International Doctoral Course

“Stable Isotopes in Forest Ecosystem Research”

PI : Daniel Epron (UMR 1137 Ecologie et Ecophysiologie Forestières – EEF)

Co-applicants : Pascale Maillard, Pierrick Priault, Caroline Plain, Dominique Gérant, Stéphane Ponton, Oliver Brendel, Dorine Desalme (UMR 1137 Ecologie et Ecophysiologie Forestières – EEF); Nicolas Angeli, Christian Hossan, Claude Bréchet, Carole Antoine (Plateforme Technique d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle); Delphine Derrien, Bernd Zeller, Arnaud Legout (UR 1138 Biogéochimie des Ecosystèmes Forestiers – BEF)


Context — Many ecological processes that occur in forest ecosystems produce a distinct isotopic footprint that can be used to trace the origin and the transfer of the major elements into ecological processes, to decipher the effects of environmental changes on several metabolic pathways and to understand complex interactions among ecosystem compartments and ecological processes occurring in trees and forest

Objectives — The main goal of this SIFER doctoral course is to offer a broad introduction to the use of stable isotopes in forest ecosystem research. Stable isotopes provide relevant information in forest ecosystem research, and they are thus powerful tools that still undergo very fast technological developments.

Approaches — Lectures will give an overview of the major stable isotopes (carbon, nitrogen, water) used in forest ecosystem research, of fractionation processes that affect isotope distribution in ecosystem pools, of their use as tracers using either natural abundance distribution or labelling experiments, and of modelling at temporal and spatial scales. Questions related to instrumentation, technology and measurement quality will also be addressed. Practical work and computing exercises will be conducted throughout the week in small groups and will involve the isotope facilities of the Plateforme Technologique d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle.


SIFER aims to contribute to the recognition of Lorraine as the first European centre for stable isotope studies in forest ecosystems, with the ambition of being the number one in Europe.