Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Dual-tracer-based isotope turnover rates in a highly invasive mysid Limnomysis benedeni from Lake Constance.

Abstract

Understanding the ecological patterns of invasive species and their habitats require an understanding of the species' foraging ecology. Stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope values provide useful information into the study of animal ecology and evolution, since the isotope ratios of consumers reflect consumer's dietary patterns. Nevertheless, the lack of species- and element-specific laboratory-derived turnover rates could limit their application. Using a laboratory-based dual stable isotope tracer approach (Na15NO3 and NaH13CO3), we evaluated the δ15N and δ13C isotope turnover rates in full-grown adult invasive Limnomysis benedeni from Lake Constance. We provide δ15N and δ13C turnover rates based on nonlinear least-squares regression and posterior linear regression models. Model precisions and fit were evaluated using Akaike's information criterion. Within a couple of days, the δ15N and δ13C of mysids began to change. Nevertheless, after about 14 days, L. benedeni did not reach equilibrium with their new isotope values. Since the experiment was conducted on adult subjects, it is evident that turnover was mainly influenced by metabolism (in contrast to growth). Unlike traditional dietary shifts, our laboratory-based dual stable isotope tracer approach does not shift the experimental organisms into a new diet and avoids dietary effects on isotope values. Results confirm the application of isotopic tracers to label mysid subpopulations and could be used to reflect assimilation and turnover from the labeled dietary sources. Field-based stable isotope studies often use isotopic mixing models commonly assuming diet-tissue steady state. Unfortunately, in cases where the isotopic composition of the animal is not in equilibrium with its diet, this can lead to highly misleading conclusions. Thus, our laboratory-based isotopic incorporation rates assist interpretation of the isotopic values from the field and provide a foundation for future research into using isotopic tracers to investigate invasion ecology.