Science Inventory

Stable isotopes to trace food web stressors: Is space the final frontier?

Citation:

Hoffman, J. Stable isotopes to trace food web stressors: Is space the final frontier? Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation Conference, Providence, RI, November 05 - 09, 2017.

Impact/Purpose:

Our ability to use stable isotope analysis to elucidate spatial patterns and processes in estuarine and coastal food webs continues to expand. As researchers measure an increasingly diverse array of ecosystem components, our ability to track food web inputs (anthropogenic nutrients, carbon flows) across ecosystem boundaries (watershed-coast, benthic-pelagic), and reveal substantial spatio-temporal food web variability has improved. Also, as more researchers construct isoscapes, they have revealed isotopic structure in food webs at a variety of spatial scales, providing the foundation for animal movement studies. Here, I present recent studies addressing a number of spatially-discrete problems commonly expressed in coastal and estuarine food webs: anthropogenic nutrient inputs, aquatic invasive species, and contaminant exposure and bioaccumulation. In each, the isotopic data is used to examine spatial patterns in food web processes, pinpoint sources of ecological stress, and support management decisions that differentially effect different kinds of coastal habitats or places. In summary, the ability to investigate spatial processes using stable isotope analysis provides new opportunities to link management goals, which are often spatially-explicit, and ecological processes.

Description:

To support community decision-making, we need to evaluate sources of stress and impact at a variety of spatial scales, whether local or watershed-based. Increasingly, we are using stable isotope-based approaches to determine those scales of impact, and using these approaches in variety of management contexts, including contaminant bioaccumulation, cultural eutrophication, and invasive species management. In this talk, I provide a review of past approaches and identify some new ones.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Product Published Date: 11/09/2017
Record Last Revised: 11/13/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 338257

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

MID-CONTINENT ECOLOGY DIVISION