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Leaf, stem, and root stable carbon isotope ratios and gas exchange data for 452 plants

Cite this dataset

Cernusak, Lucas (2022). Leaf, stem, and root stable carbon isotope ratios and gas exchange data for 452 plants [Dataset]. Dryad.


This dataset contains a compilation of stable carbon isotope ratios in leaves, stems, and roots for tree saplings and associated gas exchange data. It was used in a book chapter to test whether the relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and the ratio of intercellular to ambient carbon dioxide concentrations differs between leaves and woody tissues. The book chapter is entitled 'Carbon isotope effects in relation to CO2 assimilation by tree canopies' authored by Lucas A. Cernusak and Nerea Ubierna. It is part of the book entitled 'Stable Isotopes in Tree Rings' edited by Rolf T. Siegwolf, J. Renee Brooks, John Roden, and Matthias Saurer. The publisher of the book is Springer International Publishing, with publication in April 2022.


Plants were grown from seed in a variety of conditions until the sapling stage. At sapling stage, gas exchange was measured on several leaves for each plant using a LiCor 6400 portable photosynthesis system, and averaged for each plant. Plants were then harvested, oven dried, ground to a fine powder, and stable carbon isotope ratios measured for leaves, stems, and roots separately using an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Full details of the experiments and methods can be found in the following publications:

Cernusak LA (2020) Gas exchange and water-use efficiency in plant canopies. Plant Biology 22 (Suppl. 1):52-67.

Cernusak LA, Winter K, Aranda J, Turner BL (2008) Conifers, angiosperm trees, and lianas: growth, whole-plant water and nitrogen use efficiency, and stable isotope composition (δ13C and δ18O) of seedlings grown in a tropical environment. Plant Physiology 148:642-659.

Cernusak LA, Winter K, Aranda J, Turner BL, Marshall JD (2007) Transpiration efficiency of a tropical pioneer tree (Ficus insipida) in relation to soil fertility. Journal of Experimental Botany 58:3549-3566.

Cernusak LA, Winter K, Martinez C, Correa E, Aranda J, Garcia M, Jaramillo C, Turner BL (2011) Responses of legume versus nonlegume tropical tree seedlings to elevated CO2 concentration. Plant Physiology 157:372-385.

Cernusak LA, Winter K, Turner BL (2009) Physiological and isotopic (δ13C and δ18O) responses of three tropical tree species to water and nutrient availability. Plant Cell & Environment 32:1441-1455.

Garrish V, Cernusak LA, Winter K, Turner BL (2010) Nitrogen to phosphorus ratio of plant biomass versus soil solution in a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida. Journal of Experimental Botany 61:3735-3748.

Usage notes

Cells in the worksheet containing NA indicate data not available.