ResearchPad - isotopes https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Zinc isotope variations in archeological human teeth (Lapa do Santo, Brazil) reveal dietary transitions in childhood and no contamination from gloves]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14585 Zinc (Zn) isotope ratios of dental enamel are a promising tracer for dietary reconstruction in archeology, but its use is still in its infancy. A recent study demonstrated a high risk of Zn contamination from nitrile, and latex gloves used during chemical sample preparation. Here we assess the potential impact of the use of such gloves during enamel sampling on the Zn isotope composition of teeth from a population of early Holocene hunter gatherers from Lapa do Santo, Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. We first examined the amount of Zn and its isotopic composition released from the gloves used in this study by soaking them in weak nitric acid and water. We compared Zn isotope ratios obtained from teeth that were sampled wearing nitrile, latex or no gloves. Finally, we performed a linear mixed model (LMM) to investigate post hoc the relationship between the gloves used for sampling and the Zn isotope variability in dental enamel. We found that the gloves used in this study released a similar amount of Zn compared to previous work, but only in acidic solution. Zn isotope ratios of teeth and the LMM identified no sign of significant Zn coming from the gloves when teeth were handled for enamel sampling. We hypothesize that Zn in gloves is mostly released by contact with acids. We found that the main source of Zn isotope variability in the Lapa do Santo population was related to the developmental stage of the tooth tissues sampled. We report identical results for two individuals coming from a different archeological context. Tooth enamel formed in utero and/or during the two first years of life showed higher Zn isotope ratios than enamel formed after weaning. More work is required to systematically investigate if Zn isotopes can be used as a breastfeeding tracer.

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<![CDATA[Ecologically relevant biomarkers reveal that chronic effects of nitrate depend on sex and life stage in the invasive fish Gambusia holbrooki]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d619d5eed0c484031602

Agricultural intensification and shifts in precipitation regimes due to global climate change are expected to increase nutrient concentrations in aquatic ecosystems. However, the direct effects of nutrients widely present in wastewaters, such as nitrate, are poorly studied. Here, we use multiple indicators of fish health to experimentally test the effects of three ecologically relevant nitrate concentrations (<10, 50 and 250 mg NO3-/l) on wild-collected mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki), a species widely introduced for mosquito biocontrol in often eutrophic waters. Overall, biomarkers (histopathology, feeding assays, growth and caloric content and stable isotopes as indicators of energy content) did not detect overt signs of serious disease in juveniles, males or females of mosquitofish. However, males reduced food intake at the highest nitrate concentration compared to the controls and females. Similarly, juveniles reduced energy reserves without significant changes in growth or food intake. Calorimetry was positively associated with the number of perivisceral fat cells in juveniles, and the growth rate of females was negatively associated with δ15N signature in muscle. This study shows that females are more tolerant to nitrate than males and juveniles and illustrates the advantages of combing short- and long-term biomarkers in environmental risk assessment, including when testing for the adequacy of legal thresholds for pollutants.

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<![CDATA[Dorset Pre-Inuit and Beothuk foodways in Newfoundland, ca. AD 500-1829]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d0114d5eed0c4840381ce

Archaeological research on the Canadian island of Newfoundland increasingly demonstrates that the island’s subarctic climate and paucity of terrestrial food resources did not restrict past Pre-Inuit (Dorset) and Native American (Beothuk) hunter-gatherer populations to a single subsistence pattern. This study first sought to characterize hunter-gatherer diets over the past 1500 years; and second, to assess the impact of European colonization on Beothuk lifeways by comparing the bone chemistry of Beothuk skeletal remains before and after the intensification of European settlement in the early 18th century. We employed radiocarbon dating and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratio analysis of bulk bone collagen from both Dorset (n = 9) and Beothuk (n = 13) cultures, including a naturally mummified 17th century Beothuk individual. Carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of 108 faunal samples from Dorset and Beothuk archaeological sites around the island were used as a dietary baseline for the humans. We combined our results with previously published isotope data and radiocarbon dates from Dorset (n = 12) and Beothuk (n = 18) individuals and conducted a palaeodietary analysis using Bayesian modelling, cluster analysis and comparative statistical tests. Dorset diets featured more marine protein than those of the Beothuk, and the diets of Beothuk after the 18th century featured less high trophic level marine protein than those of individuals predating the 18th century. Despite inhabiting the same island, Dorset and Beothuk cultures employed markedly different dietary strategies, consistent with interpretations of other archaeological data. Significantly, European colonization had a profound effect on Beothuk lifeways, as in response to the increasing European presence on the coast, the Beothuk relied more extensively on the limited resources of the island’s boreal forests and rivers.

