We aim to assess the dietary choices and the spatial use of two ungulate species of the Namib desert and to relate these parameters to abiotic stressors, namely heat and drought. Our approach is twofold: Stable isotope analyses and GPS based radiotracking of animals.
We will analyse stable isotope ratios in water and plants to map the isoscape of our study site. The isoscape is referred to as the isotopic landscape of an ecosystem which includes the isotopic gradients and contrasts that are caused by climatic gradients and changes in plant compositions. We will then use stable isotope ratios in animal tissues to reconstruct the feeding habits and spatial movements of our study animals. This will be linked to the fine-scale analysis of spatial movements derived from GPS based telemetry. It is our general policy to collect samples from animals in a minimally invasive way (e.g. fur) and to cause least disturbance and stress to our study animals.