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Contrasting C and N isotope ratios from sperm whale skin and squid between the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California: effect of habitat
Ruiz-Cooley, R.I.; Engelhaupt, D.T.; Ortega-Ortiz, J.G. (2012). Contrasting C and N isotope ratios from sperm whale skin and squid between the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California: effect of habitat. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(1): 151-164. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-011-1795-3
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ruiz-Cooley, R.I.
  • Engelhaupt, D.T.
  • Ortega-Ortiz, J.G.

Abstract
    To investigate feeding variation between populations of an apex oceanic predator, stable isotope ratios of carbon (d13C) and nitrogen (d15N) have been compared in skin of female and immature male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) from the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and the Gulf of California (GC). Whale sexes were determined genetically. The d13C and d15N values from squid muscle were used from the GC, and from inshore and offshore sites in the GoM. We documented contrastingly lower d13C and d15N from whales and squid of the GoM compared with those from the GC. While this difference may be associated with variation in trophic position, geographic variation in biochemical cycling influenced significantly the contrasting isotope values between gulfs. Within the northern GoM, the highly distinct d15N values of neritic squid versus mesopelagic squid provide further evidence of habitat specificity in d15N.

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