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The use of isotope tracers for identifying populations of migratory birds

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dc.contributor.author Chamberlain, C. P. en
dc.contributor.author Blum, J. D. en
dc.contributor.author Holmes, Richard T. en
dc.contributor.author Feng, X. H. en
dc.contributor.author Sherry, T. W. en
dc.contributor.author Graves, Gary R. en
dc.date.accessioned 2010-02-24T19:46:08Z
dc.date.available 2010-02-24T19:46:08Z
dc.date.issued 1997
dc.identifier.citation Chamberlain, C. P., Blum, J. D., Holmes, Richard T., Feng, X. H., Sherry, T. W., and Graves, Gary R. 1997. "<a href="https%3A%2F%2Frepository.si.edu%2Fhandle%2F10088%2F8668">The use of isotope tracers for identifying populations of migratory birds</a>." <em>Oecologia</em>. 109 (1):132&ndash;141. en
dc.identifier.issn 0029-8549
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10088/8668
dc.description.abstract To determine whether stable isotopes can be used for identifying the geographic origins of migratory bird populations, we examined the isotopic composition of hydrogen (deuterium, delta D), carbon (delta(13)C), and strontium (delta(87)Sr) in tissues of a migratory passerine, the black-throated blue warbler (Dendroica caerulescens), throughout its breeding range in eastern North America. delta D and delta(13)C values in feathers, which are grown in the breeding area, varied systematically along a latitudinal gradient, being highest in samples from the southern end of the species&#39; breeding range in Georgia and lowest in southern Canada. In addition, delta D decreased from east to west across the northern part of the breeding range, from New Brunswick to Michigan. delta(87)Sr ratios were highest in the Appalachian Mountains, and decreased towards the west. These patterns are consistent with geographical variation in the isotopic composition of the natural environment, i.e., with that of precipitation, plants, and soils for delta D, delta(13)C and delta(87)S respectively. Preliminary analyses of the delta D and delta(13)C composition of feathers collected from warblers in their Caribbean winter grounds indicate that these individuals were mostly from northern breeding populations. Furthermore, variances in isotope ratios in samples from local areas in winter tended to be larger than those in summer, suggesting that individuals from different breeding localities may mix in winter habitats. These isotope markers, therefore, have the potential for locating the breeding origins of migratory species on their winter areas, for quantifying the degree of mixing of breeding populations on migratory and wintering sites, and for documenting other aspects of the population structure migratory animals - information needed for studies of year-round ecology of these species as well as for their conservation. Combining information from several stable isotopes will help to increase the resolution for determining the geographic origins of individuals in such highly vagile populations. en
dc.relation.ispartof Oecologia en
dc.title The use of isotope tracers for identifying populations of migratory birds en
dc.type Journal Article en
dc.identifier.srbnumber 75017
rft.jtitle Oecologia
rft.volume 109
rft.issue 1
rft.spage 132
rft.epage 141
dc.description.SIUnit NMNH en
dc.description.SIUnit NH-Vertebrate Zoology en
dc.citation.spage 132
dc.citation.epage 141


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