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1.
Environ Monit Assess ; 195(1): 78, 2022 Nov 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36342572

RESUMO

The Angolan Highlands region includes the Angolan miombo woodland ecoregion which supports miombo woodland, grasslands, subsistence agricultural land, and peatland deposits. Extensive fires, slash and burn agriculture, peat fuel extraction, and peatland drainage are among the anthropogenic practices that threaten these peatland deposits. Peat fires cause peatland degradation, release significant amounts of greenhouse gases, deteriorate air quality, and contribute towards climate change and biodiversity loss. This study presents an analysis of the fire regimes over the period 2001 to 2020 in an under-studied area of the Angolan Highlands. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) fire and vegetation data were used in combination with a land use/land cover (LULC) classification map to calculate fire frequency, burn area, and fire regimes. The fire patterns within the study site are comparable to those found in African woodland savannas. Across the study site, 6976 km2 (11.31%) of the land surface area burned at least nine times from 2001 to 2020, occurring largely within in the river valley environment. Considering the different LULC classes, peatlands were calculated to (a) burn more frequently (average fire frequency from 2001 to 2020 = 9.12), (b) have the smallest proportion (4.11%) of area which remained unburnt over the fire archive, and (c) have the largest average proportion (45.65% or 746 km2) of burnt area per year. Peatland burning occurred predominantly during drier months from May to September. The results of this study highlight the strong influence of LULC on the fire frequency and distribution in the study area, requiring unique fire management strategies. As has been documented for boreal and tropical peatlands across the globe, we stress the importance of peatland conservation and protection; continued unsustainable management practices may lead to the loss of these important peatland deposits.


Assuntos
Monitoramento Ambiental , Incêndios , Florestas , Solo , Biodiversidade , Ecossistema
3.
Sci Total Environ ; 810: 152315, 2022 Mar 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34914988

RESUMO

The Angolan highlands are hydrologically and ecologically important, supporting peatland deposits. Peatlands are carbon rich ecosystems and are the largest terrestrial carbon store. We present a first estimate of the extent of peatlands in the Angolan Highlands, using Google Earth Engine. Our conservative estimate of peatland coverage is 1634 km2, 2.65% of a mapped area spanning approximately 61,590 km2. This is a crucial first step in providing the peatland carbon inventory for the region and to facilitate conservation and management strategies. We include the peatland characteristics with respect to topographic data and common remote sensing indices of Normalised Difference Vegetation Index and Normalised Difference Water Index. The results suggest that Angolan Highlands peatland is highly variable in terms of elevation, slope, vegetation cover and standing water occurrence. Radiocarbon dating of riparian peatlands suggest two stages of peatland initiation: one about 7100 cal. yr BP, during the African humid period, and another from about 1100 cal. yr BP to present after the African humid period ended. The temporal control of riparian peat formation is river dynamics and the formation of terraces. Source lake peatland is slightly younger and has average maximum age of 890 cal. yr BP. The Angolan Highlands ecosystem and peatlands are possibly under strain from anthropogenic influence and climate change, making this peatland deposit a potential carbon emission source.


Assuntos
Ecossistema , Solo , Carbono , Ciclo do Carbono , Mudança Climática
4.
Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom ; 35(18): e9159, 2021 Sep 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34224610

RESUMO

RATIONALE: The diet of wild Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) is difficult to assess because they are cryptic and nocturnal predators that are extremely sensitive to disturbance by observers, and stomach content analysis is challenging, especially in large specimens. Stable light isotope analysis provides a means of assessing their diet, but diet-to-tissue discrimination factors have yet to be established for the species. METHODS: Isotope ratio (15 N/14 N and 13 C/12 C expressed as δ15 N and δ13 C) analyses of scutes, claws, and blood of farmed crocodiles of different sizes were compared with the isotope values of their lifelong diet, which comprises chickens from a single supplier. RESULTS: Systematic size dependence in the diet-to-tissue discrimination factors for scute collagen, scute keratin, and claw keratin is described in regression relationships against the snout to vent length. Fixed values are presented for erythrocytes and blood plasma because blood was not sampled from juveniles. CONCLUSIONS: The diet-to-tissue discrimination factors help assess the diet of wild crocodiles. The diet of crocodiles from Lake Flag Boshielo shows a clear ontogenic shift, as has been seen in other studies, and the results strongly indicate a dependence on the terrestrial food web rather than a fish diet. That this population may exploit a terrestrial diet highlights potential conflicts for conserving Nile crocodiles outside protected areas.


