Stable isotopes as tools in ecological research

Newton, J. (2016) Stable isotopes as tools in ecological research. In: eLS: Encylopedia of Life Sciences. Wiley, pp. 1-8. ISBN 9780470015902 (doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021231.pub2)

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Stable isotope analysis has proved to be an extremely useful tool in elucidating many ecological problems, with stable isotope ecology comprising the theme of a series of international conferences ( Stable isotopes can be used as biological tracers in the following ways: (1) to identify sources, for instance in determining the identity of basal carbon in a food web; (2) to distinguish sources, for example to determine whether a breeding animal is using local resources or its own reserves, or when an animal migrates/disperses from one location to another and (3) to quantify relative inputs in a system, for example determining the proportions of different prey items to a consumer's diet. When utilised carefully, stable isotope analysis provides some advantages over conventional methods and an additional device for the ecologist.

Item Type:Book Sections (Encyclopaedia entry)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Newton, Dr Jason
Authors: Newton, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre

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