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Stable Isotopes in Ecology and Environmental Science, 2nd Edition

Robert Michener (Editor), Kate Lajtha (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-2680-9
594 pages
October 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Stable Isotopes in Ecology and Environmental Science, 2nd Edition (1405126809) cover image
This book highlights new and emerging uses of stable isotope analysis in a variety of ecological disciplines. While the use of natural abundance isotopes in ecological research is now relatively standard, new techniques and ways of interpreting patterns are developing rapidly. The second edition of this book provides a thorough, up-to-date examination of these methods of research.

As part of the Ecological Methods and Concepts series which provides the latest information on experimental techniques in ecology, this book looks at a wide range of techniques that use natural abundance isotopes to:

  • follow whole ecosystem element cycling
  • understand processes of soil organic matter formation
  • follow the movement of water in whole watersheds
  • understand the effects of pollution in both terrestrial and aquatic environments
  • study extreme systems such as hydrothermal vents
  • follow migrating organisms

In each case, the book explains the background to the methodology, looks at the underlying principles and assumptions, and outlines the potential limitations and pitfalls.

Stable Isotopes in Ecology and Environmental Science is an ideal resource for both ecologists who are new to isotopic analysis, and more experienced isotope ecologists interested in innovative techniques and pioneering new uses.

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Contributors, x

Abbreviations, xiii

Introduction, xvii

1 Stable isotope chemistry and measurement: a primer, 1
Elizabeth W. Sulzman

Introduction, 1

What isotopes are, what makes them distinct, 1

Properties of ecologically useful stable isotopes, 11

Technological advances and current trends in the ecological use of isotopes, 14

Acknowledgments, 18

References, 18

2 Sources of variation in the stable isotopic composition of plants, 22
John D. Marshall, J. Renée Brooks, and Kate Lajtha

Introduction, 22

Carbon isotopes, 22

Nitrogen isotopes, 35

Hydrogen and oxygen isotopes, 39

Conclusions, 49

References, 50

3 Natural 15N- and 13C-abundance as indicators of forest nitrogen status and soil carbon dynamics, 61
Charles T. Garten, Jr, Paul J. Hanson, Donald E. Todd, Jr, Bonnie B. Lu, and Deanne J. Brice

Introduction, 61

Significance of 15N-abundance to soil carbon sequestration, 63

Vertical changes in soil 13C-abundance and soil carbon dynamics, 69

Conclusions, 77

Acknowledgments, 77

References, 77

4 Soil nitrogen isotope composition, 83
R. Dave Evans

Introduction, 83

Sources of variation in soil δ15N, 83

Patterns of soil nitrogen isotope composition, 91

Conclusions, 94

References, 95

5 Isotopic study of the biology of modern and fossil vertebrates, 99
Paul L. Koch

Introduction, 99

Vertebrate tissues in the fossil record, 100

Controls on the isotopic composition of vertebrate tissues, 105

Preservation of biogenic isotope compositions by vertebrate fossils, 119

Paleobiological applications, 123

Conclusions, 138

A post-script on workshops and literature resources, 138

References, 139

6 Isotopic tracking of migrant wildlife, 155
Keith A. Hobson

Introduction, 155

Basic principles, 156

Marine systems, 159

Terrestrial systems (excluding deuterium), 161

Using deuterium patterns in precipitation, 163

Conclusions, 169

References, 170

7 Natural abundance of 15N in marine planktonic ecosystems, 176
Joseph P. Montoya

Introduction, 176

Background, 177

Isotopic variation in marine nitrogen, 178

Source delineation and isotope budgets, 186

Animal fractionation and food web processes, 187

Isotopic transients in marine systems, 189

Compound-specific nitrogen isotope analyses, 191

Conclusions, 193

Acknowledgment, 194

References, 194

8 Stable isotope studies in marine chemoautotrophically based ecosystems: An update, 202
Cindy Lee Van Dover

Introduction, 202

Isotopic tracing of carbon at methane seeps, 209

Whale falls, 219

Hydrothermal vents, 221

Conclusions, 226

References, 230

9 Stable isotope ratios as tracers in marine food webs: An update, 238
Robert H. Michener and Les Kaufman

Introduction, 238

Methods of assessing food webs, 238

Phytoplankton and particulate organic carbon, 246

Phytoplankton and particulate organic nitrogen, 248

Marine food webs, 252

Stable isotopes in marine conservation biology, 261

Conclusions, 269

Acknowledgments, 270

References, 270

10 Stable isotope tracing of temporal and spatial variability in organic matter sources to freshwater ecosystems, 283
Jacques C. Finlay and Carol Kendall

Introduction, 283

Overview of river food webs and stable isotope approaches, 284

Stable isotope ratios of organic matter sources in stream ecosystems, 289

C, N, and S isotopic variability and its applications in river ecology, 308

Conclusions, 323

Acknowledgments, 324

References, 324

11 Stable isotope tracers in watershed hydrology, 334
Kevin McGuire and Jeff McDonnell

Introduction, 334

Basic concepts in watershed hydrology, 334

Why are stable isotopes needed?, 342

General concepts in isotope hydrology, 342

Applications of isotope hydrology in watershed and ecosystem studies, 356

Conclusions, 364

Acknowledgments, 365

References, 365

12 Tracing anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen to ecosystems, 375
Carol Kendall, Emily M. Elliott, and Scott D. Wankel

Introduction, 375

Isotopic compositions of major N sources to ecosystems, 380

Processes affecting the isotopic composition of DIN, 393

Separating mixing of sources from the effects of cycling, 407

Applications to different environmental settings, 413

What sources of agricultural and urban sources of nitrate can be distinguished using isotopes?, 422

Other tools for tracing anthropogenic contaminants, 427

Conclusions, 433

References, 435

13 Modeling the dynamics of stable-isotope ratios for ecosystem biogeochemistry, 450
William S. Currie

Introduction, 450

Designing consistent model–data linkages and comparisons, 454

Principles and techniques of stable isotope modeling, 461

Conclusions, 474

Acknowledgments, 476

References, 476

14 Compound-specific stable isotope analysis in ecology and paleoecology, 480
Richard P. Evershed, Ian D. Bull, Lorna T. Corr, Zoe M. Crossman, Bart E. van Dongen, Claire J. Evans, Susan Jim, Hazel R. Mottram, Anna J. Mukherjee, and Richard D. Pancost

Introduction, 480

Why use compound-specific stable isotopes?, 481

Analytical considerations in compound-specific stable isotope analysis, 482

Applications of compound-specific stable isotope approaches in ecology and paleoecology, 498

Conclusions, 524

References, 526

Index, 541

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Robert Michener is the Laboratory Manager of the Boston University Stable Isotope Laboratory and has been running the internationally recognized facility for 18 years. His research interests include aquatic ecology, food web systems, and how stable isotopes can be applied to tracing pollutants, comparing pristine and impacted systems.

Kate Lajtha is a Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University and the Editor-in-Chief of Biogeochemistry. She is a terrestrial biogeochemist who studies soil organic matter stabilization and soil solution chemistry.

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  • Highlights new and emerging uses of stable isotope analysis in a variety of ecological disciplines
  • Provides a thorough, up-to-date survey of new techniques and ways of interpreting patterns in this rapidly developing field
  • Looks at a variety of techniques used to follow whole ecosystem element cycling, understand processes of soil organic matter formation, follow the movement of water in whole watersheds, understand the effects of pollution in both terrestrial and aquatic environments, study extreme systems such as hydrothermal vents, and follow migrating organisms
  • Explains the background to the methodology, looks at the underlying principles and assumptions, and outlines the potential limitations and pitfalls
See More
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