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Isotopic signature in isolated south-western populations of European brown bear (Ursus arctos)

García-Vázquez, A, Crampton, DA, Lamb, AL, Wolff, GA, Kiriakoulakis, K, Guidarelli, G, Loy, A, Ciucci, P, Groff, C, Pinto-Llona, AC, Grandal-d’Anglade, A and Meloro, C (2022) Isotopic signature in isolated south-western populations of European brown bear (Ursus arctos). Mammal Research. ISSN 2199-2401

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Abstract Stable isotope analysis of animal tissue samples is increasingly used to study the trophic ecology of target species. The isotopic signatures respond to the type of diet, but also to the environmental conditions of their habitat. In the case of omnivorous, seasonal or opportunistic feeding species, the interpretation of isotopic values is more complex, as it is largely determined by food selection, either due to individual choice or because of availability. We analysed C and N isotopes in brown bear (Ursus arctos) hair from four isolated populations of south-western Europe (Cantabrian, Pyrenees, Central Apennines and Alpine) accounting for the geographical and climatic differences among the four areas. We found inter-population differences in isotopic signatures that cannot be attributed to climatic differences alone, indicating that at least some bears from relatively higher altitude populations experiencing higher precipitation (Pyrenees) show a greater consumption of animal foods than those from lower altitudes (Cantabrian and Apennines). The quantification of isotopic niche space using Layman’s metrics identified significant similarities between the Cantabrian and Central Apennine samples that markedly differ from the Pyrenean and Alpine. Our study provides a baseline to allow further comparisons in isotopic niche spaces in a broad ranged omnivorous mammal, whose European distribution requires further conservation attention especially for southern isolated populations.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
T Technology > TX Home economics > TX341 Nutrition. Foods and food supply
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2022 14:54
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 15:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s13364-022-00654-2
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17936
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