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<![CDATA[Dual isotopic evidence for nitrate sources and active biological transformation in the Northern South China Sea in summer]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667a8d5eed0c4841a5f49

Nitrate (NO3-) concentrations and their dual isotopic compositions (δ15N-NO3- and δ18O-NO3-) were measured to constrain N sources and their cyclic processes in summer using samples from the water column of the northern South China Sea (NSCS). Our data revealed that higher NO3- concentrations and δ15N-NO3- values were observed in the upper waters of the coastal areas near the Pearl River Estuary (PRE). The Bayesian stable isotope mixing model was used to calculated the proportion of nitrate sources, the results indicated that the nitrate in the upper waters of the coastal areas near PRE were mainly influenced by manure and sewage (63%), atmospheric deposition (19%), soil organic nitrogen (12%) and reduced N fertilizer (6%). For the upper waters of the outer areas, low NO3- concentrations and δ15N-NO3- values, but high δ18O-NO3- values, reflected that NO3- was mainly influenced by Kuroshio water intrusion (60%), atmospheric deposition (32%) and nitrogen fixation/nitrification (8%). Complex processes were found in bottom waters. Nitrification and phytoplankton assimilation may be responsible for the higher nitrate concentrations and δ15N-NO3- values. Our study, therefore, utilizes the nitrate dual isotope to help illustrate the spatial variations in nitrate sources and complex nitrogen cycles in the NSCS.

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<![CDATA[The study of degradation mechanisms of glyco-engineered plant produced anti-rabies monoclonal antibodies E559 and 62-71-3]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c25455ed5eed0c48442c5ec

Rabies is an ancient and neglected zoonotic disease caused by the rabies virus, a neurotropic RNA virus that belongs to the Rhabdoviridae family, genus Lyssavirus. It remains an important public health problem as there are cost and health concerns imposed by the current human post exposure prophylaxis therapy. The use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is therefore an attractive alternative. Rabies mostly affects people that reside in resource-limited areas where there are occasional failures in the cold-chain. These environmental changes may upset the stability of the mAbs. This study focused on mAbs 62-71-3 and E559; their structures, responses to freeze/thaw (F/T) and exposure to reactive oxygen species were therefore studied with the aid of a wide range of biophysical and in silico techniques in order to elucidate their stability and identify aggregation prone regions. E559 was found to be less stable than 62-71-3. The complementarity determining regions (CDR) contributed the most to its instability, more specifically: peptides 99EIWD102 and 92ATSPYT97 found in CDR3, Trp33 found in CDR1 and the oxidised Met34. The constant region “158SWNSGALTGHTFPAVL175” was also flagged by the special aggregation propensity (SAP) tool and F/T experiments to be highly prone to aggregation. The E559 peptides “4LQESGSVL11 from the heavy chain and 4LTQSPSSL11 from the light chain, were also highly affected by F/T. These residues may serve as good candidates for mutation, in the aim to bring forward more stable therapeutic antibodies, thus paving a way to a more safe and efficacious antibody-based cocktail treatment against rabies.

