Today I presented some of the stuff I learned while on sabbatical at U Wyo in David Williams' lab. Carbon isotope fractionation during biosynthesis of n-alkanes and other lipids is assumed to be constant and while the actual biochemical process probably is, there are other effects that an make the perceived fractionation more variable (i.e., isotopic shifts). We've found that elevated CO2 is one of those effects. In our poster we try to explain the possible causes, but importantly the consequence is that back-calculating atmospheric CO2 from n-alkanes or fatty acids has to consider this isotopic shift.
New from the lab.