Assuntos
Jacarés e Crocodilos/metabolismo , Ração Animal/análise , Isótopos de Carbono/análise , Isótopos de Nitrogênio/análise , Animais , Galinhas , Dieta/veterinária , Cadeia Alimentar , Espectrometria de Massas
5.
Conserv Physiol ; 8(1): coaa048, 2020.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32523698

RESUMO

Intense heat waves are occurring more frequently, with concomitant increases in the risk of catastrophic avian mortality events via lethal dehydration or hyperthermia. We quantified the risks of lethal hyperthermia and dehydration for 10 Australian arid-zone avifauna species during the 21st century, by synthesizing thermal physiology data on evaporative water losses and heat tolerance limits. We evaluated risks of lethal hyperthermia or exceedance of dehydration tolerance limits in the absence of drinking during the hottest part of the day under recent climatic conditions, compared to those predicted for the end of this century across Australia. Increases in mortality risk via lethal dehydration and hyperthermia vary among the species modelled here but will generally increase greatly, particularly in smaller species (~10-42 g) and those inhabiting the far western parts of the continent. By 2100 CE, zebra finches' potential exposure to acute lethal dehydration risk will reach ~ 100 d y-1 in the far northwest of Australia and will exceed 20 d y-1 over > 50% of this species' current range. Risks of dehydration and hyperthermia will remain much lower for large non-passerines such as crested pigeons. Risks of lethal hyperthermia will also increase substantially for smaller species, particularly if they are forced to visit exposed water sources at very high air temperatures to avoid dehydration. An analysis of atlas data for zebra finches suggests that population declines associated with very hot conditions are already occurring in the hottest areas. Our findings suggest that the likelihood of persistence within current species ranges, and the potential for range shifts, will become increasingly constrained by temperature and access to drinking water. Our model adds to an increasing body of literature suggesting that arid environments globally will experience considerable losses of avifauna and biodiversity under unmitigated climate change scenarios.

6.
Microbiome ; 8(1): 62, 2020 05 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32375874

RESUMO

BACKGROUND: The archaeological incidence of ancient human faecal material provides a rare opportunity to explore the taxonomic composition and metabolic capacity of the ancestral human intestinal microbiome (IM). Here, we report the results of the shotgun metagenomic analyses of an ancient South African palaeo-faecal specimen. METHODS: Following the recovery of a single desiccated palaeo-faecal specimen from Bushman Rock Shelter in Limpopo Province, South Africa, we applied a multi-proxy analytical protocol to the sample. The extraction of ancient DNA from the specimen and its subsequent shotgun metagenomic sequencing facilitated the taxonomic and metabolic characterisation of this ancient human IM. RESULTS: Our results indicate that the distal IM of the Neolithic 'Middle Iron Age' (c. AD 1460) Bantu-speaking individual exhibits features indicative of a largely mixed forager-agro-pastoralist diet. Subsequent comparison with the IMs of the Tyrolean Iceman (Ötzi) and contemporary Hadza hunter-gatherers, Malawian agro-pastoralists and Italians reveals that this IM precedes recent adaptation to 'Western' diets, including the consumption of coffee, tea, chocolate, citrus and soy, and the use of antibiotics, analgesics and also exposure to various toxic environmental pollutants. CONCLUSIONS: Our analyses reveal some of the causes and means by which current human IMs are likely to have responded to recent dietary changes, prescription medications and environmental pollutants, providing rare insight into human IM evolution following the advent of the Neolithic c. 12,000 years ago. Video Abtract.


Assuntos
Arqueologia , Fezes/microbiologia , Microbioma Gastrointestinal , África Subsaariana , História do Século XV , Humanos , Metagenômica
7.
PLoS One ; 15(1): e0227352, 2020.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31945077

RESUMO

The article presents the radiocarbon investigation of the baobab of Jhunsi, Allahabad and the Parijaat tree at Kintoor, two old African baobabs from northern India. Several wood samples extracted from these baobabs were analysed by using AMS radiocarbon dating. The radiocarbon date of the oldest samples were 779 ± 41 BP for the baobab of Jhunsi and 793 ± 37 BP for the baobab of Kintoor. The corresponding calibrated ages are 770 ± 25 and 775 ± 25 calendar years. These values indicate that both trees are around 800 years old and become the oldest dated African baobabs outside Africa.