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<![CDATA[An Analysis of Precipitation Isotope Distributions across Namibia Using Historical Data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9feab0ee8fa60b72f0b

Global precipitation isoscapes based on the Global Network for Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) network are an important toolset that aid our understanding of global hydrologic cycles. Although the GNIP database is instrumental in developing global isoscapes, data coverage in some regions of hydrological interest (e.g., drylands) is low or non-existent thus the accuracy and relevance of global isoscapes to these regions is debatable. Capitalizing on existing literature isotope data, we generated rainfall isoscapes for Namibia (dryland) using the cokriging method and compared it to a globally fitted isoscape (GFI) downscaled to country level. Results showed weak correlation between observed and predicted isotope values in the GFI model (r2 < 0.20) while the cokriging isoscape showed stronger correlation (r2 = 0.67). The general trend of the local cokriging isoscape is consistent with synoptic weather systems (i.e., influences from Atlantic Ocean maritime vapour, Indian Ocean maritime vapour, Zaire Air Boundary, the Intertropical Convergence Zone and Tropical Temperate Troughs) and topography affecting the region. However, because we used the unweighted approach in this method, due to data scarcity, the absolute values could be improved in future studies. A comparison of local meteoric water lines (LMWL) constructed from the cokriging and GFI suggested that the GFI model still reflects the global average even when downscaled. The cokriging LMWL was however more consistent with expectations for an arid environment. The results indicate that although not ideal, for data deficient regions such as many drylands, the unweighted cokriging approach using historical local data can be an alternative approach to modelling rainfall isoscapes that are more relevant to the local conditions compared to using downscaled global isoscapes.

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<![CDATA[Using Stable Isotopes to Infer the Impacts of Habitat Change on the Diets and Vertical Stratification of Frugivorous Bats in Madagascar]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da04ab0ee8fa60b75157

Human-modified habitats are expanding rapidly; many tropical countries have highly fragmented and degraded forests. Preserving biodiversity in these areas involves protecting species–like frugivorous bats–that are important to forest regeneration. Fruit bats provide critical ecosystem services including seed dispersal, but studies of how their diets are affected by habitat change have often been rather localized. This study used stable isotope analyses (δ15N and δ13C measurement) to examine how two fruit bat species in Madagascar, Pteropus rufus (n = 138) and Eidolon dupreanum (n = 52) are impacted by habitat change across a large spatial scale. Limited data for Rousettus madagascariensis are also presented. Our results indicated that the three species had broadly overlapping diets. Differences in diet were nonetheless detectable between P. rufus and E. dupreanum, and these diets shifted when they co-occurred, suggesting resource partitioning across habitats and vertical strata within the canopy to avoid competition. Changes in diet were correlated with a decrease in forest cover, though at a larger spatial scale in P. rufus than in E. dupreanum. These results suggest fruit bat species exhibit differing responses to habitat change, highlight the threats fruit bats face from habitat change, and clarify the spatial scales at which conservation efforts could be implemented.

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<![CDATA[Non-Invasive Imaging of Cysteine Cathepsin Activity in Solid Tumors Using a 64Cu-Labeled Activity-Based Probe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da28ab0ee8fa60b81953

The papain family of cysteine cathepsins are actively involved in multiple stages of tumorigenesis. Because elevated cathepsin activity can be found in many types of human cancers, they are promising biomarkers that can be used to target radiological contrast agents for tumor detection. However, currently there are no radiological imaging agents available for these important molecular targets. We report here the development of positron emission tomography (PET) radionuclide-labeled probes that target the cysteine cathepsins by formation of an enzyme activity-dependent bond with the active site cysteine. These probes contain an acyloxymethyl ketone (AOMK) functional group that irreversibly labels the active site cysteine of papain family proteases attached to a 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) tag for labeling with 64Cu for PET imaging studies. We performed biodistribution and microPET imaging studies in nude mice bearing subcutaneous tumors expressing various levels of cysteine cathepsin activity and found that the extent of probe uptake by tumors correlated with overall protease activity as measured by biochemical methods. Furthermore, probe signals could be reduced by pre-treatment with a general cathepsin inhibitor. We also found that inclusion of a Cy5 tag on the probe increased tumor uptake relative to probes lacking this fluorogenic dye. Overall, these results demonstrate that small molecule activity-based probes carrying radio-tracers can be used to image protease activity in living subjects.

