Molecule of the Month
March 2023
14C as a Tracer for Past, Present and Future Terrestrial Ecosystem Dynamics

Terrestrial ecosystems are an important part of the global carbon cycle, but their response to anthropogenic climate change remains poorly constrained.
Using radiocarbon (14C) we develop tools to trace carbon across terrestrial ecosystems, with a particular focus on the large soil and belowground carbon reservoir. We target the spatial scale, by collecting environmental samples from a cave in the Swiss Jura, and the temporal scale, by developing analytical approaches to measure 14C in cave carbonates.

This work was carried out in the group of Dr. Franziska Lechleitner.


  • F. A. Lechleitner, S. Rowan, J. Strähl, M. Rauber, S. Q. Lang, S. Szidat;
    "Speleothem organic carbon isotopes as a novel tracer for terrestrial ecosystem change - new method developments"
    EGU General Assembly, 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23-27 May 2022, EGU22-2967;
  • S. Rowan, M. Luetscher, S. Szidat, F. A. Lechleitner;
    "High Resolution Monitoring of Organic Matter at Milandre Cave, Switzerland. Implications for Future Paleoecosystem Proxies"
    EGU General Assembly, 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23-27 May 2022, EGU22-4066;