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Analysis of stable isotope ratios in blood of tracked wandering albatrosses fails to distinguish a ?13C gradient within their winter foraging areas in the southwest Atlantic Ocean

Analysis of stable isotope ratios in blood of tracked wandering albatrosses fails to distinguish a ?13C gradient within their winter foraging areas in the southwest Atlantic Ocean
Analysis of stable isotope ratios in blood of tracked wandering albatrosses fails to distinguish a ?13C gradient within their winter foraging areas in the southwest Atlantic Ocean
Rationale:
The main limitation of isotopic tracking for inferring distribution is the lack of detailed reference maps of the isotopic landscape (i.e. isoscapes) in the marine environment. Here, we attempt to map the marine ?13C isoscape for the southwestern sector of the Atlantic Ocean, and assess any temporal variation using the wandering albatross as a model species.

Methods:
Tracking data and blood and diet samples were collected monthly from wandering albatrosses rearing chicks at Bird Island, South Georgia, during the austral winter between May and October 2009. The ?13C and ?15N values were measured by mass spectrometry in plasma and blood cells, and related to highly accurate data on individual movements and feeding activity obtained using three types of device: GPS, activity (immersion) loggers and stomach temperature probes.

Results:
The tracked birds foraged in waters to the north or northwest of South Georgia, including the Patagonian shelf-break, as far as 2000 km from the colony. The foraging region encompassed the two main fronts in the Southern Ocean (Polar and Subantarctic fronts). The ?13C values varied by only 2.1 ‰ in plasma and 2.5 ‰ in blood cells, and no relationships were found between the ?13C values in plasma and the mean latitude or longitude of landings or feeding events of each individual.

Conclusions:
The failure to distinguish a major biogeographic gradient in ?13C values suggest that these values in the south Atlantic Ocean are fairly homogeneous. There was no substantial variation among months in either the ?13C or the ?15N values of plasma or blood cells of tracked birds. As birds did not show a significant change in diet composition or foraging areas during the study period, these results provide no evidence for major temporal variation in stable isotope ratios in consumer tissues, or in the regional marine isoscape in the austral winter of 2009
0951-4198
2328-2336
Ceia, Filipe R.
4aabaf88-0e79-4928-8b8b-aec595302636
Ramos, Jaime A.
c837af83-98a0-4698-8170-d74af4ad7506
Phillips, Richard A.
7a38c8fc-37d8-462c-a240-024b662d850a
Cherel, Yves
be0d991b-2bda-418b-9753-bcd637d96f28
Jones, Daniel C.
01ff5208-8b00-45c4-8e13-94f2a30169ac
Vieira, Rui P.
ef3c005f-e747-47ef-812f-973a9fc0d0d7
Xavier, José C
2762f84a-9e90-4ef1-9b00-b5e45aada200
Ceia, Filipe R.
4aabaf88-0e79-4928-8b8b-aec595302636
Ramos, Jaime A.
c837af83-98a0-4698-8170-d74af4ad7506
Phillips, Richard A.
7a38c8fc-37d8-462c-a240-024b662d850a
Cherel, Yves
be0d991b-2bda-418b-9753-bcd637d96f28
Jones, Daniel C.
01ff5208-8b00-45c4-8e13-94f2a30169ac
Vieira, Rui P.
ef3c005f-e747-47ef-812f-973a9fc0d0d7
Xavier, José C
2762f84a-9e90-4ef1-9b00-b5e45aada200

Ceia, Filipe R., Ramos, Jaime A., Phillips, Richard A., Cherel, Yves, Jones, Daniel C., Vieira, Rui P. and Xavier, José C (2015) Analysis of stable isotope ratios in blood of tracked wandering albatrosses fails to distinguish a ?13C gradient within their winter foraging areas in the southwest Atlantic Ocean. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 29 (24), 2328-2336. (doi:10.1002/rcm.7401).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Rationale:
The main limitation of isotopic tracking for inferring distribution is the lack of detailed reference maps of the isotopic landscape (i.e. isoscapes) in the marine environment. Here, we attempt to map the marine ?13C isoscape for the southwestern sector of the Atlantic Ocean, and assess any temporal variation using the wandering albatross as a model species.

Methods:
Tracking data and blood and diet samples were collected monthly from wandering albatrosses rearing chicks at Bird Island, South Georgia, during the austral winter between May and October 2009. The ?13C and ?15N values were measured by mass spectrometry in plasma and blood cells, and related to highly accurate data on individual movements and feeding activity obtained using three types of device: GPS, activity (immersion) loggers and stomach temperature probes.

Results:
The tracked birds foraged in waters to the north or northwest of South Georgia, including the Patagonian shelf-break, as far as 2000 km from the colony. The foraging region encompassed the two main fronts in the Southern Ocean (Polar and Subantarctic fronts). The ?13C values varied by only 2.1 ‰ in plasma and 2.5 ‰ in blood cells, and no relationships were found between the ?13C values in plasma and the mean latitude or longitude of landings or feeding events of each individual.

Conclusions:
The failure to distinguish a major biogeographic gradient in ?13C values suggest that these values in the south Atlantic Ocean are fairly homogeneous. There was no substantial variation among months in either the ?13C or the ?15N values of plasma or blood cells of tracked birds. As birds did not show a significant change in diet composition or foraging areas during the study period, these results provide no evidence for major temporal variation in stable isotope ratios in consumer tissues, or in the regional marine isoscape in the austral winter of 2009

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More information

Published date: 30 December 2015
Organisations: Geochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 383747
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/383747
ISSN: 0951-4198
PURE UUID: 3a318d1f-b762-4b88-8193-e0b862a91109
ORCID for Rui P. Vieira: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8491-2565

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Nov 2015 10:35
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 20:58

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