractionation of different biological processes of dioxygen production and uptake, for which we currently have very few independent estimates. Here we determined the respiration and photosynthesis fractionation coefficients for atmospheric dioxygen from experiments carried out in a replicated vegetation-soil-atmosphere analog of the terrestrial biosphere in closed chambers with growing Festuca arundinacea. The values for 18O discrimination during soil respiration and dark respiration in leave are equal to −12.3 ± 1.7 ‰ and −19.1 ± 2.4 ‰, respectively. We also found a value for terrestrial photosynthetic fractionation equal to +3.7 ± 1.3 ‰. This last estimate suggests that the contribution of terrestrial productivity in the Dole effect may have been underestimated in previous studies.

Clémence Paul et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2021-324', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Jan 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2021-324', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Feb 2022

Clémence Paul et al.

Clémence Paul et al.


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Short summary
To improve the interpretation of the δ18Oatm and Δ17O of O2 in air bubbles in ice core, we need to better quantify the oxygen fractionation coefficients associated with biological processes. We performed a simplified analog of the terrestrial biosphere in a closed chamber. We found a respiration fractionation in agreement with the previous estimates at the micro-organism scale. And a terrestrial photosynthetic fractionation was found. This has an impact on the estimation of the Dole effect.