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Analysis of stable isotope ratios in blood of tracked wandering albatrosses fails to distinguish a δ13C gradient within their winter foraging areas in the southwest Atlantic Ocean

Ceia, Filipe R.; Ramos, Jaime A.; Phillips, Richard A.; Cherel, Yves; Jones, Daniel C.; Vieira, Rui P.; Xavier, Jose C.. 2015 Analysis of stable isotope ratios in blood of tracked wandering albatrosses fails to distinguish a δ13C gradient within their winter foraging areas in the southwest Atlantic Ocean. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 29 (24). 2328-2336. 10.1002/rcm.7401

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This article has been accepted for publication and will appear in a revised form in the Journal of Mass Spectrometry, published by Wiley. Copyright Wiley.
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Abstract/Summary

Rationale The main limitation of isotopic tracking for inferring distribution is the lack of detailed reference maps of the isotopic landscape (i.e. isoscapes) in the marine environment. Here, we attempt to map the marine δ13C isoscape for the southwestern sector of the Atlantic Ocean, and assess any temporal variation using the wandering albatross as a model species. Methods Tracking data and blood and diet samples were collected monthly from wandering albatrosses rearing chicks at Bird Island, South Georgia, during the austral winter between May and October 2009. The δ13C and δ15N values were measured by mass spectrometry in plasma and blood cells, and related to highly accurate data on individual movements and feeding activity obtained using three types of device: GPS, activity (immersion) loggers and stomach temperature probes. Results The tracked birds foraged in waters to the north or northwest of South Georgia, including the Patagonian shelf-break, as far as 2000 km from the colony. The foraging region encompassed the two main fronts in the Southern Ocean (Polar and Subantarctic fronts). The δ13C values varied by only 2.1 ‰ in plasma and 2.5 ‰ in blood cells, and no relationships were found between the δ13C values in plasma and the mean latitude or longitude of landings or feeding events of each individual. Conclusions The failure to distinguish a major biogeographic gradient in δ13C values suggest that these values in the south Atlantic Ocean are fairly homogeneous. There was no substantial variation among months in either the δ13C or the δ15N values of plasma or blood cells of tracked birds. As birds did not show a significant change in diet composition or foraging areas during the study period, these results provide no evidence for major temporal variation in stable isotope ratios in consumer tissues, or in the regional marine isoscape in the austral winter of 2009.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1002/rcm.7401
Programmes: BAS Programmes > BAS Programmes 2015 > Ecosystems
BAS Programmes > BAS Programmes 2015 > Polar Oceans
ISSN: 09514198
Additional Keywords: biogeography
Date made live: 17 Nov 2015 09:20 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/512251

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