Stable Isotope Techniques and Applications for Primatologists
- 656 Downloads
Stable isotope biogeochemistry is useful for quantifying the feeding ecology of modern and extinct primates. Over the past three decades, substantial advances have been made in our knowledge of the physiological causes of isotopic patterns as well as effective methodology to prepare samples for isotopic analysis. Despite these advances, the potential of stable isotope biogeochemistry has yet to be fully exploited by primate researchers, perhaps due to the prolific and somewhat daunting nature of the isotopic literature. I here aim to present a cogent overview of stable isotope applications to nonhuman primate feeding ecology. I review the factors that influence ecological patterns in carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen stable isotopes. I present methods for collecting and preparing samples of tooth enamel and bone mineral hydroxyapatite, bone collagen, fur and hair keratin, blood, feces, and urine for isotope analysis. I discuss both the existing and potential applications of these isotopic patterns to primate feeding ecology. Lastly, I point out some of the pitfalls to avoid when interpreting and comparing isotopic results.
Keywordsδ13C δ15N δ18O Hydroxyapatite Proteinaceous tissues Stable isotope Trophic discrimination
I thank Gabe Bowen, Kena Fox-Dobbs, Sora Lee Kim, Carolyn Kurle, and Patrick Wheatley, for consultation on sample preparation techniques, and Lawrence Crowley, Sally Goddard, Matthew Weirauch and three anonymous reviewers for critical review of the manuscript. I also thank Erin Vogel and Janine Chalk for inviting me to contribute to this special issue.
- Ambrose, S. H., & Norr, L. (1993). Experimental evidence for the relationship of the carbon isotope ratios of whole diet and dietary protein to those of bone collagen and carbonate. In J. B. Lambert & G. Grupe (Eds.), Prehistoric human bone: Archaeology at the molecular level (pp. 1–37). Berlin: Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
- Carter, M. (2001). Sensitivity of stable isotopes ( 13 C, 15 N, and 18 O) in bone to dietary specialization and niche separation among sympatric primates in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
- Cerling, T. E., Mbua, E., Kirera, F. M., Manthi, F. K., Grine, F. E., Leakey, M. G., et al. (2011). Diet of Paranthropus boisei in the early Pleistocene of East Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 9337–9341.Google Scholar
- Codron, J., Codron, D., Lee-Thorp, J. A., Sponheimer, M., Bond, W. J., de Ruiter, D., et al. (2005). Taxonomic, anatomical, and spatio-temporal variations in the stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic compositions of plants from an African savanna. Journal of Archaeological Science, 32, 1757–1772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Codron, D., Lee-Thorp, J. A., Sponheimer, M., de Ruiter, D., & Codron, J. (2006). Inter-and intrahabitat dietary variability of Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) in South African savannas based on fecal δ13C, δ15N, and %N. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 129, 204–214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dansgaard, W. (1964). Stable isotopes in precipitation (pp. 436–468). XVI: Tellus.Google Scholar
- Deschner, T., Fuller, B. T., Oelze, V., Ortmann, S., Richards, M. P., & Hohmann, G. (2010). Monitoring nutritional stress with urinary δ15N and C/N ratios in captive bonobos. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 50(Supplement), 70.Google Scholar
- Fourie, N. H., Lee-Thorp, J. A., & Ackermann, R. R. (2008). Biogeochemical and craniometric investigation of dietary ecology, niche separation, and taxonomy of Plio-Pleistocene cercopithecoids from the Makapansgat Limeworks. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 135, 121–135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gannes, L. Z., Martínez del Rio, C., & Koch, P. L. (1998). Natural abundance variations in stable isotopes and their potential uses in animal physiological ecology. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 119A, 725–757.Google Scholar
- Hedges, R. E. M., & van Klinken, G. J. (2000). “Consider a spherical cow…” — on modeling and diet. In S. H. Ambrose & M. A. Katzenberg (Eds.), Biogeochemical approaches to paleodietary analysis (pp. 211–241). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.Google Scholar
- Hoefs, J. (1997). Stable isotope geochemistry (4th ed.). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Knott, C. D. (1997). Field collection and preservation of urine in orangutans and chimpanzees. Tropical Biodiversity, 4, 95–102.Google Scholar
- Kohn, M. J., & Cerling, T. E. (2002). Stable isotope compositions of biological apatite. In M. J. Kohn, J. Rakovan, & J. M. Hughes (Eds.), Phosphates: Geochemical, geobiological, and materials importance. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 48 (pp. 455–488). Washington, DC: Mineralogical Society of America.Google Scholar
- Kohn, M. J., Schoeninger, M. J., & Valley, J. W. (1998). Variability in herbivore tooth oxygen isotope compositions: reflections of seasonality or developmental physiology? Isotope Geosciences, 152, 97–112.Google Scholar
- Loudon, J. E., Sponheimer, M., Sauther, M. L., & Cuozzo, F. P. (2007). Intraspecific variation in hair δ13C and δ15N values of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) with known individual histories, behavior, and feeding ecology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 183, 978–985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McGee, E. M., & Vaughn, S. E. (2003). Variations in stable isotope composition in Propithecus diadema edwardsi from disturbed and undisturbed rainforest habitats in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 36(Supplement), 149–150.Google Scholar
- Rothman, J. M., Chapman, C. A., & Van Soest, P. J. (2011). Methods in primate nutritional ecology: A user’s guide. International Journal of Primatology. doi: 10.1007/s10764-011-9568-x.
- Schoeninger, M. J. (2010). Toward a δ13C isoscape for primates. In J. B. West, G. J. Bowen, T. E. Dawson, & K. P. Tu (Eds.), Isoscapes: Understanding movement, pattern, and process on earth through isotope mapping (pp. 319–333). New York: Springer Science+Business Media.Google Scholar
- Thackeray, J. F., Henzi, S. P., & Brain, C. (1996). Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen in Papio cynocephalus ursinus: Comparison with ungulates and Homo sapiens from southern and East African environments. South African Journal of Science, 92, 209–212.Google Scholar
- Urey, H. C. (1947). The thermodynamic properties of isotopic substances. Journal of the Chemical Society, 562–581.Google Scholar
- Vogel, E. R., Crowley, B. E., Knott, C. D., Blakely, M. D., & Dominy, N. J. (2011). A non-invasive method for quantifying nitrogen balance in free ranging primates. International Journal of Primatology. doi: 10.1007/s10764-011-9543-6.