Assuntos
Adansonia/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Datação Radiométrica/métodos , Árvores/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Madeira/análise , Índia
8.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 116(28): 14065-14070, 2019 07 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31235571

RESUMO

Birds inhabiting hot, arid regions are among the terrestrial organisms most vulnerable to climate change. The potential for increasingly frequent and intense heat waves to cause lethal dehydration and hyperthermia is well documented, but the consequences of sublethal fitness costs associated with chronic exposure to sustained hot weather remain unclear. Using data for species occurring in southern Africa's Kalahari Desert, we mapped exposure to acute lethal risks and chronic sublethal fitness costs under past, present, and future climates. For inactive birds in shaded microsites, the risks of lethal dehydration and hyperthermia will remain low during the 21st century. In contrast, exposure to conditions associated with chronic, sublethal costs related to progressive body mass loss, reduced nestling growth rates, or increased breeding failure will expand dramatically. For example, by the 2080s the region will experience 10-20 consecutive days per year on which Southern Pied Babblers (Turdoides bicolor) will lose ∼4% of body mass per day, conditions under which this species' persistence will be extremely unlikely. Similarly, exposure to air temperature maxima associated with delayed fledging, reduced fledgling size, and breeding failure will increase several-fold in Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills (Tockus leucomelas) and Southern Fiscals (Lanius collaris). Our analysis reveals that sublethal costs of chronic heat exposure are likely to drive large declines in avian diversity in the southern African arid zone by the end of the century.


Assuntos
Regulação da Temperatura Corporal/fisiologia , Mudança Climática , Clima Desértico/efeitos adversos , Passeriformes/fisiologia , África Austral , Animais , Botsuana , Ecossistema
9.
Nat Plants ; 4(7): 505, 2018 Jul.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29967518

RESUMO

In Supplementary Table 1 originally published with this Brief Communication, the authors gave an incorrect GPS easterly coordinate for tree number 12 (Makulu Makete Big baobab); the coordinate '2° 34.584' S, 25° 52.261' E' should have read '22° 34.584' S, 28° 52.261' E'. This has now been amended in the online Supplementary Information file for this Brief Communication.

10.
Nat Plants ; 4(7): 423-426, 2018 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29892092

RESUMO

The African baobab is the biggest and longest-living angiosperm tree. By using radiocarbon dating we identified the stable architectures that enable baobabs to reach large sizes and great ages. We report that 9 of the 13 oldest and 5 of the 6 largest individuals have died, or at least their oldest parts/stems have collapsed and died, over the past 12 years; the cause of the mortalities is still unclear.


Assuntos
Adansonia , Adansonia/crescimento & desenvolvimento , África Subsaariana , Caules de Planta/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Datação Radiométrica , Árvores/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Madeira/crescimento & desenvolvimento
11.
Sci Rep ; 8(1): 6921, 2018 05 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29720684

RESUMO

Carbon exchange in drylands is typically low, but during significant rainfall events (wet anomalies) drylands act as a C sink. During these anomalies the limitation on C uptake switches from water to nitrogen. In the Namib Desert of southern Africa, the N inventory in soil organic matter available for mineralisation is insufficient to support the observed increase in primary productivity. The C4 grasses that flourish after rainfall events are not capable of N fixation, and so there is no clear mechanism for adequate N fixation in dryland ecosystems to support rapid C uptake. Here we demonstrate that N fixation by photoautotrophic hypolithic communities forms the basis for the N budget for plant productivity events in the Namib Desert. Stable N isotope (δ15N) values of Namib Desert hypolithic biomass, and surface and subsurface soils were measured over 3 years across dune and gravel plain biotopes. Hypoliths showed significantly higher biomass and lower δ15N values than soil organic matter. The δ15N values of hypoliths approach the theoretical values for nitrogen fixation. Our results are strongly indicative that hypolithic communities are the foundation of productivity after rain events in the Namib Desert and are likely to play similar roles in other arid environments.


