ORIGINAL PAPER
Stable carbon isotope analyses show dominance of C3 grasses in the feed selected by small herbivores at the alpine meadow at the Tibetan Plateau
X. F. Yi 1, 2, 3  
 
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1
Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 59#, Xiguan Street, Xining, 810001, Qinghai, P.R. China
2
College of Agriculture, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, 471003, China
3
Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 25#, Beisihuan Xilu, Beijing, 100080, P.R. China
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
X. F. Yi   

Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 59#, Xiguan Street, Xining, 810001, Qinghai, P.R. China
Publication date: 2006-01-06
 
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2006;15(1):115–120
 
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ABSTRACT
Muscle samples were collected from small herbivorous mammals (Ochotona curzoniae, Microtus oecnomus, Myospalax fontanierii and Lepus oiostolus) at the alpine meadow ecosystem at the Tibetan Plateau in order to address variability in stable carbon isotope composition. Stable carbon isotope values of muscles remain steady and show no significant variations (-25.72 to -27.04‰) among the four small mammal species. Based on the mass balance theory of stable isotopes, it is proposed that small herbivorous mammals mainly (or totally) rely on C3 grasses as food supply, and there is few or no distribution of C4 grasses at the ecosystem. The results reflect our previous study on the isotope patterns of plant species. Thus, stable carbon isotope analysis of muscles provides a method to address dietary selection and dietary variability in herbivores. In addition, stable carbon isotopic analyses can be used to address changes in vegetation distributions in ecosystem and paleovegetaion and paleoclimate.
ISSN:1230-1388