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Studying Animal Diets In Situ Using Portable Stable Isotope Analyzers


  • Christian C. Voigt

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    1. Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Research Group Evolutionary Ecology, Alfred-Kowalke-Str. 17, 10315 Berlin, Germany
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I assessed the usefulness of a portable stable isotope analyzer for assigning animals to food chains of tropical ecosystems. Based on the stable carbon isotope ratio of the animals’ breath (δ13Cbreath), it was possible to distinguish between the isotopically distinct food chains of fruit-eating bats and blood-eating vampire bats. Portable instruments for the analysis of δ13Cbreath may improve our ability to quantify animal diets, because they are accurate and cheap, and most importantly they can be used in situ.


Estimé la utilidad de un analizador portable de isótopos estables en la asignación de animales a cadenas tróficas en ecosistemas tropicales. Basándose en la razón isotópica del aliento del animal (δ13Cbreath), fue posible distinguir entre cadenas tróficas isotópicamente diferentes de murciélagos frugívoros y de vampiros sanguinívoros. Instrumentos portables para el análisis de δ13Cbreath pueden mejorar nuestra habilidad para cuantificar dietas de animales, puesto que son precisos y económicos, y principalmente porque pueden ser utlizados in situ.

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