Measurements of stable isotope ratios of elements (e.g., δ 13 C, δ 15 N, d 2 H) which naturally occur in biotic and abiotic components of the biosphere provide a host of insights into nutrient flux through food webs and the nutritional ecology of animal consumers. Over recent decades, isotopic applications ...
Measurements of stable isotope ratios of elements (e.g., δ 13 C, δ 15 N, d 2 H) which naturally occur in biotic and abiotic components of the biosphere provide a host of insights into nutrient flux through food webs and the nutritional ecology of animal consumers. Over recent decades, isotopic applications have provided a renaissance of applications in the natural sciences and have revolutionized our understanding of animal, plant, and even microbial ecology. More recently, we have seen the emergence of exciting new isotopic approaches that go beyond analysis of bulk animal and plant tissues; for example, by using compound-specific approaches that measure stable isotopes in individual fatty and amino acids. These investigations have created a new frontier for understanding animal ecophysiology. Novel questions are being addressed, such as macromolecular routing to consumer tissues or the role of microbes in mediating key processes at scales ranging from individual organisms to ecosystems. In addition, creative combinations of stable isotope measurements with other biochemical markers (e.g., contaminant or metabolite concentrations) or technologies (e.g., tagging) are allowing entirely new directions in ecological and ecophysiological research.
This Research Topic aims to present cutting-edge applications of stable isotope methods to animal and plant ecology and ecophysiology. Emphasis is placed on papers exploring the use of compound- specific isotope analyses or the combination of bulk isotope measurements with novel assays to increase the power of inference. Papers that explore new statistical or data analysis approaches, especially those focused on interpreting relatively complex compound-specific isotope data, are also welcome.
All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.