Assuntos
Clima Desértico , Microbiota , Fixação de Nitrogênio , África Austral , Biodiversidade , Carbono , Ecossistema , Plantas , Microbiologia do Solo
12.
R Soc Open Sci ; 5(12): 180849, 2018 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30662720

RESUMO

Bats play important ecological roles in tropical systems, yet how these communities are structured is still poorly understood. Our study explores the structure of African bat communities using morphological characters to define the morphospace occupied by these bats and stable isotope analysis to define their dietary niche breadth. We compared two communities, one in rainforest (Liberia) and one in savannah (South Africa), and asked whether the greater richness in the rainforest was due to more species 'packing' into the same morphospace and trophic space than bats from the savannah, or some other arrangement. In the rainforest, bats occupied a larger area in morphospace and species packing was higher than in the savannah; although this difference disappeared when comparing insectivorous bats only. There were also differences in morphospace occupied by different foraging groups (aerial, edge, clutter and fruitbat). Stable isotope analysis revealed that the range of δ 13C values was almost double in rainforest than in savannah indicating a greater range of utilization of basal C3 and C4 resources in the former site, covering primary productivity from both these sources. The ranges in δ 15N, however, were similar between the two habitats suggesting a similar number of trophic levels. Niche breadth, as defined by either standard ellipse area or convex hull, was greater for the bat community in rainforest than in savannah, with all four foraging groups having larger niche breadths in the former than the latter. The higher inter-species morphospace and niche breadth in forest bats suggest that species packing is not necessarily competitive. By employing morphometrics and stable isotope analysis, we have shown that the rainforest bat community packs more species in morphospace and uses a larger niche breadth than the one in savannah.

13.
Isotopes Environ Health Stud ; 53(6): 580-596, 2017 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28482709

RESUMO

Diet-tissue isotopic relationships established under controlled conditions are informative for determining the dietary sources and geographic provenance of organisms. We analysed δ13C, δ15N, and non-exchangeable δ2H values of captive African grey parrot Psittacus erithacus feathers grown on a fixed mixed-diet and borehole water. Diet-feather Δ13C and Δ15N discrimination values were +3.8 ± 0.3 ‰ and +6.3 ± 0.7 ‰ respectively; significantly greater than expected. Non-exchangeable δ2H feather values (-62.4 ± 6.4 ‰) were more negative than water (-26.1 ± 2.5 ‰) offered during feather growth. There was no positive relationship between the δ13C and δ15N values of the samples along each feather with the associated samples of food offered, or the feather non-exchangeable hydrogen isotope values with δ2H values of water, emphasising the complex processes involved in carbohydrate, protein, and income water routing to feather growth. Understanding the isotopic relationship between diet and feathers may provide greater clarity in the use of stable isotopes in feathers as a tool in determining origins of captive and wild-caught African grey parrots, a species that is widespread in aviculture and faces significant threats to wild populations. We suggest that these isotopic results, determined even in controlled laboratory conditions, be used with caution.


Assuntos
Conservação dos Recursos Naturais/métodos , Dieta , Plumas/química , Ciências Forenses/métodos , Isótopos/análise , Papagaios , Animais , Isótopos de Carbono/análise , Comércio , Deutério/análise , Monitoramento Ambiental , Isótopos de Nitrogênio/análise
14.
PLoS One ; 11(7): e0159361, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27427912

RESUMO

Carbon isotope analysis of four baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) trees from the Pafuri region of South Africa yielded a 1000-year proxy rainfall record. The Pafuri record age model was based on 17 radiocarbon dates, cross correlation of the climate record, and ring structures that were presumed to be annual for two of the trees. Here we present the analysis of five additional baobabs from the Mapungubwe region, approximately 200km west of Pafuri. The Mapungubwe chronology demonstrates that ring structures are not necessarily annually formed, and accordingly the Pafuri chronology is revised. Changes in intrinsic water-use efficiency indicate an active response by the trees to elevated atmospheric CO2, but this has little effect on the environmental signal. The revised Pafuri record, and the new Mapungubwe record correlate significantly with local rainfall. Both records confirm that the Medieval Warm Period was substantially wetter than present, and the Little Ice Age was the driest period in the last 1000 years. Although Mapungubwe is generally drier than Pafuri, both regions experience elevated rainfall peaking between AD 1570 and AD 1620 after which dry conditions persist in the Mapungubwe area until about AD 1840. Differences between the two records correlate with Agulhas Current sea-surface temperature variations suggesting east/west displacement of the temperate tropical trough system as an underlying mechanism. The Pafuri and Mapungubwe records are combined to provide a regional climate proxy record for the northern summer rainfall area of southern Africa.