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<![CDATA[Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopic Survey of Northern Peruvian Plants: Baselines for Paleodietary and Paleoecological Studies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d8ab0ee8fa60b66bc1

The development of isotopic baselines for comparison with paleodietary data is crucial, but often overlooked. We review the factors affecting the carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopic compositions of plants, with a special focus on the carbon and nitrogen isotopic compositions of twelve different species of cultivated plants (n = 91) and 139 wild plant species collected in northern Peru. The cultivated plants were collected from nineteen local markets. The mean δ13C value for maize (grain) was −11.8±0.4 ‰ (n = 27). Leguminous cultigens (beans, Andean lupin) were characterized by significantly lower δ15N values and significantly higher %N than non-leguminous cultigens. Wild plants from thirteen sites were collected in the Moche River Valley area between sea level and ∼4,000 meters above sea level (masl). These sites were associated with mean annual precipitation ranging from 0 to 710 mm. Plants growing at low altitude sites receiving low amounts of precipitation were characterized by higher δ15N values than plants growing at higher altitudes and receiving higher amounts of precipitation, although this trend dissipated when altitude was >2,000 masl and MAP was >400 mm. For C3 plants, foliar δ13C was positively correlated with altitude and precipitation. This suggests that the influence of altitude may overshadow the influence of water availability on foliar δ13C values at this scale.

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<![CDATA[A Rare Glimpse of Paleoarchean Life: Geobiology of an Exceptionally Preserved Microbial Mat Facies from the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool Formation, Western Australia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae5ab0ee8fa60bbd59b

Paleoarchean rocks from the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia provide a variety of clues to the existence of early life on Earth, such as stromatolites, putative microfossils and geochemical signatures of microbial activity. However, some of these features have also been explained by non-biological processes. Further lines of evidence are therefore required to convincingly argue for the presence of microbial life. Here we describe a new type of microbial mat facies from the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool Formation, which directly overlies well known stromatolitic carbonates from the same formation. This microbial mat facies consists of laminated, very fine-grained black cherts with discontinuous white quartz layers and lenses, and contains small domical stromatolites and wind-blown crescentic ripples. Light- and cathodoluminescence microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and time of flight—secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) reveal a spatial association of carbonates, organic material, and highly abundant framboidal pyrite within the black cherts. Nano secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) confirmed the presence of distinct spheroidal carbonate bodies up to several tens of μm that are surrounded by organic material and pyrite. These aggregates are interpreted as biogenic. Comparison with Phanerozoic analogues indicates that the facies represents microbial mats formed in a shallow marine environment. Carbonate precipitation and silicification by hydrothermal fluids occurred during sedimentation and earliest diagenesis. The deciphered environment, as well as the δ13C signature of bulk organic matter (-35.3‰), are in accord with the presence of photoautotrophs. At the same time, highly abundant framboidal pyrite exhibits a sulfur isotopic signature (δ34S = +3.05‰; Δ33S = 0.268‰; and Δ36S = -0.282‰) that is consistent with microbial sulfate reduction. Taken together, our results strongly support a microbial mat origin of the black chert facies, thus providing another line of evidence for life in the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool Formation.

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<![CDATA[Trophic Enrichment Factors for Blood Serum in the European Badger (Meles meles)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db1dab0ee8fa60bcea3b

Ecologists undertaking stable isotopic analyses of animal diets require trophic enrichment factors (TEFs) for the specific animal tissues that they are studying. Such basic data are available for a small number of species, so values from trophically or phylogenetically similar species are often substituted for missing values. By feeding a controlled diet to captive European badgers (Meles meles) we determined TEFs for carbon and nitrogen in blood serum. TEFs for nitrogen and carbon in blood serum were +3.0±0.4‰ and +0.4±0.1‰ respectively. The TEFs for serum in badgers are notably different from those published for the red fox (Vulpes vulpes). There is currently no data for TEFs in the serum of other mustelid species. Our data show that species sharing similar niches (red fox) do not provide adequate proxy values for TEFs of badgers. Our findings emphasise the importance of having species-specific data when undertaking trophic studies using stable isotope analysis.

