Anna Wieland was hosted from 01.09.23 to 30.09.23 by Marco Lehmann at the Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL
Thanks to the short term scientific mission (STSM) grant provided by WATSON, I had the great opportunity to spend one month at the WSL in Birmensdorf, Switzerland to gain more insight into the recent research on biochemical processes within different plant compounds. My PhD research at the University of Heidelberg involves the analysis of stable hydrogen isotope ratios of lignin methoxy groups as a proxy for source water origin. Collaborating with the WSL research team, our aim is to understand the transfer mechanisms that transport source water signatures into the lignin methoxy groups. To achieve this, Marco Lehmann and I collected tree cores in Valais Switzerland (see picture), where a long-term irrigation experiment has been conducted since 2003. The trees are partially irrigated with isotopically lighter water, similar to a natural tracer experiment. By measuring the stable hydrogen isotope ratios of wood lignin methoxy groups, we can now determine to what extent and in which period the isotopic signal of the source water is reflected in the methoxy groups.
I really enjoyed my stay at the WSL. I would like to thank all the helping hands at the WSL and the Watson team for this opportunity.