Phosphate stable oxygen isotope variability within a temperate agricultural soil

Steven J. Granger*, Paul Harris, Sabine Peukert, Rongrong Guo, Federica Tamburini, Martin S A Blackwell, Nicholas J K Howden, Steve McGrath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
412 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, we conduct a spatial analysis of soil total phosphorus (TP), acid extractable phosphate (PO4) and the stable oxygen (O) isotope ratio within the PO4 molecule (δ18OPO4 ) from an intensively managed agricultural grassland site. Total P in the soil was found to range from 736 to 1952 mg P kg− 1, of which between 12 and 48% was extractable using a 1 M HCl (HClPO4 ) solution with the two variables exhibiting a strong positive correlation. The δ18OPO4 of the extracted PO4 ranged from 17.0 to 21.6‰ with a mean of 18.8‰ (± 0.8). While the spatial variability of Total P has been researched at various scales, this is the first study to assess the variability of soil δ18OPO4 at a field-scale resolution. We investigate whether or not δ18OPO4 variability has any significant relationship with: (i) itself with respect to spatial autocorrelation effects; and (ii) HClPO4 , elevation and slope - both globally and locally. Results indicate that δ18OPO4 was not spatially autocorrelated; and that δ18OPO4 was only weakly related to HClPO4 , elevation and slope, when considering the study field as a whole. Interestingly, the latter relationships appear to vary in strength locally. In particular, the δ18OPO4 to HClPO4 relationship may depend on the underlying soil class and/or on different field managements that had operated across an historical north-south field division of the study field, a division that had been removed four years prior to this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-75
Number of pages12
Early online date28 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Phosphorus
  • Grassland
  • Spatial analysis
  • GW model
  • North Wyke farm platform


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