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<![CDATA[A U-Pb zircon age constraint on the oldest-recorded air-breathing land animal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be1287

The oldest-known air-breathing land animal is the millipede Pneumodesmus newmani, found in the Cowie Harbour Fish Bed at Stonehaven, Scotland. Here we report the youngest, most concordant 238U-206Pb zircon age from ash below the fish bed of 413.7±4.4 Ma (±2σ), whereas the youngest age from a tuffaceous sandstone above the fish bed is statistically indistinguishable at 414.3±7.1 Ma. The Cowie Harbour Fish Bed thus appears to be lowermost Devonian (Lochkovian), contrary to the previously accepted mid-Silurian age based on palynomorphs from adjacent exposures. This has implications for the evolutionary timetable of land colonization, as the Cowie ages overlap late Lochkovian zircon ages reported elsewhere for andesite below the nearby (~50 mi) Rhynie Chert, which has more advanced terrestrial biota. The results postdate the possible late Silurian Ludford Lane locality in Shropshire, England. Pneumodesmus newmani is thus not the earliest air-breathing land animal, unless the Ludford Lane locality is younger than presently assigned.

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<![CDATA[Chaetognatha of the Namibian Upwelling Region: Taxonomy, Distribution and Trophic Position]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2eab0ee8fa60b8375e

In October 2010, the vertical distribution, biodiversity and maturity stages of Chaetognatha species were investigated at four stations located off Walvis Bay, Namibia. Seventeen species were detected and classified as pelagic, shallow-mesopelagic, deep-mesopelagic and bathypelagic species based upon the weighted mean depth derived from their average vertical distribution. High abundances of Chaetognatha were found in the upper 100 m at all stations of the Walvis Bay transect with a maximum value of 20837 ind. 1000 m−3 at the outer shelf station near the surface. The community was dominated by species of the Serratodentata group. Furthermore, the distribution of Chaetognatha did not seem to be influenced by low oxygen concentrations. Stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen in Chaetognatha were determined for seven different areas located off northern Namibia. The values of δ15N ranged from 6.05 ‰ to 11.39 ‰, while the δ13C values varied between −23.89 ‰ and −17.03 ‰. The highest values for δ15N were observed at the Walvis Bay shelf break station. The lowest δ13C values were found at the Rocky Point offshore station, which was statistically different from all other areas. Stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen were determined for four taxa (Sagitta minima, Planctonis group, Sagitta enflata, Sagitta decipiens). In this case, the δ15N values ranged from 6.17 ‰ to 10.38 ‰, whereas the δ13C values varied from −22.70 ‰ to −21.56 ‰. The lowest δ15N values were found for S. minima. The C- and N-content revealed maximum C-values for S. decipiens and maximum N-values for the Planctonis group. The C:N ratio of Chaetognatha ranged between 5.25 and 6.20. Overall, Chaetognatha are a diverse group in the pelagic food web of the Benguela Upwelling System and act as competitors of fish larvae and jelly fish by preying on copepods.

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<![CDATA[Stable Isotopes Reveal Long-Term Fidelity to Foraging Grounds in the Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da74ab0ee8fa60b95fa9

Most otariids have colony-specific foraging areas during the breeding season, when they behave as central place foragers. However, they may disperse over broad areas after the breeding season and individuals from different colonies may share foraging grounds at that time. Here, stable isotope ratios in the skull bone of adult Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) were used to assess the long-term fidelity of both sexes to foraging grounds across the different regions of the Galapagos archipelago. Results indicated that the stable isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) of sea lion bone significantly differed among regions of the archipelago, without any significant difference between sexes and with a non significant interaction between sex and region. Moreover, standard ellipses, estimated by Bayesian inference and used as a measure of the isotopic resource use area at the population level, overlapped widely for the sea lions from the southern and central regions, whereas the overlap of the ellipses for sea lions from the central and western regions was small and non-existing for those from the western and southern regions. These results suggest that males and females from the same region within the archipelago use similar foraging grounds and have similar diets. Furthermore, they indicate that the exchange of adults between regions is limited, thus revealing a certain degree of foraging philopatry at a regional scale within the archipelago. The constraints imposed on males by an expanded reproductive season (~ 6 months), resulting from the weak reproductive synchrony among females, and those imposed on females by a very long lactation period (at least one year but up to three years), may explain the limited mobility of adult Galapagos sea lions of both sexes across the archipelago.

