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Title

Tracing Carbon Sources through Aquatic and Terrestrial Food Webs Using Amino Acid Stable Isotope Fingerprinting

AuthorsLarsen, T. ; Ventura, Marc ; Andersen, Nils; O'Brien, Diane M.; Piatkowski, Uwe; McCarthy, Matthew D.
Issue Date2013
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 8(9): e73441 (2013)
AbstractTracing the origin of nutrients is a fundamental goal of food web research but methodological issues associated with current research techniques such as using stable isotope ratios of bulk tissue can lead to confounding results. We investigated whether naturally occurring d13C patterns among amino acids (d13CAA) could distinguish between multiple aquatic and terrestrial primary production sources. We found that d13CAA patterns in contrast to bulk d13C values distinguished between carbon derived from algae, seagrass, terrestrial plants, bacteria and fungi. Furthermore, we showed for two aquatic producers that their d13CAA patterns were largely unaffected by different environmental conditions despite substantial shifts in bulk d13C values. The potential of assessing the major carbon sources at the base of the food web was demonstrated for freshwater, pelagic, and estuarine consumers; consumer d13C patterns of essential amino acids largely matched those of the dominant primary producers in each system. Since amino acids make up about half of organismal carbon, source diagnostic isotope fingerprints can be used as a new complementary approach to overcome some of the limitations of variable source bulk isotope values commonly encountered in estuarine areas and other complex environments with mixed aquatic and terrestrial inputs.
Description32 páginas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0073441
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/82608
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0073441
ISSN1932-6203
Appears in Collections:(CEAB) Artículos
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