Abstract

Title:  Laying the Foundation: Advancing the Use of Stable Isotopes in White-tailed Deer Ecology and Management
Author(s): Stacy L. Hines - Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Department of Animal and Wildlife Science, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; Timothy E Fulbright - Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; J. Alfonso Ortega-S. - Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; David G Hewitt - Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; Thomas W Boutton - Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University-College Station; Alfonso Ortega-S., Jr. - East Wildlife Foundation
Year: 2015
Abstract: Stable isotope signatures of animal tissues have been used to infer diets and dietary overlap among species. Before stable isotope signatures of animal tissues can be interpreted, knowledge of fractionation rate (i.e., how the isotope signature changes from the food to tissue) and time period integrated by that tissue is essential. Hair is metabolically inactive tissue; hence, it retains the isotope signature acquired during synthesis and does not change once keratinized. The fractionation rate for white-tailed deer hair has been determined, but the growth pattern of deer pelage is unknown. The fractionation rate of deer fecal samples and time period integrated by a fecal sample are unknown. Our objectives were to determine growth pattern of white-tailed deer winter-pelage and determine the fractionation rate and time period represented by deer fecal samples to obtain information necessary for interpretation of stable isotope signatures of these tissues. Both hair and fecal samples can be collected without handling the animal and could provide insight into diets of white-tailed deer during the time periods integrated by these tissues.

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42nd Annual Meeting of the Southeast Deer Study Group
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Hyatt Regency
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