Assuntos
Adansonia/fisiologia , Dióxido de Carbono/história , Meteorologia/métodos , Modelos Estatísticos , Árvores/fisiologia , África Austral , Dióxido de Carbono/metabolismo , Isótopos de Carbono , História Antiga , Chuva , Estações do Ano , Temperatura , Clima Tropical
15.
Integr Zool ; 11(1): 60-75, 2016 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26817923

RESUMO

We used stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to study the trophic niche of two species of insectivorous lizards, the Husab sand lizard Pedioplanis husabensis and Bradfield's Namib day gecko living sympatrically in the Namib Desert. We measured the δ(13) C and δ(15) N ratios in lizard blood tissues with different turnover times (whole blood, red blood cells and plasma) to investigate lizard diet in different seasons. We also measured the δ(13) C and δ(15) N ratios in available arthropod prey and plant tissues on the site, to identify the avenues of nutrient movement between lizards and their prey. Through the use of stable isotope mixing models, we found that the two lizard species relied on a largely non-overlapping but seasonally variable array of arthropods: P. husabensis primarily fed on termites, beetles and wasps, while R. bradfieldi fed mainly on ants, wasps and hemipterans. Nutrients originating from C3 plants were proportionally higher for R. bradfieldi than for P. husabensis during autumn and late autumn/early winter, although not summer. Contrary to the few available data estimating the trophic transfer of nutrients in ectotherms in mixed C3 and C4 /crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plant landscapes, we found that our lizard species primarily acquired nutrients that originated from C4 /CAM plants. This work adds an important dimension to the general lack of studies using stable isotope analyses to estimate lizard niche partitioning and resource use.


Assuntos
Lagartos/fisiologia , Animais , Artrópodes/química , Isótopos de Carbono/sangue , Dieta/veterinária , Cadeia Alimentar , Lagartos/sangue , Namíbia , Isótopos de Nitrogênio/sangue , Plantas/química , Estações do Ano , Simpatria
16.
PLoS One ; 10(5): e0124202, 2015.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25970402

RESUMO

A proxy rainfall record for northeastern South Africa based on carbon isotope analysis of four baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) trees shows centennial and decadal scale variability over the last 1,000 years. The record is in good agreement with a 200-year tree ring record from Zimbabwe, and it indicates the existence of a rainfall dipole between the summer and winter rainfall areas of South Africa. The wettest period was c. AD 1075 in the Medieval Warm Period, and the driest periods were c. AD 1635, c. AD 1695 and c. AD1805 during the Little Ice Age. Decadal-scale variability suggests that the rainfall forcing mechanisms are a complex interaction between proximal and distal factors. Periods of higher rainfall are significantly associated with lower sea-surface temperatures in the Agulhas Current core region and a negative Dipole Moment Index in the Indian Ocean. The correlation between rainfall and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation Index is non-static. Wetter conditions are associated with predominantly El Niño conditions over most of the record, but since about AD 1970 this relationship inverted and wet conditions are currently associated with la Nina conditions. The effect of both proximal and distal oceanic influences are insufficient to explain the rainfall regime shift between the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, and the evidence suggests that this was the result of a northward shift of the subtropical westerlies rather than a southward shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone.


