Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stable isotopes provide 'signature' for researchers to study animals

Date:
May 3, 2012
Source:
Allen Press Publishing Services
Summary:
Researchers have many tools available in studying and observing mammals. One is quite small—the stable isotope. Exploring ecological questions through analysis of stable isotopes is a rapidly developing area of research.

Researchers have many tools available in studying and observing mammals. One is quite small -- the stable isotope. Exploring ecological questions through analysis of stable isotopes is a rapidly developing area of research.

Related Articles


A Special Feature in the Journal of Mammalogy offers an introductory explanation of the use of isotope analysis in the study of mammals' migration, diets, and body conditions. The introductory article explains the processes that govern isotopic incorporation into animal tissues. The Special Feature's 10 topical articles then apply this knowledge to explore a variety of animals and their use of resources

Organisms have their own isotopic "signatures." These are made from the ratios of heavy to light isotopes of substrates, such as food, that they consume, and physiological processes, such as enzymatic reactions, that they employ in using the substrate and discarding the rest. For instance, the differences in carbon values among plants can be used to track the diets of herbivores.

In this Special Feature, these concepts are applied in a variety of innovative studies. One article uses multiple isotopes to study resource use in bats, while another infers nutrient use in brown bears from breath isotope analyses. Isotopic data on California sea otter populations is presented in another study to illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of statistical and quantitative approaches of resource and habitat use. The effects of dietary nutrient composition and mass changes on isotopic incorporation in mink are discussed.

Articles also describe the application of isotope analyses for animal migration and to track dispersal of free-ranging animals. One study looks at the biomineralization processes that result in isotopic variation in fossils, discusses proper sample processing, and reviews the use of calcium isotopes. Other articles in the issue discuss how mathematical mixing models are used to estimate the contributions of food sources to the isotopic composition of the tissues of a consumer, and offer suggestions for designing isotopic incorporation experiments.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Allen Press Publishing Services. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Merav Ben-David, Elizabeth A. Flaherty. Theoretical and analytical advances in mammalian isotope ecology: an introduction. Journal of Mammalogy, 2012; 93 (2): 309 DOI: 10.1644/11-MAMM-S-315.1

Cite This Page:

Allen Press Publishing Services. "Stable isotopes provide 'signature' for researchers to study animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503153925.htm>.
Allen Press Publishing Services. (2012, May 3). Stable isotopes provide 'signature' for researchers to study animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503153925.htm
Allen Press Publishing Services. "Stable isotopes provide 'signature' for researchers to study animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503153925.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins