Using foliar δ13C from high-Andean plants (Silala River basin) as a measure of potential evapotranspiration through water use efficiency

TitleUsing foliar δ13C from high-Andean plants (Silala River basin) as a measure of potential evapotranspiration through water use efficiency
AuthorFrancisco Suárez, Claudio Latorre, Magdalena Mendoza, Matías Frugona, José Muñoz
Line(s)

Recursos Críticos

Year of Publication2023
Journal TitleWIREs Water
Keywords
AbstractThe water-dependent nature of arid ecosystems is closely related to the coupling between energy input through photosynthesis and the loss of water through transpiration (Tr), which can be expressed as water use efficiency (WUE). The relationship, however, between environmental factors and plant physiology in controlling evapotranspiration is not well understood in high-altitude arid environments. Here, we review the use of carbon isotope fractionation (δ13C) to indirectly track fluctuations in WUE and the use of the portable chamber method to partition landscape actual evapotranspiration (ETa) into Tr and bare soil evaporation (Ebs) in the alluvial deposits of the Silala River, a high elevation watershed located in northern Chile. Landscape ETa was also measured with Eddy covariance (EC) systems in the basin’s riparian wetland and alluvial hillslope deposits. Carbon isotope results were consistent with what is known from the literature regarding these high-elevation ecosystems. WUE, as estimated by carbon isotope discrimination values, decreased in summer (the wet season), and increased in winter at all sites. These results were consistent with the EC measurements. Changes in WUE were much greater in the valley wetlands than along the hillslopes, most likely due to a large drop in available soil moisture along the valley bottom during the dry season. Portable chamber results obtained during summer and winter field campaigns showed that at the landscape scale, hillslope ETa was mainly dominated by bare soil evaporation; and ETa partitioning into Tr and Ebs had a seasonal change.
Doihttps://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1707
Corresponding AuthorFrancisco Suárez, fsuarez@ing.puc.cl