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Michael B. Wunder

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In a recent paper published in The Auk, Smith et al. (2009) raised serious concerns over an apparent lack of reproducibility in their study of stable hydrogen isotope values (δDf ) in raptor feathers. The authors based their concerns on results obtained from different laboratories to which they submitted original and blind “repeats” over a multiyear period. A regression of the original sample δD versus “repeat” measurements showed an increase in the magnitude of residuals with increasing δDf , especially for values greater than about −80‰ (Smith et al. 2009: fig. 2). Because of this, the authors “caution against the continued use of δDf for predicting geographic origin, and for addressing important conservation...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Auk
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Clark’s nutcrackers are important seed dispersers for two widely-distributed western North American conifers, whitebark pine and limber pine, which are declining due to outbreaks of mountain pine beetle and white pine blister rust. Because nutcracker seed dispersal services are key to maintaining viable populations of these imperiled pines, knowledge of movement patterns of Clark’s nutcrackers helps managers understand local extinction risks for these trees. To investigate population structure within Clark’s nutcracker, we developed primers for and characterized 13 polymorphic microsatellite loci. In a screen of 22 individuals from one population, levels of variability ranged from 6 to 15 alleles. No loci were found...
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Multiple factors, including limitation in food resources, have been proposed as possible causes for the lack of recovery of the endangered western segment of the Steller sea lion population in the United States. Because maternal body condition has important consequences on fetal development and neonatal survival, the diets of pregnant females may be particularly important in regulating population sizes. We used the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values of vibrissae from Steller sea lion pups as an indirect indicator of maternal diets during gestation. Combining these data with isotope data from potential prey species in a Bayesian mixing model, we generated proportional estimates of dietary consumption for key...
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Habitat use and feeding behaviors of cryptic animals are often poorly understood. Analyses of stable isotope ratios in animal body tissues can help reveal an individual's location and resource use during tissue growth. We investigated variation in stable isotope ratios of 4 elements (H, C, N, and S) in the hair of a sedentary species of insectivorous bat (Eptesicus fuscus) inhabiting a chemically complex urban landscape. Our objective was to quantify population-level isotopic variation and test for evidence of resource specialization by individuals. Bats were sampled over 3 annual molt cycles at maternity roosts in buildings and variance components analysis was used to test whether intraindividual isotopic variation...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Mammalogy
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Stable isotope analysis is a useful tool to track animal movements in both terrestrial and marine environments. These intrinsic markers are assimilated through the diet and may exhibit spatial gradients as a result of biogeochemical processes at the base of the food web. In the marine environment, maps to predict the spatial distribution of stable isotopes are limited, and thus determining geographic origin has been reliant upon integrating satellite telemetry and stable isotope data. Migratory sea turtles regularly move between foraging and reproductive areas. Whereas most nesting populations can be easily accessed and regularly monitored, little is known about the demographic trends in foraging populations. The...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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