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<![CDATA[Sequential Isotopic Signature Along Gladius Highlights Contrasted Individual Foraging Strategies of Jumbo Squid (Dosidicus gigas)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db20ab0ee8fa60bcf230

Background

Cephalopods play a major role in marine ecosystems, but knowledge of their feeding ecology is limited. In particular, intra- and inter-individual variations in their use of resources has not been adequatly explored, although there is growing evidence that individual organisms can vary considerably in the way they use their habitats and resources.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Using δ13C and δ15N values of serially sampled gladius (an archival tissue), we examined high resolution variations in the trophic niche of five large (>60 cm mantle length) jumbo squids (Dosidicus gigas) that were collected off the coast of Peru. We report the first evidence of large inter-individual differences in jumbo squid foraging strategies with no systematic increase of trophic level with size. Overall, gladius δ13C values indicated one or several migrations through the squid's lifetime (∼8–9 months), during which δ15N values also fluctuated (range: 1 to 5‰). One individual showed an unexpected terminal 4.6‰ δ15N decrease (more than one trophic level), thus indicating a shift from higher- to lower-trophic level prey at that time. The data illustrate the high diversity of prey types and foraging histories of this species at the individual level.

Conclusions/Significance

The isotopic signature of gladii proved to be a powerful tool to depict high resolution and ontogenic variations in individual foraging strategies of squids, thus complementing traditional information offered by stomach content analysis and stable isotopes on metabolically active tissues. The observed differences in life history strategies highlight the high degree of plasticity of the jumbo squid and its high potential to adapt to environmental changes.

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<![CDATA[Show Me Your Rump Hair and I Will Tell You What You Ate – The Dietary History of Muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) Revealed by Sequential Stable Isotope Analysis of Guard Hairs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da13ab0ee8fa60b7a476

The nutritional state of animals is tightly linked to the ambient environment, and for northern ungulates the state strongly influences vital population demographics, such as pregnancy rates. Continuously growing tissues, such as hair, can be viewed as dietary records of animals over longer temporal scales. Using sequential data on nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N) in muskox guard hairs from ten individuals in high arctic Northeast Greenland, we were able to reconstruct the dietary history of muskoxen over approximately 2.5 years with a high temporal resolution of app. 9 days. The dietary chronology included almost three full summer and winter periods. The diet showed strong intra- and inter-annual seasonality, and was significantly linked to changes in local environmental conditions (temperature and snow depth). The summer diets were highly similar across years, reflecting a graminoid-dominated diet. In contrast, winter diets were markedly different between years, a pattern apparently linked to snow conditions. Snow-rich winters had markedly higher δ15N values than snow-poor winters, indicating that muskoxen had limited access to forage, and relied more heavily on their body stores. Due to the close link between body stores and calf production in northern ungulates, the dietary winter signals could eventually serve as an indicator of calf production the following spring. Our study opens the field for further studies and longer chronologies to test such links. The method of sequential stable isotope analysis of guard hairs thus constitutes a promising candidate for population-level monitoring of animals in remote, arctic areas.

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<![CDATA[Uniform Selection as a Primary Force Reducing Population Genetic Differentiation of Cavitation Resistance across a Species Range]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daacab0ee8fa60ba999e

Background

Cavitation resistance to water stress-induced embolism determines plant survival during drought. This adaptive trait has been described as highly variable in a wide range of tree species, but little is known about the extent of genetic and phenotypic variability within species. This information is essential to our understanding of the evolutionary forces that have shaped this trait, and for evaluation of its inclusion in breeding programs.

Methodology

We assessed cavitation resistance (P50), growth and carbon isotope composition in six Pinus pinaster populations in a provenance and progeny trial. We estimated the heritability of cavitation resistance and compared the distribution of neutral markers (FST) and quantitative genetic differentiation (QST), for retrospective identification of the evolutionary forces acting on these traits.

