Influence of diet and environmental water on the carbon and oxygen isotopic signatures of seabird eggshell carbonate

F. C. Schaffner, P. K. Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

The carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios of carbonate samples from eggshells of seven species of seabirds were examined. There was a gradient of increasing relative abundance of the heavier isotopes with degree of participation in the marine ecosystem, from freshwater to estuarine to offshore to pelagic. For consumers at similar levels of the food web, in this case high end consumers such as piscivores, isotopic information can provide reliable inferences about relative participation in marine versus freshwater type ecosystems at the time of eggshell formation. Carbon isotopic information can also provide information on the trophic status of consumers occupying similar foraging habitats. For freshwater and terrestrial feeders, δ18O values can provide information on the latitude of occurrence of the birds at the time of eggshell formation, due to the characteristic signature of local meteoric water. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-38
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of Marine Science
Volume48
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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