The West Australian Biogeochemistry Centre

Global change biology and biogeochemistry

We undertake research on the effects of environmental change (reduced or altered water availability) on vegetation through isotopic analysis of plant material (13C/12C and 18O/16O) and water (18O/16O and 2H/1H).

As part of this, we seek to understand the processes that lead to fractionation of water and carbon in relation to both short- and long-term changes in water availability.

Our research shows that patterns of tree ring growth coupled with δ13C and δ18O analyses of cellulose of individual rings can provide an accurate proxy of past rainfall and temperatures in Australia. We are using analyses of δ13C and δ18O of mosses and liverworts to develop reliable archives of past temperature changes in Australia, New Zealand and northern Europe.

We have also recently used isotopic approaches based on the δ18O of phosphates from bones and teeth found in Neanderthal dining scraps to estimate temperatures of Central Europe in the Pleistocene epoch.

Further information

(most recent listed first) 
  • Brodribb TJ, Bowman DMJS, Grierson PF, Murphy BP, Nichols S, Prior LD. (2013) Conservative water management in the widespread conifer genus Callitris. AoB PLANTS 5: plt052; (DOI:10.1093/aobpla/plt052)
  • Mallick M, Dutta S, Greenwood PF. (2014) Molecular characterization of fossil and extant dammar resin extracts: Insights into diagenetic fate of sesqui-and triterpenoids. International Journal of Coal Geology. 121, 129-136.
  • Pages A, Grice K, Vacher M, Welsh DT, Teasdale PR, Bennett WW, Greenwood P (2014) Characterising microbial communities and processes in a modern stromatolite (Shark Bay) using lipid biomarkers and two-dimensional distributions of porewater solutes. Environmental Microbiology. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12378.
  • Smith S, Mauldin R, Munoz CM, Hard R, Debajyoti P, Skrzypek G, Villanueva P, Kemp L. (2014) Exploring the use of stable carbon isotope ratios in short-lived leporids for local paleoecological reconstruction. Proceedings of the 38th International Symposium on Archaeometry (ISA 2010, Tampa). Tykot, R. (Ed.). Open Journal of Archaeometry. DOI: 10.4081/arc.2014.5306.
  • Gergis J, Gallant AJE, Braganza K, Karoly DJ, Allen K, Cullen LE, D’Arrigo R, Goodwin I, Grierson PF, McGregor S. (2012) On the long-term context of the 1997–2009 ‘Big Dry’ in south-eastern Australia: insights from a 206-year multi-proxy rainfall reconstruction. Climatic Change 111, 923-944.
  • Prior LD, Grierson PF, McCaw WL, Tng DYP, Nichols SC, Bowman DMJS. (2012) Variation in stem growth of the Australian conifer, Callitris columellaris, across the world’s driest and least fertile vegetated continent. Trees - Structure and Function 26, 1169-1179.
  • Prober SM, Thiele KR, Rundel PW, Yates CJ. Berry SL, Byrne M, Christidis L, Gosper CR, Grierson PF, Lemson K, Lyons T, Macfarlane C, O’Connor MH, John K. Scott JK, Standish RJ, Stock WD, van Etten EJB, Wardell-Johnson GW, Watson A (2012) Facilitating adaptation of biodiversity to climate change: a conceptual framework applied to the world’s largest Mediterranean woodland. Climatic Change 110, 227–248.

  • Skrzypek G, Engel Z, Chuman T, Šefrn L. (2011) Distichia peat – a new stable isotope paleoclimate proxy for the Andes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 307, 298–308.
  • Skrzypek G, Wiśniewski A, Grierson PF. (2011) How cold was it for Neanderthals moving to Central Europe during warm phases of the last glaciation? Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 481-487.

  • Engel Z, Skrzypek G, Paul D, Drzewicki W, Nyvlt D. (2010) Sediment lithology and stable isotope composition of organic matter in a core from a cirque in the Krkonose Mountains, Czech Republic. Journal of Paleolimnology 43, 609-624.
  • Sgherza C, Cullen LE, Grierson PF. (2010) Climate relationships with tree-ring width and δ13C of three Callitris species from semiarid woodlands in south-western Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 58, 175-187.
  • Skrzypek G, Jezierski P, Szynkiewicz A. (2010) Preservation of primary stable isotope signatures of peat-forming plants during early decomposition – observation along an altitudinal transect. Chemical Geology 273, 238–249. 

  • Skrzypek G, Baranowska-Kącka A, Keller-Sikora A, Jędrysek MO. (2009) Analogous trends in pollen percentages and carbon stable isotope composition of Holocene peat – possible interpretation for palaeoclimate studies. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 156, 507–518.

  • Skrzypek G, Akagi T, Drzewicki W, Jędrysek MO. (2008) Stable isotope studies of moss sulfur and sulfate from bog surface waters. Geochemical Journal 42, 481-492.
  • Skrzypek G, Paul D, Wojtuń B. (2008) Stable isotope composition of plants and peat from Arctic mire and geothermal area in Iceland. Polish Polar Research 29, 365-376.

  • Cullen LE and Grierson PF. (2007) A stable oxygen, but not carbon, isotope chronology of Callitris columellaris reflects recent climate change in north-western Australia. Climatic Change 85, 213-222.

This Page

Last updated:
Friday, 2 October, 2020 4:09 PM