Stable isotope composition of water in desert plants

J. R. Gat, D. Yakir, G. Goodfriend, P. Fritz, P. Trimborn, J. Lipp, I. Gev, E. Adar, Y. Waisel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A survey of the stable isotope content of tissue waters of plants from the Negev desert was conducted. Large differences were observed in the extent of enrichment of the heavy isotopes in leaf water relative to local precipitation among different plants. This is apparently caused by the species-dependent stratagems adopted by the plants to cope with water stress, primarily by differences in the depth of water uptake in the soil and through the timing of stomatal openings during the daily cycle. Salt stressed plants showed extreme variability in the isotopic composition of leaf-water. The results show that plants with adaptation to arid conditions can avoid the transpiration regime, which would lead to the strong isotopic enrichment in their leaf water expected under arid conditions. This has implications for the use of stable isotopes in plants as indicators of either plant ecophysiology or paleoclimate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2007


  • Desert plants
  • H
  • Leaf water
  • O
  • Stable isotopes
  • Water stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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