Introduction to stable isotopes in nutritional ecology

TWS’ Nutritional Ecology Working Group sponsored workshop at The Wildlife Society’s 30th Annual Conference focused on stable isotopes in nutritional ecology. The measurement of naturally occurring stable isotopes in animal tissues and their diets has become an essential tool in wildlife ecology and nutrition. A detailed understanding of the processes that regulate changes in isotopic ratios (e.g., diet variation, metabolic routing, and isotopic discrimination) has led to diverse insights into animal diets, nutrition, trophic interactions, physiology, and more. Recent advances in analytical techniques and the advent of freely available R packages for isotopic analyses has expanded the opportunities to use stable isotopes in wildlife ecology and nutrition, but it has also resulted in the need for users to be familiar with basic concepts and applications. This workshop introduced students to the basics of stable isotope biogeochemistry and their diverse uses in animal ecology and nutrition, with an emphasis on practical applications, examples, and recent innovations in statistical software and techniques.

Workshop Presenters

Phil Manlick, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Seth Newsome, Biology Department, University of New Mexico

Keith Hobson, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Dept. Biology, University of Western Ontario

Garrett Savory, Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Scott McWilliams, Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island

Workshop PowerPoints and R Script

Benchmark Studies in Nutritional Ecology Including Stable Isotopes