Using stable isotopes to determine seabird trophic relationships

Journal of Animal Ecology
By: , and 

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Abstract

1. The stable isotopes of nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) were analysed in 22 species of marine birds from coastal waters of the northeast Pacific Ocean. Analyses confirm that stable nitrogen isotopes can predict seabird trophic positions.

2. Based on δ15N analyses, seabird trophic-level inferences generally agree with those of conventional dietary studies, but suggest that lower trophic-level organisms are more important to several seabirds than was recognized previously.

3. Stable-carbon isotope analysis may be a good indicator of inshore vs. offshore feeding preference.

4. In general, stable-isotope analysis to determine trophic level offers many advantages over conventional dietary approaches since trophic inferences are based on time-integrated estimates of assimilated and not just ingested foods, and isotopic abundance represents a continuous variable that is amenable to statistical analysis.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Using stable isotopes to determine seabird trophic relationships
Series title Journal of Animal Ecology
DOI 10.2307/5256
Volume 63
Issue 4
Year Published 1994
Language English
Publisher The British Ecological Society
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description 13 p.
First page 786
Last page 798
Country Canada, United States
State Alaska, British Columbia
Other Geospatial Gulf of Alaska