Stable isotope techniques
Stable isotopes have become an indespensable tool for ecologists, anthropologists, paleontologists and evolutionary biologists. Stable isotope techniques are used to trace the migration of organisms and the flow of water and nutrients through organisms and ecosystems. They can be used to reconstruct the diet and trophic position of of animals, evaluate trophic structure of entire ecosystems and explore niche differentiation among individuals, populations, and communities. The Post Lab both uses and develops new stable isotope techniques. David Post's work on the models, methods, and assumptions required to estimate trophic position (Post 2002) are central to modern work on food chain length (Post et al. 2000, Takimoto et al. in press, Walters and Post in review) as well as research across ecology, anthropology, and paleontology. Recent papers by the Post lab have addressed the importance of addressing variation in lipid content for studies using stable carbon isotopes (Post et al. 2007) and the use of isotopes to provide community-wide estimates of food web structure and niche differentiation (Layman et al. 2007 and Layman and Post 2008).
Layman, C.A., and D.M. Post. 2008. Can stable isotope ratios provide for community-wide measures of trophic structure? Reply. Ecology 89:000-000.
Layman, C.A., D.A. Arrington, C.G. Montaņa and D.M. post. 2007. Can stable isotope ratios provide for community-wide measures of trophic structure? Ecology 88:42-48
Post, D.M., D.A. Arrington, C.A. Layman, G. Takimoto, J. Quattrochi, and C. G. Montaņa. 2007. Getting to the fat of the matter: models, methods and assumptions for dealing with lipids in stable isotope analyses. Oecologia 152:179-189.
Post, D.M. 2002. Using stable isotopes to estimate trophic position: models, methods, and assumptions. Ecology, 83:703-718.