Tree xylem water isotope analysis by Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry and Laser Spectrometry: a dataset to explore tree response to drought

Water isotopes from plant xylem and surrounding environment are increasingly used in eco-hydrological studies. Carrière et al. [1] analyzed a dataset of water isotopes in (i) the xylem of three different tree species, (ii) the surrounding soil and drainage water and (iii) the underlying karst groundwater, to understand tree water uptake during drought in two different Mediterranean forests on karst setting. The xylem and soil water were extracted by cryogenic distillation. The full dataset was obtained with Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) and Isotope Ratio Infrared Spectrometer (IRIS), and included 219 measurements of δ2H and δ18O. Prompted by unexpected isotopic data characterized by a very negative deuterium excess, a subsample of 46 xylem samples and 9 soil water samples were double checked with both analytical techniques. IRMS and IRIS analyses yielded similar data. Therefore, the results reveal that laser spectrometry allows an accurate estimation of xylem and soil water isotopes. The dataset highlights a strong 2H depletion in xylem water for all species. Deuterium does not seem adequate to interpret ecological processes in this dataset given the strong fractionation.