Assuntos
Adansonia/fisiologia , Isótopos de Carbono/química , El Niño Oscilação Sul/história , Chuva/química , Árvores/fisiologia , Adansonia/química , Sedimentos Geológicos/química , História Medieval , Oceano Índico , Estações do Ano , África do Sul , Temperatura , Árvores/química
17.
PLoS One ; 10(1): e0117193, 2015.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25621989

RESUMO

The article reports the radiocarbon investigation results of the Lebombo Eco Trail tree, a representative African baobab from Mozambique. Several wood samples collected from the large inner cavity and from the outer part of the tree were investigated by AMS radiocarbon dating. According to dating results, the age values of all samples increase from the sampling point with the distance into the wood. For samples collected from the cavity walls, the increase of age values with the distance into the wood (up to a point of maximum age) represents a major anomaly. The only realistic explanation for this anomaly is that such inner cavities are, in fact, natural empty spaces between several fused stems disposed in a ring-shaped structure. We named them false cavities. Several important differences between normal cavities and false cavities are presented. Eventually, we dated other African baobabs with false inner cavities. We found that this new architecture enables baobabs to reach large sizes and old ages. The radiocarbon date of the oldest sample was 1425 ± 24 BP, which corresponds to a calibrated age of 1355 ± 15 yr. The dating results also show that the Lebombo baobab consists of five fused stems, with ages between 900 and 1400 years; these five stems build the complete ring. The ring and the false cavity closed 800-900 years ago. The results also indicate that the stems stopped growing toward the false cavity over the past 500 years.


Assuntos
Malvaceae/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Moçambique , Datação Radiométrica
18.
Oecologia ; 174(4): 1107-16, 2014 Apr.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24288080

RESUMO

A key question in savanna ecology is how trees and grasses coexist under N limitation. We used N stable isotopes and N content to study N source partitioning across seasons from trees and associated grasses in a semi-arid savanna. We also used (15)N tracer additions to investigate possible redistribution of N by trees to grasses. Foliar stable N isotope ratio (δ(15)N) values were consistent with trees and grasses using mycorrhiza-supplied N in all seasons except in the wet season when they switched to microbially fixed N. The dependence of trees and grasses on mineralized soil N seemed highly unlikely based on seasonal variation in mineralization rates in the Kruger Park region. Remarkably, foliar δ(15)N values were similar for all three tree species differing in the potential for N fixation through nodulation. The tracer experiment showed that N was redistributed by trees to understory grasses in all seasons. Our results suggest that the redistribution of N from trees to grasses and uptake of N was independent of water redistribution. Although there is overlap of N sources between trees and grasses, dependence on biological sources of N coupled with redistribution of subsoil N by trees may contribute to the coexistence of trees and grasses in semi-arid savannas.


Assuntos
Ecossistema , Ciclo do Nitrogênio , Poaceae/fisiologia , Árvores/fisiologia , Nitrogênio/química , Isótopos de Nitrogênio/análise , Folhas de Planta/química , Estações do Ano , Solo/química , África do Sul
19.
PLoS One ; 7(11): e48572, 2012.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23139795

RESUMO

In the Western Cape three species of mole-rat occur in sympatry, however, little is known about differences in their dietary preferences. Dietary composition of the three species; the common mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus hottentotus), the Cape mole-rat (Georychus capensis) and the Cape dune mole-rat (Bathyergus suillus) were examined using stable isotope analysis. Blood, fur and claw samples were collected from 70 mole-rats, in addition to several potential food items, to assess food selection of the three species under natural conditions. Overall there was a significant difference in the isotopic composition (δ(13)C and δ(15)N) between all three species and significant differences in their diet composition. There were also significant differences between tissues in all three species suggesting temporal variation in diet. The small size and colonial lifestyle of C. h. hottentotus allows it to feed almost 100% on bulbs, while the solitary and larger species G. capensis and B. suillus fed to a greater extent on other resources such as grasses and clover. B. suillus, the largest of the species, had the most generalized diet. However, overall all species relied most heavily upon geophytes and consumed the same species suggesting competition for resources could exist. We also showed a high level of individual variation in diet choices. This was most pronounced in B. suillus and G. capensis and less so in C. h. hottentotus. We demonstrate that stable isotope analysis can successfully be applied to examine dietary patterns in subterranean mammals and provide insights into foraging patterns and dietary variation at both the inter and intra population level.


Assuntos
Dieta , Marcação por Isótopo/métodos , Ratos-Toupeira/genética , Simpatria/genética , Análise de Variância , Estruturas Animais/metabolismo , Animais , Isótopos de Carbono , Feminino , Alimentos , Modelos Lineares , Masculino , Análise Multivariada , Isótopos de Nitrogênio , Especificidade de Órgãos , Poaceae , África do Sul , Especificidade da Espécie
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