Stable isotope ratio analysis to differentiate temporal diets of a free-ranging herbivore

William David Walter, D. M. Leslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) of carbon (δ 13 C) and nitrogen (δ 15 N) in tissue samples of herbivores can identify photosynthetic pathways (C 3 vs. C 4 ) of plants consumed. We present results from free-ranging Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus) that highlight the ability to differentiate diets using tissue δ 13 C and δ 15 N. The signatures of δ 13 C and δ 15 N differed in tissues of varying metabolic activity: muscle, a short-term dietary indicator (i.e., 1-2 months) and hoof, a long-term dietary indicator (i.e., 3-12 months). We also documented that δ 13 C and δ 15 N values along elk hooves (proximal, middle, distal sections) elucidated temporal shifts in dietary selection. The carbon isotopes of the composite hoof were similar to those of the middle section, but the composite hoof differed in δ 13 C from the distal and proximal sections. The δ 13 C and δ 15 N signatures also differed among elk populations, indicating temporal dietary shifts of individuals occupying disparate native range and human-derived agricultural landscapes. Analyses of stable isotopes in various tissues highlighted carbon and nitrogen assimilation through time and differences in the foraging ecology of a rangeland herbivore.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2190-2194
Number of pages5
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume23
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 30 2009

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Nutrition
Isotopes
Tissue
Nitrogen
Carbon
Carbon Isotopes
Composite materials
Ecology
Muscle

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry

Cite this

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abstract = "Stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) of carbon (δ 13 C) and nitrogen (δ 15 N) in tissue samples of herbivores can identify photosynthetic pathways (C 3 vs. C 4 ) of plants consumed. We present results from free-ranging Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus) that highlight the ability to differentiate diets using tissue δ 13 C and δ 15 N. The signatures of δ 13 C and δ 15 N differed in tissues of varying metabolic activity: muscle, a short-term dietary indicator (i.e., 1-2 months) and hoof, a long-term dietary indicator (i.e., 3-12 months). We also documented that δ 13 C and δ 15 N values along elk hooves (proximal, middle, distal sections) elucidated temporal shifts in dietary selection. The carbon isotopes of the composite hoof were similar to those of the middle section, but the composite hoof differed in δ 13 C from the distal and proximal sections. The δ 13 C and δ 15 N signatures also differed among elk populations, indicating temporal dietary shifts of individuals occupying disparate native range and human-derived agricultural landscapes. Analyses of stable isotopes in various tissues highlighted carbon and nitrogen assimilation through time and differences in the foraging ecology of a rangeland herbivore.",
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Stable isotope ratio analysis to differentiate temporal diets of a free-ranging herbivore. / Walter, William David; Leslie, D. M.

In: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Vol. 23, No. 14, 30.07.2009, p. 2190-2194.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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