Results/Discussion

In contrast to growth and carbon isotope composition, no population differentiation was found for cavitation resistance. Heritability was higher than for the other traits, with a low additive genetic variance (h2ns = 0.43±0.18, CVA = 4.4%). QST was significantly lower than FST, indicating uniform selection for P50, rather than genetic drift. Putative mechanisms underlying QST<FST are discussed.

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<![CDATA[Merging Resource Availability with Isotope Mixing Models: The Role of Neutral Interaction Assumptions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d8ab0ee8fa60b6673d

Background

Bayesian mixing models have allowed for the inclusion of uncertainty and prior information in the analysis of trophic interactions using stable isotopes. Formulating prior distributions is relatively straightforward when incorporating dietary data. However, the use of data that are related, but not directly proportional, to diet (such as prey availability data) is often problematic because such information is not necessarily predictive of diet, and the information required to build a reliable prior distribution for all prey species is often unavailable. Omitting prey availability data impacts the estimation of a predator's diet and introduces the strong assumption of consumer ultrageneralism (where all prey are consumed in equal proportions), particularly when multiple prey have similar isotope values.

Methodology

We develop a procedure to incorporate prey availability data into Bayesian mixing models conditional on the similarity of isotope values between two prey. If a pair of prey have similar isotope values (resulting in highly uncertain mixing model results), our model increases the weight of availability data in estimating the contribution of prey to a predator's diet. We test the utility of this method in an intertidal community against independently measured feeding rates.

Conclusions

Our results indicate that our weighting procedure increases the accuracy by which consumer diets can be inferred in situations where multiple prey have similar isotope values. This suggests that the exchange of formalism for predictive power is merited, particularly when the relationship between prey availability and a predator's diet cannot be assumed for all species in a system.

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<![CDATA[Zinc Isotope Ratios as Indicators of Diet and Trophic Level in Arctic Marine Mammals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9dab0ee8fa60ba46cb

Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of bone collagen are an established method for dietary reconstruction, but this method is limited by the protein preservation. Zinc (Zn) is found in bioapatite and the isotopic compositions of this element constitute a very promising dietary indicator. The extent of fractionation of Zn isotopes in marine environments, however, remains unknown. We report here on the measurement of zinc, carbon and nitrogen isotopes in 47 marine mammals from the archaeological site of Arvik in the Canadian Arctic. We undertook this study to test and demonstrate the utility of Zn isotopes in recent mammal bone minerals as a dietary indicator by comparing them to other isotopic dietary tracers. We found a correlation between δ66Zn values and trophic level for most species, with the exception of walruses, which may be caused by their large seasonal movements. δ6Zn values can therefore be used as a dietary indicator in marine ecosystems for both modern and recent mammals.

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<![CDATA[A Transplantable Phosphorylation Probe for Direct Assessment of G Protein-Coupled Receptor Activation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da44ab0ee8fa60b8b2f4

The newly developed multireceptor somatostatin analogs pasireotide (SOM230), octreotide and somatoprim (DG3173) have primarily been characterized according to their binding profiles. However, their ability to activate individual somatostatin receptor subtypes (sst) has not been directly assessed so far. Here, we transplanted the carboxyl-terminal phosphorylation motif of the sst2 receptor to other somatostatin receptors and assessed receptor activation using a set of three phosphosite-specific antibodies. Our comparative analysis revealed unexpected efficacy profiles for pasireotide, octreotide and somatoprim. Pasireotide was able to activate sst3 and sst5 receptors but was only a partial agonist at the sst2 receptor. Octreotide exhibited potent agonistic properties at the sst2 receptor but produced very little sst5 receptor activation. Like octreotide, somatoprim was a full agonist at the sst2 receptor. Unlike octreotide, somatoprim was also a potent agonist at the sst5 receptor. Together, we propose the application of a phosphorylation probe for direct assessment of G protein-coupled receptor activation and demonstrate its utility in the pharmacological characterization of novel somatostatin analogs.

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