Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio as an Index of Water-Use Efficiency in C3 Halophytes—Possible Relationship to Strategies for Osmotic Adjustment

  • R. D. Guy
  • P. G. Warne
  • D. M. Reid
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 68)


This contribution is part of a series of papers aimed at a better understanding of osmotic adjustment by inland halophytes and how such adjustment may or may not impact on water use, salinity tolerance, and, perhaps, community structure. In course, efforts were made to assess the utility, significance, and conditions affecting the use of stable carbon isotope methods in ecophysiological studies of this sort. At the inception of the project in 1978, there was no intention that isotopes should become the major focus. They represented just one technique among many. As the isotope data began to accumulate, however, they took on a special significance of their own. The fundamental revelation was that the total tissue δ13C value of certain C3 halophytes was very well correlated with environmental salinity (e.g., Figure 4.1).Most of the isotopic data have been published elsewhere (Guy and Reid 1986; Guy et al. 1980a, 1986a, 1986b), but the salient points are reviewed here along with some new data from other halophytes. In an attempt not to lose sight of the primary goal, however, our major intent in this chapter is to relate observed trends in isotopic composition with the water and ion relations of two contrasting halophytic species which occupy adjacent positions along salinity gradients in western Canada. One species is an annual, leafless, and succulent member of the Chenopodiaceae, Salicornia europaea L. ssp. rubra (Nels.) Brietung, while the other is a perennial grass, Puccinellia nuttalliana (Schultes) Hitch.


Salt Stress Carbon Isotope Osmotic Adjustment Crassulacean Acid Metabolism Carbon Isotope Ratio 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. D. Guy
  • P. G. Warne
  • D. M. Reid

There are no affiliations available

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