Enrichment of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of plant populations and plateau pikas along altitudes
X. F. Yi 1,2
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College of Agriculture, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, 471003, P.R. China
Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 59#, Xiguan Street, Xining 810001, Qinghai, P.R. China
Publication date: 2006-11-06
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X. F. Yi   

College of Agriculture, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, 471003, P.R. China; Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 59#, Xiguan Street, Xining 810001, Qinghai, P.R. China
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2006;15(4):661-667
Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios were measured in plant populations and plateau pikas to determine enrichment in stable isotopes of three alpine meadow ecosystems at different elevations in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The results indicated that stable carbon isotope signatures of plant populations at the three locations showed significant variations, δ13C of plant populations showed an enrichment of 0.86‰ per 1000 m over the linear proportion of the altitudinal response, while stable nitrogen isotopes showed no apparent difference. The stable nitrogen isotopes of plateau pikas became significantly isotopically heavier along altitudinal gradients and showed an enrichment of 3.17‰/km. Stable carbon isotopes showed no significance, however, and the enrichment of 0.448‰/km. δ 13C and δ 15N in plateau pikas were not significantly correlated. There appeared to be segregation between the metabolism of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of plateau pikas. Variances in metabolic rate at lower water availability and temperatures are presumed to be the main cause of enrichment of stable nitrogen isotopes along altitudinal gradients. Attention should be paid to construct trophic positions and to trace food chain information based on an isotopic enrichment model.
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