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Tracking Animal Migration with Stable Isotopes

Handbook / ManualNew Edition

Series: Terrestrial Ecology Series Volume: 2

By: Keith Alan Hobson(Author), Leonard I Wassenaar(Author)

216 pages, illustrations

Academic Press

Paperback | Oct 2018 | Edition: 2 | #241217 | ISBN-13: 9780128147238
Available for pre-order: Due Oct 2018 Details
NHBS Price: £78.95 $104/€89 approx

About this book

Tracking Animal Migration with Stable Isotopes, Second Edition provides a complete introduction to new and powerful isotopic tools and applications to track animal migration, reviewing where isotope tracers fit in the modern toolbox of tracking methods. Assuming the reader has little familiarity with stable isotopes, it provides the necessary background information to allow scientists to understand and apply this technique to a broad range of migration scenarios in terrestrial and aquatic systems. The work summarizes the most cutting-edge developments in the field that are revolutionizing the way migrant individuals and populations are assigned to their true origins, noting how isotope approaches have transformed the way the forensics of animal movements are investigated. It allows undergraduate and graduate students and non-specialist scientists to adopt and apply isotopes to migration research, and also serves as a useful reference for scientists in universities and government laboratories. Students and researchers can use Tracking Animal Migration with Stable Isotopes as a guide for study design through data interpretation, including the use of freely available software and provided examples.

The new edition thoroughly updates the information available to the reader on current applications of this technique and provides new tools for the isotopic assignment of individuals to origins, including geostatistical multi-isotope approaches and the ways in which researchers can combine isotopes with routine data in a Bayesian framework to provide best estimates of animal origins. In this edition, terrestrial and aquatic environments are split into separate chapters to improve focus, and previous chapters are updated to reflect the rapidly and substantially changing literature. Four new chapters include contributions on: applications to the movements of terrestrial mammals, with particular emphasis on how aspects of animal physiology can influence stable isotope values and their interpretation; the new field of compound-specific isotope analyses to track animals; a new statistical approach and open-source software to using isotope data for assignments (IsoriX) with a comprehensive development of this approach; and a new final chapter by the editors that reflects the major advances in the field since the previous edition and provides insights on the road ahead.


1. Why study animal Movements?
2. An Introduction to the Light Stable Isotopes for use in Terrestrial Animal Migration Studies
3. Isoscapes: the basis for inferring animal origins and movements using stable isotopes
4. Applying Isotopic Methods to Tracking animal Movements. Chapter 5. Tracking Bats and other Terrestrial mammals; Considerations of Physiology
6. Isotopic Tracking of Marine and Aquatic Animals
7. Applying Compound-Specific Methods: The Next frontier in Isotopic Tracking of Animals
8. Analysis and design for Isotope based Studies of Migratory Animals
9. Tools for the User: Assigning Animals to Origins using Mixed Models in R: the IsoriX package
10. Future Directions and Challenges for Using Stable Isotopes in Advancing Animal Migration research

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Dr. Keith Alan Hobson was a Senior Research Scientist with Environment Canada for 25 years, and is currently Professor of Biology at University of Western Ontario. Dr. Hobson developed tools and specialized in using stable isotope approaches to solving ecological questions in animal conservation and ecology with an emphasis on migratory connectivity birds and insects. Hobson is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He serves as editor of Avian Conservation and Ecology.

Dr. Leonard I Wassenaar was a senior Research Scientist with Environment Canada for 23 years, specializing isotope analytical measurements and applications in hydrology and ecology. He and Dr. Hobson worked closely together to develop many of the foundational analytical tools to assign animals to origins using isotope approaches. Currently, Dr. Wassenaar serves as a Team Leader in Nuclear Applications Division of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria.

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