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The stable isotopes of natural waters at the Marcell Experimental Forest

Formally Refereed
Authors: Jonathan M. Stelling, Stephen D. Sebestyen, Natalie A. Griffiths, Carl P. J. Mitchell, Mark B. Green
Year: 2021
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Hydrological Processes


We present a new data set from the Marcell Experimental Forest (MEF) that compiles water isotope measurements from multiple research catchments, some of which have been studied since the 1960s. The MEF is located in northern Minnesota, USA, and is home to heavily studied and monitored forests, streams, bogs, and fens. Peat-forming systems (bogs and fens) are an important component of the MEF landscape and have a profound impact on the water cycle in these catchments. Within the last decade, analysis of stable isotopes of water (expressed as δD and δ18O) has been implemented to characterize the different components of the water budget, and to allow researchers to look at catchment and peatland-specific hydrologic effects in the watershed. This δD and δ18O data set of natural waters from MEF catchments is primarily composed of measurements from three peatlands (S1, S2, S6) during an 11-year period. More recently collection and analysis were expanded to also include samples from the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments (SPRUCE) project in the S1 bog, peatlands S3, S4, S5, as well as nearby lakes. We establish a local meteoric water line by analyzing the isotopic composition of precipitation, which fills a void in regional meteoric water lines for Minnesota. Furthermore, we establish baseline isotopic composition for bog outlet streams, bog porewater, aquifer groundwater, overland flow, subsurface stormflow, and snowpack, as well as runoff from the SPRUCE experimental chambers. These data are publicly available and will be expanded upon in the future.


bog, fen, local meteoric water line (LMWL), peatland, research catchment, stream, water isotopes, δ18O, δD


Stelling, Jonathan M.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Griffiths, Natalie A.; Mitchell, Carl P.J.; Green, Mark B. 2021. The stable isotopes of natural waters at the Marcell Experimental Forest. Hydrological Processes. 35(10): e14336. 9 p.