Global patterns of the isotopic composition of soil and plant nitrogen

Global Biogeochemical Cycles
By: , and 


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core


We compiled new and published data on the natural abundance N isotope composition (??15N values) of soil and plant organic matter from around the world. Across a broad range of climate and ecosystem types, we found that soil and plant ??15N values systematically decreased with increasing mean annual precipitation (MAP) and decreasing mean annual temperature (MAT). Because most undisturbed soils are near N steady state, the observations suggest that an increasing fraction of ecosystem N losses are 15N-depleted forms (NO3, N2O, etc.) with decreasing MAP and increasing MAT. Wetter and colder ecosystems appear to be more efficient in conserving and recycling mineral N. Globally, plant ??15N values are more negative than soils, but the difference Nitrogen isotopes reflect time integrated measures of the controls on N storage that are critical for predictions of how these ecosystems will respond to human-mediated disturbances of the global N cycle.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Global patterns of the isotopic composition of soil and plant nitrogen
Series title Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Volume 17
Issue 1
Year Published 2003
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Global Biogeochemical Cycles
First page 31
Last page 1
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table